It was finally the summer of 2011, the summer that I knew would be remembered, the summer that most kids would envy, and the summer that would change my life. I remembered waking up that June morning and thinking, “Today is the day that I have been waiting nearly an entire year for, and it’s finally happening. I’m finally taking my first trip across seas to Europe.” Of course, I couldn’t hold back the tears when I had to tell my mother and father good-bye for a few days. It was tough for them to see me go considering I was only 14 years old, but I had a plane to catch.
When we finally arrived in Scotland, jet-lag set in fairly quick. As I took my first look around Scotland when we got outside, I was immediately shocked by the beautiful scenery. The hills, the mountains, and mostly the sights in general just took my breath away. When we finally dropped off our luggage at our hotel, we began our first tour on the streets of Glasgow on George Square, taking in all of the cultures, the monuments, and the beautiful scenery. Our biggest attraction while in Scotland that we visited was Edinburgh Castle. You could just feel the connection of the Scottish ancestry as you toured the streets, but unfortunately, we couldn’t stay there forever.
The next part of the tour was a bit different than the patient, slow-moving feel of Scotland, and boy do the people in London know how to move around. One of our first stops was Buckingham Palace, the residence of the queen who was unfortunately not there when we went. We got some great pictures though, and we continued with the tour to West Minster Abbey, and also to the Tower Bridge. Now, fortunately for us, London Bridge was not falling down that day, so we got to take a minute and enjoy the great view. When we got the opportunity to split into groups to go touring on our own, my group decided to visit the Tower of London, where we got the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels and some of the history of England.
Once again, we changed up the scenery for our last stop on our trip for the next few days which would be in Paris, France. Most notable for its famous tourist spot, the Eiffel Tower, Paris is a place to be seen at least once in your lifetime, especially if you speak French. While there, we visited the Eiffel Tower, Versailles, the Louvre, and Monmartre. My favorite would definitely have to be Versailles because of its French history during the revolution.
When I returned back to the US, I didn’t realize that a part of me would change. Going to another country was definitely a culture shock in itself. As Americans, I feel we tend to take life for granted and just take what is given to us, instead of earning it sometimes. In Scotland, people farm their land for money, they take their time when getting to a certain place, and never feel the need to be in a rush. Before I went, I would always wonder why people in other countries would look at us differently but I see the culture difference between us, and I realized that we are greatly separated. It’s a rather sad thing to know, but to experience a new way of living really opens up your mind to possibilities that could change the world. This was my culture shock, and I hope one day, you can have yours.
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