The Bon Jovi Obsession This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Last April I went to Spain for two weeks on a schooltrip. It was my first time to a foreign country and I was nervous andexcited.

When the group arrived in Madrid we did some sightseeing and thentook a bus to Granada, which was where the experience really began. Each studentstayed with a family for six days to experience the culture firsthand. My familyhad not sent their photographs, so I remember looking out the bus window,wondering which family I would be staying with. I kept thinking, I hope they likeme. I hope they have the same interests as me. And, oh, God, please let themspeak a little English. At this point I was so nervous I thought I would throwup.

Finally we stepped off the bus and went to meet our families. I stoodwith my friend, Alisa, who was going to stay in the same village. Suddenly, twogirls walked toward us, one with pink hair and the other with red. We introducedourselves and left our group with hardly any good-byes. It happened so fast, oneminute I was laughing on the bus and the next I was walking away with twocomplete strangers who couldn't even understand me. They spoke Spanish and I wasso nervous that all I could understand was that their names were Belen andMariam. At this point, I was ready to go home. I had had enough of my"experience of a lifetime."

I sat squished next to Alisa withthe other two on either side of us in the car. We sat in almost complete silence,smiling at each other the whole way to their village. Eventually, after climbingmountains at top speeds, we made it. Alisa and I piled out wondering what to doand where to go. I stumbled with my Spanish, trying to ask questions. We followedthe girls to a picnic table outside a home nestled in the mountains that lookedout over the whole village. This was where Alisa was going tostay.

Eventually a man came and sat with us. My savior! He spoke English,and his name was Efendi. He tried speaking Spanish with me, but he soon realizedit was useless. We sat around that table getting to know each other and talkingabout different customs. One topic that came up was religion. We were in Spainduring Santa Semana (Holy Week) and I asked if they took part in thecelebrations. They told me they were Muslim, explaining some of their customs.Efendi let Alisa and me go to a rehearsal he had with his band, whose songspraise Allah. The family also showed us a room they had above their house wherethey prayed. They explained how important their religion was to them.

Oneday Alisa and I were sitting outside a little kitchen in the village; the girlswork in the kitchen making pastries for Mariam's father's restaurant. They werelistening to the radio, and, as Efendi passed by, he heard the song on the radio.Suddenly he stopped and stood, singing parts of it. He turned to us when the songended and asked if we knew who was singing. We said, "Yes, Bon Jovi." Ahuge smile came across his face and he told us how much he loved Bon Jovi. Hestarted to tell us how Mariam had had a dream that there was a man standingoutside her door and when he turned around, it was Bon Jovi, repeating,"Show me the way." After Mariam's dream, the family frantically calledall the radio stations in Spain and New York in search of Bon Jovi's address,without any luck.

Efendi then described a dream he once had when he sawBon Jovi standing in front of a beautiful, bright light. Efendi said he wasrepeating the same thing, "Show me the way." Despite their efforts theystill could not contact Bon Jovi.

The next thing we knew he was tellingus about a Muslim woman who came to him from New Jersey. They spoke to her aboutthe dreams and Efendi asked the woman, since she lived in New Jersey, if she knewBon Jovi. You can imagine Efendi's shock when the woman told him that her parentsjust moved next door to Bon Jovi's parents. Efendi gave her a book to give to BonJovi. He has not heard from the woman, but truly believes Bon Jovi received thebook.

Before we left Efendi gave both Alisa and me books about hisreligion, one in Spanish and one in English. Joking, we told Efendi we were goingto stop in New Jersey before returning home to Massachusetts and give Bon Jovi acopy as well. He laughed and told us to tell him, "Efendi says hello."I was sad to leave the family I had once been so scared of. They had opened up tome and taught me so much. Though it may sound silly, I hope that one day theywill be able to meet Bon Jovi.

Escape to Freedom by Pheng V., Minneapolis, MN

To Live on the Border by Megan R., Tubac, AZ

La Laverie by Mairead C., Bellevue, WA

Shofar by Josh L., New City, NY

Hometown by P.J. V., Addison, IL

Manhattan by Nathaniel F., Brooklyn, NY


By Lena K., Marblehead, MA

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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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treegirl93 said...
May 11, 2010 at 6:36 pm
This is such a cute story. The things another culture pick up about Americans. Yay! Bon Jovi!
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