This I Believe

Melissa - La Grange Park, Illinois
Entered on October 1, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: purpose

Next year on June 16 2008, it will be a full year ago that I left home for three weeks to travel to Fiji,/ New Zealand,/ and Australia with forty students and leaders. The trip was with an organization called “People To People,” and the basic idea of it is to promote cultural awareness, peace, and most of all it is a chance to see a part of the world.

At first I was excited,/ but in the back of my mind something was troubling me. Eventually, I came to the horrifying conclusion that I knew no one else could know,/ especially not my parents; I d i d n o t w a n t t o g o. But this conclusion ultimately lead me to another one. A belief I had always heard people say but had never fully experienced; I believe that everything happens for a reason. //

As nervous as I secretly was, I pretended to be nothing but happy and excited. The trip was expensive, and I couldn’t let my parents think that I was ungrateful. What made things even harder was leaving my friends. I didn’t know how I could be away from them for almost a whole month. I think I was so scared about leaving because for the first time I was truly going to be on my own. There would be other people with me but I had to be more independent then I ever have had to before.

Don’t get me wrong, I knew this trip was going to be adventurous/ and exciting/, but I didn’t know how I was going to make it for three weeks. Looking back now, three weeks really isn’t that long. But at the time it seemed like an e t e r n i t y.

The night before my departure was Relay for Life. My friends and I had a team and it was the best way to spend my final night because almost all my friends were there and I got to see everyone one last time./ Saying goodbye was almost impossible. I wanted to cry so badly, but I did not let myself. //

The day arrived. I went to the airport and met with my delegation. I remember standing there

p e t r i f i e d. I couldn’t believe this was finally it.

The trip started out how I expected it would. I did have fun, but I was home sick./ Except I started to get to know the people better. By the end of the first week we were all friends. Things only got better from there. When you’re put in such life changing experiences with people you really bond. As the trip continued I thought less about home and more about how much fun I was having. I was completely shocked that I had ever once been scared or dreading this trip. I was having an amazing time! By the end of the third week we were family. These people,/ who at first seemed so mysterious and unknown, turned out to be some of the best people I have ever met.

It’s funny,// when I was about to leave for the trip I wanted to cry./ But when it was over, and we were saying goodbye, I did. I went from not wanting to go, to not wanting to leave. I believe that I met these people for a reason. I believe I saw the sights I’ve seen for a reason. I believe everything happens for a reason. Sometimes bad things can turn out to be good. In my case, they turned out great. Even when something bad happens and it stays bad, I promise you will see why it happened eventually and you will be a better person for it. Everything happens for a reason.