The Tube

October 22, 2010
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Mind the gap, please. Mind the gap, please. The tube rushes to the platform and we all rise to board, weighed down by oversized hiking bags that carry all of our possessions. “Okay guys, we have to take the Jubilee Line to Baker Street. Then we transfer to the Hammersmith & City- Barking to get to King’s Cross.” As the crowd of people bursts out to get to wherever they are going, we run to all the different doors to get inside before they clamp shut again. We pile into the car and the stuffiness puts me at ease. I decode the map to figure out which line we will take to get to our next destination and keep my ticket out so I can fly out of the Underground station.

Exploring and understanding different cultures has always been something of interest to me. I remember the first Atlas I got when I was around ten years old. It had all sorts of maps and I always loved to look at them at night before I got ready for bed. I would study the flags of the countries and then look at the maps and related each flag to each country. I would plan where I wanted to visit: Australia, France, Japan, Egypt, Argentina, Greece, and so many others. I remember always asking my parents which countries they would want to visit, hoping that they would get the hint that I wanted to travel.

I finally got my chance to explore a completely different culture for the first time in July 2008. I had been nominated to attend the Global Young Leaders Conference and after much persuasion, my parents agreed to let me go. I traveled to Vienna, Austria; Budapest, Hungry; and Prague, Czech Republic, and had the absolute privilege to have a roommate from Australia, one of the countries I had fantasized about since elementary school. The ten days we spent together brought us together and I am proud to say that I still am in close contact with her and consider her a great friend. She has taught me so much about her culture and I hope that I have the same positive affect on her.

As another school year came to an end, I was ready to go off exploring again, this time with my Girl Scout troop. We traveled to Scotland and England to visit an Girl Guide camp near Glasgow and Pax Lodge, one of the four World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts centres. Here I fell in love with the city of London and dreaded returning to the States at the end of the holiday. I wanted to see every nook and cranny of London and commit it to memory. I knew that it was welcoming me to become part of its family; to become part of a city that I truly felt I belonged in. It opened its heart to me and I left mine there.

Every time I swipe my ticket and the gate opens with a spasm, I swell with excitement and a sense of adventure. The gates don’t just let me pass through to the escalators and lifts, they let me pass through to open my eyes to a new place. They welcome me to their home like a new friend and invite me to experience something new in life. The sweet gift of curiosity that is inside every living being penetrates into me and I cannot help but fall in love with everything there is to see. The freedom that a simple piece of paper gives me is astonishing; the small price I pay to make new friends that will forever be in my heart and always on my mind.





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