Tag Archives: Europe

Ciao. Bonjour. Hola (Part 1)

Don't Stop Believing

Don’t Stop Believing- Credit: Juhan Sonin

Where There is a Will there is a Way

2007 brought me one huge and  unexpected opportunity. Early January, I received a letter from People to People. People to People is a student ambassador program that gives students the opportunity to travel abroad, meet other cultures, and teach others of their own culture. Now, this sounds too good to be true does it not? Well in a way it was. After opening the letter I quickly glanced at the price tag and I closed the letter immediately.

Everything has a price tag right? Well for me, that price tag was too high. There was absolutely no way my mom could afford such trip. To my surprise, my mom convinced me during the following days, saying that I should not let this opportunity pass me by. Opportunities come and go, and they come the most to those who take risks and chances. As I accepted the invitation to the program, my mentality changed. My mom showed me that one has to just go for it. Whatever it is, one cannot limit themselves. One has to believe in themselves and ultimately understand that one really does deserve it and owe it to themselves to live with their desires.

To Europe I Go

Once again it was time to pack my bags, but this time it was different. It was my choice, it was done voluntarily. With hard work I was able to go to, and so to Europe I went. The trip consisted of just less than 3 weeks. Oh, I almost forgot that during this trip no parents would be around.

So at the age of 14, I flew over the Atlantic Ocean and landed in Europe.

First Stop- First Adventure

A couple naps later and I woke up in Rome, Italy.  It was hot, hotter than Miami actually. We did not take any breaks whatsoever and started exploring with our team delegates. Astonished at everything I noticed around me, I could not help but to be a tourist. I took pictures of everything and anything I saw. I entered a new world. Surrounded with beauty and history, I knew I was lucky.

Rome, Italy. Credit: Natalie Ruiz

Rome, Italy. Credit: Natalie Ruiz

Unfortunately, my luck ran out that same day. We went off to see the Vatican City. After that, our team delegates gave us an hour of free time before lunch. My friend and I decided we would buddy up and hunt a few good souvenir deals during that time. After the team leader gave instructions we all separated for the time being. An hour passed by and I asked my friend where we were supposed to meet up with the group, she had no idea. We were lost. Clueless. Neither of us paid attention, thinking the other one would have when we were given instructions. Emotions quickly escalated and we were both freaking out and breaking out in tears. I had no idea what to do. Thankfully, a nearby bank let us borrow their phone so that we could call our team leaders. I will never forget that day. I quickly learned with just that one lesson. Now, I understand the meaning behind:

To get lost is to find the way

Getting lost taught me the importance of staying calm. Clearly, my friend and I messed up, but us freaking out, running around did not help the situation. It was not until we stopped to catch our breaths that we decided to ask for help. Nonetheless, that first adventure definitely made me grow some tough skin. Which would be useful later on during my trip…

Leaning Tower of Pisa. Credit: Natalie Ruiz

Leaning Tower of Pisa. Credit: Natalie Ruiz