As people we all strive to see the better picture that is the world around us. Many go their whole lives and never see the wonders that the world can provide them. Well, I’ve had one such chance. I’ve been to a place, commonly know as the land of the rising sun, and yes it was an amazing episode of my life which I could never forget. It all began my sophomore year in high school. There was a summer exchange program in which I would be able to travel to my sister city in Chichibu, Japan. I was excited beyond all recognition. I went through all the motions of such an opportunity: writing essays, commissioning letters of recommendation, and having a sit-down one-on-one interview. After all this I would be notified in eight weeks if I was selected to go. I waited patiently by the mailbox for days on end, waiting as if to see if I had won the lottery. At long last the day came and I received my letter. Alas I would not be going to Japan, but due to my current age and qualifications I would be eligible to go my senior year if I reapplied. Fast forward two years, and once again I went through the same agonizing process, however with one crucial difference, this year I was going.
For seven whole months I toiled away, saving my pennies, shaking down relations, and doing anything necessary to ensure I had my ticket to Japan in hand. Through all this Jim Davis, the program coordinator, kept us informed by acquiring our tickets, helping us with fundraising, and placing us with our host families, and on that lovely July morning of my 18th year, I was bound for Chichibu, Japan. As I arrived to the train that would take me to the airport, I met the other children and adults, that would be traveling with the program; Emily Davis, a bright and cheerful girl; Leah Brooke a sullen and quiet girl, but only around her stepmother Sue, who would be joining us in a week; Erica Hebert, obnoxious and rude, truly the bitchy girl in school every one loved to hate; and Mr. and Mrs. Jones, retired teachers, looking for one last trip with the students they’ve shared a bond with for some 20 plus years.
As I rode the train, I conversed with the other children. We were all roughly the same age, had similar hobbies and tastes in music, but in getting to know each other we had all realized we had the same thing in common: we all loved Japan. When we reached the airport, we said our goodbyes to the parents who escorted us, exchanged our currency, and had the last taste of American food; we would have in two weeks. With all this happening I realized I would be planting my feet on foreign soil for the first time in my life, but had one last obstacle to climb: I had never traveled by plane. Sure I’ve traveled, but not to any place couldn’t I reach by car. As I thought to myself about how my goose is cooked, the anticipation of my arrival to one of the places I’ve dreamed to see outweighed the means of getting there. A ten hour flight and me being a flight virgin, it was truly Tokyo or Bust! My sudden fear diminished as I was ready to board. I handed my boarding pass and passport to the desk clerk, and my fear had begun to turn into enthusiasm, the moment in which I received my travel documents back. I was now on my way to Japan, ready to envelope myself in a new experience; all that was left was the flight. As my fellow passengers and I boarded, nothing but vitality was running through my veins, but boy was I soon to be wrong. I will tell you one thing: FLYING IS BORING AS HELL!!! I sat through the safety procedures, and the initial take off fine, but after the first refreshment break I began to develop a walloping case of cabin fever. Before I left, I had asked my parents what was the best way to get through a long flight and they had both said to sleep. I tried to sleep, but to no avail I couldn’t, it was probably nerves or maybe the rush of traveling, but I couldn’t sleep to save my life. I did everything possible to occupy my time: I watched movies,...
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