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Sleepless in Seattle. Not Exactly.

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“You’re needed in the office.” That’s what the office help said to me in the middle of class. I didn’t know what to think. Was I in trouble? Was something wrong? Maybe it was nothing. I went down to the office, and the secretary told me I had a phone call. What? Who was calling me at school? Then, as if she read my mind, the secretary said it’s a woman calling about the Lions Club. Oh! I had been waiting nervously and excitedly for some sort of contact with this organization. Months earlier, in January, I signed up to be a part of the Ohio Lions Club All State Band. Back then I didn’t know anything about it except that we were going to Seattle, Washington! How neat is that?! The woman on the phone asked me for information like my birth date and my middle name, so she could get my plane ticket. After the business was accomplished, she started telling me some activities we would be doing on the trip, and she asked if I was excited. To be honest, I was ecstatic! I hung up the phone, did a little dance, and couldn’t wait to tell my mom.

Flustered, anxious, terrified were all feelings I felt before I did something extremely new for me, times ten. I am a baby, flat out baby. I’m sixteen and scared of the dark, and I was supposed to go across the country without my mommy with complete strangers? Woah woah woah, that is not like me at all. I felt as though I’d be missing so much with 4th of July activities with my family and friends and my cousin leaving for his duty in the Marines. I just didn’t want to go. I didn’t want to go to Seattle, Washington. I didn’t want to meet new people, step out of my comfort zone, or experience a “once in a lifetime” event. It sounded like it’d be fun, but the closer it came the more and more I psyched myself out.
There were just a couple of days left till the Seattle trip started. I asked my mom, “Is it too late to back out?” She replied with confidence: “You’ll be fine. You’ll have a great time. Don’t worry.” I also didn’t sleep well. I was sick to my stomach. I had no idea what to expect and had no desire to find out.

I’ve never traveled by myself, and that was what I was afraid of. Not having my mom there, to just be there, was not comforting. The plane ride wasn’t what had me scared; although, logically that was what I should fear. I have always wanted to be a fighter pilot, so I was thrilled. Once seated on the plane, other students who had been selected for this band started talking to one another. Chan and Mr. Stan were the first people I met. We chit chatted about band, school, what part of Ohio we were from, the usual. Time just flew by. I looked around and noticed other people were having conversations with other students, branching out, feeling more confident in this trip. Before we stepped off the plane, I knew I would make many great friends. I was filled with excitement from head to toe. This was finally happening! But wait, there were a few more minor details. Who was my roommate? What were the dorms going to be like? Were the bathrooms going to be nasty? We stayed at the University of Washington, and upon our arrival we went to the McMahon Hall to get our keys and food cards, and that is also where we met our roommates. Thankfully, mine was sweet and not a crazy maniac. My roommate and I found our room, and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Hallelujah! My fear of nasty bathrooms was also squashed. They were clean and sanitary--at least looked it--and weren’t as terrible as I thought.

Seattle was beautiful! I am from a little old town in Ohio with fields upon fields of flat nothingness. On the bus ride, while looking out the window, I noticed there were mountains, trees and everything was very “green.” The entire time we were there it was sunny and seventy degrees. For a city that’s known for it’s great amount of rain, it couldn’t have been a more perfect time. We were very fortunate because we had several parades to march in for the Lions Club Band. Might I add we were pretty dang amazing! We were a small number of only twenty-three students, but we had a full sound, great variety, and the best part was everyone loved to jam! Nobody thought it was lame or complained; they were creative with what we were given, and it looked incredible. Our director taught us these crazy, fun cadences. We marched down the steamy, black pavement with crowds of people standing near. Chan yelled “Jimbo,” “Funk,” or “Doctor,” whichever one he was cued and then added his own little sayings to our moves.
Since we were there for about a week, the Lions Club set it up so we could visit the beautiful place we were in. We ate dinner at the Space Needle 600 feet in the air, slowly turning, taking in the gorgeous scenery. We went on a whale watching cruise in chilly Anacortes, WA, stopped by adorable, little shops around town, saw some fireworks that were actually worth watching and went on an underground tour of the first Seattle that burnt down a long time ago. We were always doing something fun that would bring on spells of laughter.
The whole time in Seattle felt surreal; I have never experienced anything like it before. I thought that any second I’d wake up at home going on with my regular, boring life. Well, that’s what Seattle made it feel like. When the trip unfortunately ended, I was so sad. I had made friends outside of the small area I’ve been secluded to and made memories that would last me forever. If I had not gone, I would have missed it, every last speck.





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