Four years ago, my parents gave me the biggest gift they have EVER given me. They allowed me to get on a plane and travel to three countries on a school trip. In the most cliché way, my eyes were opened. My world was 10 times bigger. And I wanted more…I wanted to see more places, meet more people, and experience more things. For this experience (and everything else they have done for me) I can never repay them.
From that first trip, I knew that I wanted my parents to have the same chance to see more of the world, just like they had given me that chance. So, when I got the Peace Scholarship, I told them that this was our chance. That they had to come and we had to travel together. And that is why this trip has been so amazing. Because I get to share the places that I have been and the experiences I have had with them.
Now I am not going to go into a long monologue about everything we have done. See Facebook for that. But I do want to talk about this one photo my mom took a few days ago in London. The photo below PERFECTLY sums up our family interactions on this long trip.
Behind the camera, we have my mom. My mom is an EXPERT at documenting our trip. She is always taking pictures. Sometimes, Abby and I get annoyed with it. “No mom,” we say “we don’t want to take another family photo.” But here is the thing. I am already so grateful for the pictures she has taken; the moments she has documented. Many pictures that I rolled my eyes at are already cherished (example: the picture this whole blog post is written about :)).
On the left we have my dad. In this picture, dad is sitting, watching the world from the edge of the fountain. Watching people walk back and forth across the square, commenting on little things he finds interesting. I love this about my dad. He is very easy going and go with the flow. In every sense, he has been the calming one on this trip. The only thing I would change about him in this picture is that I would have him holding some food. He is my fellow adventurous eater. He and I like to find unique food options, and then if I don’t like it he can always be counted on to finish it up.
On the right, is Abby. The older we get, the more I appreciate the little sister that I used to fight with every moment. I love her in this picture because she is in her element. Taking a selfie, trying to make me laugh. Abby can always make me laugh and not long after this was taken, I think she did succeed. Abby also has an amazing talent to take mundane things and make them beautiful. From taking selfies, to explaining artwork she learned about in class, she has impressed me at every turn with the way she sees the world.
And then you have me. You can see from the picture that I am intently studying a map, probably figuring out how to get everyone to the next place, in the quickest amount of time. Not long after my family arrived in Oslo, I was deemed the family tour guide, which has been stressful at times (perfectionism creeps into all parts of life). But it has also been so fun. I love figuring out maps, and public transportation. I enjoy staying up a little later than everyone else and strategizing where to go, when, and how to get there. AND to top it all off, I only got us lost once (even though my dad claims it was twice).
Now, we are in France. I can’t really believe that my family has only been here a week and a half. We have seen so much, walked way too many miles, and taken a few too many family selfies. This continues to be the trip of a lifetime.
In three days, my summer adventure will come to an end. I will not only be back in the States, but I will also be back at school. Back to normal life. But for now, I am going to ignore that reality. I can deal with it on the plane ride home.