The World's Reality This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   9:30 a.m. on a cold winter morning in February 1996 - visions of boarding the plane on my first trip overseas, with a walkman radio, cards and a stack of magazines.

4:00 p.m. that same afternoon - visions of boarding the plane and never making it home again. It never became a worry for me, though, because the trip was canceled. Where was I going? London, England. Who was I planning to go with? My high-school literary club. What did I never get to see? The streets of London and its theater district, Shakespeare's hometown and Canterbury. After months of planning the trip with my teacher and peers, after months of planning who to room with and what sights we would see, after months of expectations, everything came to a screeching halt. Why? Because of a bombing that took place in the streets of London attributed to the Irish Republican Army. I was aware of the century-long discord between the Irish and the English. Although I always thought of this religious based conflict as tragic, in my mind I kept those thousands of miles of distance between myself and the problem.

But on that cold day in February, the reality of the world's problems sank in and I realized firsthand the complexities and dangers that many people in the world face in daily life. Typically I had removed myself from the craziness of it all: the wars, the killings, the bombings. I had never been directly connected to these issues, but had only learned about them in school and read and heard about them through the news media However, on the day when all my hopes and excitement were crushed. everything became personalized.

Most things in life go smoothly in the small town where I live on Long Island, New York. There typically are no major problems; I don't have to worry about walking down the streets and have a bomb go off.

What would possess someone to kill innocent people? I don't have the answers, for I barely comprehend the extent of the problems in the world today. For the first time I realize how one group can affect people across the world. One hateful act can not only destroy the lives of the people who were injured, killed or who were directly involved, but can also indirectly affect people connected to the event. I still wonder why it happened and question how people can act so evil.

In comparison, however, I was actually very fortunate, because I only lost the experience of a trip to see another part of the world. If my literary club had left a few days earlier, we could have been caught in the bombing because the blast occurred in the theater district where we were going to see plays. I did not get to board that plane to see London and expand my view of the world, but as my parents would say, "You have your whole life ahead of you to travel." I can't say that I am happy it happened; how could I be?

But I believe that something good came out of this misfortune. That cold day in February, when I learned my trip was canceled, led to my greater awareness. ?


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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