London: My American Dream | My Family Travels
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People always talk about how the United States really is the American Dream because venturing to America provides opportunity and hope. But I experienced this realization somewhere else; London.

My school was holding an optional trip to Europe: London, Paris, and Amsterdam. At first, I wanted to go simply because I loved 18th century architecture, which is dominant in Europe. I also wanted to travel alone for the first time. Unfortunately, my mother decided that this was a wonderful opportunity for her to finally see Europe as well.

Originally this bothered me quite a bit. I wanted to experience something without my parents for once and yet, here was my mother trailing behind me. However, after a couple of days, I was glad she was there with me because, unlike everybody else, I didn’t have to worry about money. If I ever needed any, my mother and her trusty credit card were right there beside me.

In London, we got to see all of the most spectacular things: Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, etc. The one thing we didn’t do, that I was really looking forward to, was riding the London Eye. I can just imagine how marvelous it must be to look out over such a grand city from such great heights; being able to see what Big Ben looked like from above and understanding the elaborate architecture (example: one of the office buildings was in the shape of an egg.)

From the beginning, I wanted to come to London mainly to see and experience new things, which I did. I figured out that fresh milk tastes ghastly thanks to my strange American taste buds that have found processed milk to be so refreshing; that the English understand breakfast much better, in my opinion, than Americans do (meat, bread, and cheese is always delicious;) and that sandwiches can be found on every corner of every street. Not only did my taste buds learn some new things, but my ears and eyes immersed themselves in fantastic wonder. The air is so fresh and delicious in London. The sounds of cars are faint, the chiming of Big Ben is as precious as the first cries from a newborn child, and the sound of approaching soldiers makes one’s heart race in excitement for hope of seeing the Queen. The architecture there is so majestic. Things may appear to be thin, but they stand tall and firm. When you walk into any of the churches and look up at the ceiling, it’s as if you’re looking towards the heavens. The columns show signs of wear and with it, signs of history. What I find most serene about London is its ability to intertwine the city with nature. Parks of glorious size are found all over the city and they don’t just carry grass to run on, but statues and graveyards can be found within them. It’s as if Mother Earth and society’s need to advance have formed an agreement because each makes their presence well and beautifully known.

It was after witnessing all these remarkable things, that I realized I hadn’t come here just to discover London. I came here to discover myself. London embraces everything I love most in places. It has heart and soul. London helped me to understand that I’m important, that everything is beautiful as long as you take the time to appreciate it, and that everyone and everything has a purpose. To me, London lives. To me, London is a friend. To me, London is the place where I can simply be. 

Love Life,

Ashley Martinez

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