A Taste of Change | Teen Ink

A Taste of Change

April 29, 2010
By Julie.3193 SILVER, Stony Brook, New York
Julie.3193 SILVER, Stony Brook, New York
5 articles 0 photos 1 comment

Throughout my childhood, I haven’t had many opportunities to travel very far from home. I’ve seen a variety of different states, but my family only stepped outside the border once to see Niagra Falls in Canada. I love the idea of seeing new places and people of a different background, but regrettably haven’t had much experience with that yet. Although, last year I was lucky enough to embark on a trip that would take me somewhere I had never been.
My best friend took me on a cruise during Spring Break of 2009. Her parents, her sister, and other friends also joined us. My jaw dropped when I saw the enormous hulk oscillating ever so slightly on the surface of the water. The cruise ship was pristine and ideal; I had never seen anything like it before. As soon as we walked aboard, I looked up and thought I was in a palace. I wondered, and still do, how a ship that acts as a hotel that can stay afloat.
Right away we unpacked and explored what was going to be our home for the next five days. During these days, my friends and I met a bunch of people from all different places. Many teenagers we met were traveling from Florida, where we had all been before, but many of the employees were from all different countries. Our waiter was from Hungary, while the front desk women were from England. Of course, one of the most interesting and most obvious differences between us and them is our accents. The people from Florida did not say words like orange, coffee, or dog like us New Yorkers. Sharing laughs, trying to talk like each other, was so much fun. Not only is the pronunciation different, the lingo is also different. Sooner or later we started swapping each others’ catchphrases.
Going to Cozumel, Mexico, really opened my eyes to the huge variety of cultures there are in the world. I find it hard to believe that the place where I’m vacationing to actually has people who live there daily. It’s strange to imagine all the popular destination spots, mostly tropical regions, as just everyday life to those citizens. Those people don’t see it as a vacation spot, they see it as home. For the cruise port, we were closed off from the real city of Cozumel and were confined to only the shopping centers. The men and women that were selling jewelry, Cozumel souvenirs, and waiting on people at Señor Frogs were the actual people who live there. That is what these people do for a living, sell all this stuff. The vendors rely on travelers, like me, to gain money. This was not what I was used to seeing on Long Island. Most people’s salaries did not revolve around how many items you can sell to tourists. The different lifestyles showed me just how lucky Americans are to have the opportunity of a good education and a bright future.
I learned from this experience that there is more to the world than what is around me, so much more. There are incredible places with incredible people; the possibilities are endless. This trip has made me want to look in to a career where I can travel, and see all of the places around the globe. People are fascinating and are all so unique. I would absolutely love to meet people unlike the ones I see daily.

The author's comments:
I really wanted to write this piece, because it was my first experience where I saw a drastic difference in the culture compared to mine. I'm so young that I haven't traveled a lot of places, and the places that I have been to had a primary purpose of entertainment, not historical education.

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