The Day I Never Knew

December 9, 2007
I remember the car ride to Atlanta from Greenville like it happened just yesterday. My parents, my aunt, and I rode in the car listening to music. I kept on rambling about “what if’s” of the trip. I knew I annoyed my parents with my “what if’s;” I don’t really think they actually listened. I could see in their eyes the fear that they had that something might go wrong.

I would travel without my parents for the first time. I wouldn’t see my parents for two and a half months. My parents sent me on this trip to visit my family in Colombia, South America. My parents showed nervousness because the year before the attack on September eleventh happened. My parents planned the trip a year before my aunt and I traveled. If I felt worried and scared about going on a plane, I wonder how my parents felt about it. My aunt didn’t know how to deal with children, but I understood. To help, I tried to do less annoying things while I remained around her. The trip enlightened me, and I learned much about life.

We spent the night at a hotel in Atlanta because we departed at 8:30 A.M., and my parents always told me to arrive at the airport two hours before I depart. We arrived at the airport and did the regular routine that everyone does when traveling. Since 9/11, the people that did not travel did not have the privilege to go to the departure gate. I had to say goodbye to my parents an hour before the plane left. I felt extremely nervous, but I sucked it up. I tried to show strength, but I started to cry, I felt stupendously weak, but I said to myself, how come so many people can cry and not feel bad so why can’t I. Finally I went through the sensors and led my aunt to the departure gate, mostly because she couldn’t speak or read much English. After we arrived at the departure gate, the wait started, and I did not have much patience.

We waited for one hour and a half because, like always, something or someone would cause a delay. We mounted the plane, and we made one stop before we arrived at Colombia. The plane arrived in Colombia at ten o’clock P.M. exactly. My aunt and I descended from the plane, retrieved our bags, and then we saw the family waiting for us. My grandparents waited there with some of my second cousins, third cousins, aunts, uncles, cousins and many more waited for us. I would live in foreign land for two and a half months, and I didn’t know what would happen.

The first month I had a variety of things to do, because of that I named it the best month out of the other one and a half. I went horseback riding and went to about ten water parks and three parties. After that first month, I think I had used up all the money my parents had given me. Instead, I usually went out with my grandma to do errands and other stuff. That second month led me to notice that Colombia had a great amount of poverty that I had not noticed before.

Many children asked for money, and when someone actually had enough to give them, they would use it to buy glue that would make them pass out and not feel the hunger they have every day. Many numbers of people would lie in the streets on whatever they had and just sit on the sides of the sidewalks begging for money. I arrived at my grandma’s house one day and started to cry and tell my aunt about what I had seen in the streets. She consoled me and told me that I should give thanks for what I have and that maybe some day I can help those who don’t have what I have in abundance.

As I increase in age I really understand how much poverty affects families, and I wished I could have done something to help them, but I can’t. I didn’t want to go back to Colombia, but my parents told me that I need to go back because anywhere I go I will see some poverty. This summer I will go back and face the poverty again, but many people that have visited Colombia in the past year tell that it has changed a bunch. I hope they tell the truth because I don’t want to feel even worse about what I can’t do to help them.

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