Antigua This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   "Cathy, Cathy wake up, we're here," my mom told me as soon as the plane bumped onto the runway. When I stepped off the plane into the Antiguan heat I thought I would melt; the 90 degree weather was quite a change from the 30 degrees back home in Boston.

After all of our various bags had been collected and checked through customs my mom, my dad and I got into the nearest taxi for our ride to the hotel. Since I had slept for most of the plane ride, once settled into the comfortable seats of the car I was out cold again. When we arrived at the hotel I was still a little sleepy. But when I saw the hotel, the beach, and the other facilities I immediately woke up.

To start with, the hotel was the size of a normal Marriott, but the front was white and looked like a ten-storey house. A few blocks off, not very surprisingly, was a tennis court since my dad always makes sure there's a court, as he loves to play. The pool was Olympic size and had a floating bar in the middle of it, but the pool was nothing compared to the beach. The beaches that I know are the normal ones on Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard, with the dark brownish green water and miles of thick dark brown sand that is usually all dry and clumped up because the earlier high tide had gotten to it. Here I expected to find pretty much the same thing, but instead I found miles of fine, thin, white sand, not light brown, but creamy white. The sand was separated and fine, almost as if it had just been laid down that day. Also the water wasn't a dark brownish green, but a light baby blue that seemed so clear a person could easily see everything on the bottom.

The next few days were spent sleeping late, lounging in the sun getting our skin to turn a crispy golden brown, and also scuba diving. Doing things like that is really fun, but it can also get a bit tedious after a while. So one day my parents and I decided to leave the hotel and go to town. That afternoon was quite an experience for me. First of all since I was asleep when we first came from the airport, I thought all the island was as fancy as the hotel. But I was wrong. When we left the hotel we entered a totally different world. As we passed the houses I was surprised to see that they were all smaller in area than a normal classroom, and not one of them had either indoor plumbing or electricity. I also noticed few cars. Everyone was walking; a few were biking. Once we got to the town there were more people and more cars, and a few stores, but the whole town wasn't very big. What attracted the most people was a bigger store in the center of all the other stores. I later came to find out that this was a grocery store.

When we had finished looking around the few other stores, we decided to go to the food store to buy snacks. Once we entered the store we found it was packed, as if the whole town did their shopping in one day. It was strange though, because everyone had only a few items. I later learned that the island had a restriction on the number of items a person could buy each day. While we were in the store, I noticed people looking at us (almost like they were looking us over), but I didn't think much about it until my parents and I were standing outside waiting for the taxi. I was just standing there talking with my mom and I began to notice people staring at us, not exactly at our faces, but at what we were wearing. I was just wearing a pair of shorts, sunglasses, and since it was a bit cool, an Esprit sweatshirt. I began to notice them staring as more and more people passed us. Some would just walk by, but others would look as they passed or they would stop and look from a distance. I tried to ignore it and keep talking, but it was hard trying not to show how uncomfortable I really was. It wouldn't have been so bad if we were a group of people.

When the taxi finally did come I was the first to get in and I couldn't wait to get back to the hotel. Once back it was like we re-entered another world, almost as if nothing had even happened.

Ever since I returned from this trip I seemed to have changed. Now, if I'm walking down the street and I see someone dressed a little unusually, I won't stare at them, I'll just walk by, because I know what it feels like to have someone stare. Besides the staring factor, there was another issue that has come to my thoughts: money.

Before I feel that I'm ready to wrap up my story, I want to talk about the town where I live: Weston. This is actually a nothing town, to put it mildly. I'm not saying that it's poor, old or rundown; actually I'm saying the totally, totally opposite. Weston is probably the most expensive place to buy a house in all of Massachusetts. Also, once you enter a school here you will only see designer clothes like Guess, Esprit, Benetton, Reebok. Kids here don't go around saying "Oh, ya I'm getting my new American Express Gold Card today," (although some people from other towns think they do). These people think Weston has a reputation for being full of snobs, which it isn't. But, because Weston is a rich town, kids from other towns think that we go around with our noses high in the air, and all we talk about is ourselves and our money. They also have been known to say that our parents let us do anything we want because they don't care. I will be the first to tell you that's not true. Yes, there are some people whose parents let them do a lot of things, but that doesn't make them snobs and it doesn't mean their parents don't care.

My parents do give me a lot of freedom, and let me do a lot of things, but I also have responsibilities (make my bed, do the dishes, clean my room, clean my rabbit's cage, feed the animals, and other chores). One might hear a person say, "Oh ya, I went to St. Croix" as a response to the question of "Where did you go for the long weekend?" Practically every vacation people travel to places like Florida, the Bahamas or the Caribbean, and when they return they flaunt their tans and new clothes or jewelry. If you live here, the trips, clothes, and especially the money aren't thought about one bit.

Honestly, before this trip I didn't think twice about all the money that isavailable to me, or that I even have a house to live in. I mean the fact that during the day probably my biggest problem is trying to figure out which sweater to wear with what pants. I don't even acknowledge the fact that I have 7 sweaters, and 5 pairs of pants. Sometimes I even find myself complaining about not having enough clothes. But when my parents and I entered that small town in Antigua, I saw the reality of another quite different world.n

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 4:34 pm
i love this so much!
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