CEZANNE HENRIQUEZ

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When I first left for California I was extremely nervous and anxious, mainly because I didn't know the type of people I would be meeting and essentially living with for two weeks. I was excited for the trip but I was scared I wouldn't relate to anyone outside of Trip Of A Lifetime. Arriving in California the first day was kind of as expected except it wasn't just me who was anxious, I could tell there were nerves running through everyone which was a little comforting. When we got to the hotel we almost immediately got into icebreakers. Also as expected was everyone wasn't as nice as I would hope. There was a lot of isolation and discrimination towards me and the girls I came with but I didn't let it affect me or my time spent in California, but it was something that was upsetting throughout the trip. Thankfully Chantel and Katherine, the girls I came with, and Aidan and Noah, the only real friends we made, made my trip worthwhile. After the first night I felt a bit more comfortable which was good because I could finally get to really enjoy California and the scenery that comes with it.

 

Despite it being pretty cold the first couple of cities in California we still did lots of fun activities. One of my favorites was trolley riding in San Francisco which was extremely cool. We were able to see some of the most beautiful parts of the city in one ride! We were ultimate tourists! Although I can't remember exactly what we did where, I do remember most of the activities we did. Most of our activities had to do with water so we definitely had some fun experiences! Like when we went white water rafting and I accidentally fell overboard and almost all of the people of my rafting team had to help me back up! Although it sounds scary (and it was for a second) having everyone lift me back up and start to laugh made me realize how hilarious the incident was because just minutes before I said I wouldn't be the one to fall overboard! There was another time when we went water tubing and I was extremely scared to be so far out in the water but ended up doing really well and having loads of fun, where as Aidan, who wasn't scared at all and was a little cocky about it, ended up flopping like a fish on the tube. It was hilarious! Or lastly when we went surfing and a big wave caught Chantel and air and my board hit her head! She was fine but definitely found a way to get back at me before the day ended! At the end of each day we would be taken to great restaurants and have more time to actually sit and get to know each other better.

 

After being around them so long I developed food relationships with our counselors and also our bus driver Oscar, since we were basically living out of our bus! He was such a kind, caring, and funny man and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss him. The last couple of days of the trip were spent in LA and those were most definitely my favorite. Because we knew the trip was coming to an end, my friends and I took the time to really enjoy each other's company and get close to each other which is why up until now I keep in contact with them. But it wasn't just my friends that I enjoyed in LA, the activities were so fun! We went to Disney, Universal Studios , The Hollywood Walk Of Fame ,and a well known comedy club where I met Gary Curtis from Buzzfeed! I was most definitely fangirling because I love his videos and meeting him definitely made my night.

 

The last night before we took our flights back, the counselors brought us into a room in the hotel and we played games and I enjoyed our last night in. California. It was almost emotional knowing that we would be going our separate ways after making such good relationships. I had come in with such anxiety and fear and I learned that even I should always keep an open mind and be excited for new experiences and even if there is negativity in the way I should just push past it.

 

After this trip I feel glad that I made the friends I did and I'm thankful to have been given this opportunity. In being so used to New York and it's fast paced lifestyle where you sometimes don't even have time to stop and say hello to someone or you'd miss you train it was interesting to be in such a slow and calm environment, and enjoyed in greatly! Thank you again and I hope to become an alumni in the program so I could talk to and see other other students get the same, or even better experience than I did!