Depart as Friends, Return as Family - My Family Travels


        For me, the adventure started not when I arrived at my destination, but during the journey to get there. Two years ago, I went on the trip of my life. 

        Have you ever been aboard a bus containing over 50 restless, hungry, sleep-deprived, but extremely excited high school students for over 24 consecutive hours? For your sanity, I hope not. On March 5th, 2010 I gathered at Apollo High School with the rest of the choir and band members. We arrived at the school at about 4:30 A.M., loaded the two buses (our home for the next few days) and were finally on the road by 7:00. Half of the students on the buses were already restless by the end of the packing process. Before we’d even left the parking lot. I could tell we were in for a long trip.

        After over 24 hours on the vehicle, we arrived at our destination. We looked around in wonder at all the sights of Washington D.C. We first stopped at the Marine Corps War Memorial statue. One of my friends, who is a future marine, was particularly captivated by the magnificence of the memorial. The day passed in a whirlwind as we also traveled to Arlington National Cemetery, watched the changing of the Guard, saw the White House, and absorbed the history and culture of D.C. 

        After a brief night’s sleep at a nearby hotel, we continued our journey. We went to Grand Central Station, viewed to the Lincoln Memorial (which we compared vigorously to the one on the five dollar bill), and stood on the very spot Martian Luther King Jr. gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.

        The next day we said goodbye to D.C. and headed for New York City. When we finally arrived, the combined effects of the colossal buildings, the people walking, and the yellow blur of the countless taxi’s were slightly overwhelming. In the first day alone we saw the John Lennon memorial, spent time (and money) in Times Square, and took a cruise around the Statue of Liberty.

        The second day we got up bright and early. Early enough, in fact, to be a part of The Early Show. After smiling and waving at the cameras we had a tour of Radio City Music Hall and journeyed to the Empire State Building (which I particularly enjoyed despite my fear of heights). That night we headed to the Broadway Play, an event I will always remember. We had the extreme privilege to see “Mary Poppins”, and it was a sensational show.

        The next day was the last day in New York. We toured Carnegie Hall, where we actually had the opportunity to perform a song. We then shopped in Little Italy and China Town and viewed Ground Zero. After taking a last look at all the lights and action we finally boarded the familiar bus and departed for home. 

        My favorite part of the trip wasn’t any of the tours, the performances, or even the sights or plays. Even though the trip sometimes brought out the worst in people (by the end of the week everyone was ready to spend time in the tiny, not-so-fresh-smelling bathroom in the back of the bus to get even a few minutes alone) it made everyone a thousand times closer. For that reason, my favorite part of the trip was all the memories we made together, and how we all became one huge, regularly disagreeing, easily annoyed, frequently awkward, loving, supporting, warm, welcoming, lovely family.

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