Best Friends: Around the World and Back - My Family Travels
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Upon graduating from 8th grade, I had the opportunity to travel with my best friend, a few classmates and teachers/chaperones to Europe. Through Educational Tours, we traveled to London, Paris and Barcelona. We left July 6, 2008 and returned July 15, 2008. My dad told me that he didn't go to Washington D.C. until he was 18 and here I was, 14 years old, going out of the country without my parents! For you Michael Jackson fans (including myself), you might note that he died in June of that year and was scheduled to perform in London. While touring this beautiful British capital, sidewalks were adorned with flowers and pictures in his memory. Seeing all the memorabilia and riding past the concert site was the saddest part of the trip. And for anybody wondering, yes I tried at least 50 times to get the Queen's Guards at Buckingham Palace to crack a smile, no luck.

The Cosmopolitan City of Lights, Paris, was absolutely amazing. Witnessing a couple being married by the Eiffel Tower was the most heartfelt part of the trip. It seemed that all the action happened here in France. One night while at the Eiffel Tower, one of the parents got lost! We spent half the night looking for her, only to discover she went back to the hotel without telling anyone. That was the craziest night. Besides the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame Cathedral was a beautiful site. Beware of pickpockets though; they seemed to hang in that particular area around the cathedral. I also visited the Louvre Museum, where the Mona Lisa painting is held.

Having my best friend with me made everything that much more fun. It was my first time on a plane and I was beyond nervous. Come on now, first plane ride and I had to be on there for over 10 hours! She tried her best to calm me down as we took off for London. Might I add, she had little luck with that endeavor. I was so blessed to be able to spend that time with her, as we would later go on to go to different high schools. You might have noticed I haven't talked about Barcelona yet. Well this was my absolute favorite place, but it also changed my friendship.

As a little girl, I adored the Cheetah Girls and when their second movie came out, which was filmed in Barcelona, I knew I had to go there. When my mom finally told me I was going, I was so excited. While there, I tried to pinpoint sites that I had seen captured in the movie. Of them, were the LaSagrada Familia and Las Ramblas. LaSagrada Familia is a Roman Catholic cathedral and although construction started in 1882, it still remains an unfinished building. Las Ramblas is a marketplace full of street vendors and retail stores; it's similar to the SOHO shopping district in New York. Boarding the Mediterranean Sea, the beaches of Barcelona are the clearest, calmest, saltiest water I've seen/tasted. It was such a relaxing place to be.

While there in Barcelona, I had the biggest argument with my best friend. We had argued before but this one was the worst. It started at the hotel when we first arrived. We had time to freshen up before going back out in town. I took a long shower, she took a long shower. Neither one of us paid attention to the time and were late in meeting everyone downstairs. We ultimately blamed each other, but the adults seemed to blame her more because I was dressed waiting on her and she was last to get out of the shower. She felt betrayed, like I didn't have her back. We didn't talk for the rest of the trip. Not on the plane ride home or anything.

Now that I look back, it was all stupid. However, it was something that needed to happen. Because we had never had a huge argument before, we didn't know what it was like to really hurt each other's feelings. A couple of weeks after the trip we talked things out and were back as partners in crime. We both learned not to take advantage of our friendship and learned about ourselves as well. Because of that trip, I learned to value all of my friendships and relationships. Now as high school seniors, my best friend and I are closer than ever. If you are friends with someone and best friends at that, you cannot speak to them for days at a time, but once you do speak it's like nothing even happened. I don't regret anything on my trip to Europe; it was truly an experience to remember. I can't wait to go back!

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