It seems a bit unrealistic writing this essay, considering that being in California feels like yesterday. Time literally flew right past me. I remember looking over the paperwork on my desk and not knowing what to expect. Little did I know I was about to experience the best trip of my life.
When I was pulled out of my math class, I was extremely confused as to what it was about. I was in our meeting room at school, with about 5 other students and later told about this amazing trip. We each received an application packet that looked as if it would take me a month to complete. But the next morning I was told it was due in two days, if I wanted to be chosen. I had to write about 6 essays in two days. I did not think my essays would be good enough to get me into this program. Surprisingly, a few weeks later I received an email because I was a finalist, then went through a phone interview, and Bam! I was chosen. My councilor had tears of joy, she already knew when she recommended me I would appreciate this more than anyone.
After contemplating for days what I should pack, I finally finished the night before. Which was pointless because I basically wore workout clothes the entire time. We were constantly doing an activity that required comfortable clothing. Each day got more exciting as the days past.
My project for community service was I.V.Y.P, this required me to work daily with small children ages 0-1. They were the most adorable in my opinion. Although these children could not speak to me it was almost like we understand each other and certainly as the two-week point grew closer we were almost inseparable. Working at this nonprofit organization taught me how important those children are to the teacher who work full time. Working there from 830am-1230pm, I was exhausted. I could not even imagine what it must be like for the teachers, they explained to me that they work all year round and get at most 10 holidays off. I remember seeing them while they opened their checks and how little they were paid. I really understood the reason for these women being at this place, they genuinely wanted to help these children. When I first walked in I didn’t realize how easy it would be to fall in love with these children. But on my last day the teachers handed me a shirt with each child’s painted hand and a small “we will miss you”, I quickly took the shirt, said thank you, and walked right out. All the beautiful, cheerful faces of the children I helped each day rushed through my head. I had to leave as fast as I could because I felt a tear rushing down my face. These women and children grew on me and it hurt knowing I would not be able to see them ever again.
My community service was one of my best memories of Project California but was not my only great one. Each day I must say I made about 5 new friends. Some that I know I will keep forever. We experienced things that I may have never experienced if it wasn’t for this trip. I can now say I know how to surf, I picked up some bowling skills, I learned to kayak, roller bladed in 80’s themed clothing, and simply walked the streets of Santa Barbara and Los Angeles, California. I did activities which people forget are fun to do, before California I cant remember the last time I went bowling or roller balding.
If I could experience this all over again, I would in a second. I am not sure I could possibly thank Trip of a Lifetime enough for this amazing experience. But really I am so grateful and appreciate it, I can now say I’ve been to California. THANK YOU SO MUCH!