As children we never realize how small our little spot of the world really is. We don’t understand that even though the town we live in seems to be the biggest, most magnificent place to be, it’s really only a tiny part of the world that we’ve never seen. As children we also never understood culture. We didn’t understand it because, for the most part, our culture is the only one we had ever been introduced to. I live in a small city in Kentucky called Annville, where the ethnic population is mainly white and the landscape is hilly with a lot of trees. As a younger child I had never traveled farther away from home than Tennessee so when my family decided to take a vacation to Disney World, I brought back more than a pair of Mickey ears.
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The car ride down to Florida was miserable. If we weren’t making a restroom stop then we, I and my two younger siblings, were sleeping. When we finally arrived at the hotel we saw the palm trees and felt the muggy warmth that we never would have felt back at home in November. All of the city lights were on and the only hint that it was night was the blue cast of light that only the sun can extinguish.
We spent the next four days in Disney World. Each morning we awoke at six o’clock, got dressed, and loaded the bus. In the park, we saw and met so many different people, not only did we get to meet all of the princesses and Mickey and Goofy but we met other families. Some families were from different parts of the world, and others were from different parts of the United States. Even though we all came from places that were so far away from each other we all came to Disney World for the same reason, to see our childhood dreams become real. Walt Disney didn’t create a theme park, he created a world inside of a world. Here we were all the same race, we spoke the same language and we had the same dreams.
After our four days were up we loaded the car and headed out of the city, we had one more stop to make. My siblings and I had never seen the beach before, and we had always wanted to go. So on our way out of town we stopped by Coco Beach where it was getting ready to storm and the wind had picked up. The city and the hotel had been beautiful but this was a view that no man could make, build or paint. This was a world other than my world. There were no trees or hills. My bare feet felt sand instead of grass and the smell of the wind and water was clean. I stood there, feeling the tide rise around my feet, watching the waves hit the shore I felt small, but I felt safe.
A small part of me grew up on that trip, I no longer saw my little hole-in-the-wall town as anything big or important because I realized that, while it was where I grew up, life existed outside of it. I no longer thought of other countries as other worlds with strange and different people in them, because now I knew that the people were no different than me, and I now know that on edge of the United States lies an ocean that stretches out and reaches another country and connects us with them.
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