My name is Alyah Kanso, I am currently 15 years old and I love to travel. Last year I had the amazing and wonderful opportunity to travel to Italy. Not only did my family, my friends, and I get to visit some of the most famous monuments, we had the chance to sing for the Pope.
We stayed at many hotels, one of them being Regina Palace Hotel. I saw the beautiful Trevi Fountain, the Sistine Chapel, the Pantheon, the Coliseum, the Basilica of Saint Peter and more. All of these monuments were absolutely gorgeous in their own ways.
But I think what was so amazing about this trip was the people I met. It astonishes me to think how greatly one person can change your life forever. I met this wonderful, little old Italian man named Alfonso. I will never forget everything he told me. I first met him when my school was singing at the church that he attends. He came to me and with my very poor Italian and his broken English we started to have a conversation. He told me that we sang beautifully and that he has never heard anything like it before.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
I began to ask him questions about the city we were in. It was called Maiori. I could not believe how much love one person could have, not only for the city he lived in, but for his country. He explained all the fun things Maiori has to offer and how many famous people have visited Maiori. It was around lunchtime and we asked him were the best place to have lunch was. He took us to a little hole in the wall that had the best genuine Italian food I have ever eaten.
He began to tell me a story of his past. He said that he was a retired chauffer and he had the chance to drive around one of the most influential people in America. Jackie Kennedy would be his first and last first lady that he would ever chauffeur. He began to tell us how kind she was and how she was so grateful that he drove her and her children around. He began to leave from lunch and said he would be back with a big surprise. After a while of waiting, we hear a car coming down the hill. It is Alfonso driving the exact car that Jackie Kennedy was driven in. He showed us a picture of her and how happy she looked. He drove us around showing us all the places that he had remembered taking her. He said that he never felt so honored in his life.
The pride that one man had for himself and for his country will change my life forever. I have never met someone that was so grateful for everything he has been through. The ups and the downs that he has faced ultimately made him the person he is today. If there was one thing I would take away from meeting him, is when he told me something that is still very dear to my heart. Even though two worlds kept us from truly comprehending what we said, I could understand this one deep sentence. He said “di mai dimenticare come ha benedetto lei sono e non mai dimenticare che dio l'amerà sempre.” It means never forget how blessed you are and never forget that God will always love you. Traveling to Italy and meeting Alfonso has changed my life forever.
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