Friday, March 8, 2013

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine

When I announced that I had decided to spend my Spring Break overseas as a chaperon for 41 fifteen and sixteen year –olds, an overwhelming number of people told me (in short) that I was crazy; “You’ll regret it. You’re going to be exhausted. Europe is beautiful but it’s not THAT worth it.”

We left on February 27th, our flight was at 8pm (but thanks to a snow storm we sat in the plane for 2 hours & finally took off at 10 pm.) We landed somewhere in the vicinity of 10 am Paris time immediately set off on a tour of Paris (Notre Dame Basilica, the Seine River etc) and arrived back at our hotel around 10 pm. The routine of 5:30am wake ups, all-day tours and late returns continued for the entire 9 days- including our final day which saw zero hours of sleep the previous night, two flights and a 4 hour layover before arriving home- I did the math, 32 hours without sleep!  

The final verdict: I would not have changed even ONE moment for the world! On top of visiting some of the world’s most beautiful cities and seeing some of the most treasured pieces of art/ fascinating ruins I also had the opportunity and pleasure of getting to know a phenomenal group of young adults (I was going to say kids but was corrected by them constantly while away ha ha ha!)

Some of my favorite moments from the trip include the following:
  •       One of our boys, a quiet, insecure young man spent his whole trip (and all of his money) searching for the perfect gifts for each of his family members, soccer team scarves to be exact for his younger brother. On our final day in Rome, he was wearing an “Italia” scarf and I said “Great, you've found all of the scarves for your brother.” Instead, he explained to me that this one was not for his brother but rather having seen him spend all of his time and money on everyone else, the “popular girls” on the trip had all pitched in and bought him the scarf so he could have a souvenir from the trip.
  •      When asked “What was your favorite part of the trip?” A simple question. A grade 11 girl explained to me the following: “High school has not been easy for me. I don’t have a lot of friends and I got the idea that not a lot of people actually like me. But this whole trip has redefined my memories of high school.”
  •      Hour 10 of our trip home, one of our “less popular” girls had hot coffee spilled on her lap. Before I could get out of my seat to try to rectify the problem the one of most popular guy on the trip, a jock, got out of his seat, went back to the washroom, returned wearing basketball shorts. He had the sweatpants he had been wearing in hand and was offering them to the “geeky girl” he had probably never spoken to prior to this trip.

Some other highlights:
The Louvre- Paris, France

San Gimignano, Italy

Colosseum- Rome, Italy

Piazza Del Duomo, Mlian, Italy

Eiffel Tower- Paris, France
Pompeii, Italy
Hall of Mirrors, Versailles

Sistine Chapel- Vatican City
*No, I didn't not disobey and take a photo, this is thanks to Google image*
MEGA HIGHLIGHT: Being one of the FINAL groups to be granted access to the Sistine Chapel before it was closed to the public so they could begin the preparations for the Papal Conclave- AMAZING!

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t get up every morning to go to work; I get up and get to do what I LOVE (and just happen to get paid for it.) More often than not when there is talk of teens, there are negative connotations or less popular feelings towards them but let me tell you, there are some incredibly intelligent, compassionate, empathetic, interesting young people out there and I feel absolutely blessed to have had the chance to spend my spring break with them... and the surroundings weren't bad either :)

With love,