RTW: Summer After Graduation

It’s time for YA Highway’s Road Trip Wednesday!

From YA Highway:
Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway’s contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody’s unique take on the topic.

This Week’s Topic Is: 
How did you spend/how will you spend the summer after graduation?

Growing up I always knew that I would spend my summer after graduation preparing for college.  But, as it sometimes happens when you know about something that you will be doing in the future, it doesn’t always turn out that way.  During high school I made my college visits, applied and received acceptances to some schools.  I chose one, but it wasn’t the right fit for me and in the months leading up to graduation I let them know that I would no longer be attending their college.  This left me without a concrete plan for the near future.  I started applying for jobs and I also applied to a few other colleges.  I applied for the fall semester, but knew that would most likely not happen as it was too late.  It turns out that I did receive a call from the admissions office at one of the universities to let me know that while I applied past the deadline, they would still like to accept me for the fall semester.  At that point I had to turn them down.  I had other plans.

In the midst of applying for jobs and admissions to other colleges my dad asked me if I would be willing to travel to Africa to help missionaries that he knew should they be in need of a volunteer.  I immediately said yes.  When I was younger I read the books Angel of Mercy and Angel of Hope by Lurlene McDaniel, about teenagers who travel on a hospital mercy ship to Africa.  Ever since reading those books, I dreamt of doing something similar, though I never believed it would actually happen.  Even when I said yes I didn’t believe that I’d end up in Africa.

Then I was told that there was an opportunity for me to spend some time in Senegal, a country in West Africa.  I jumped at the chance!  At the beginning of the summer I started preparing for my three-month stay in Senegal.  I worked to raise money for my flight and living expenses, I met with a travel agent to schedule my flights, I got the required immunizations and a prescription for malaria medication and I started buying things that I would need while I was away–like clothing that would protect me from the sun and mosquitos, but would also help keep me as cool as possible, as I would be there during the hot season.
I also learned as much about the country as I could before leaving.  I even thought about trying to cook some Senegalese food so that I would have a taste for some of what I’d be eating before I left, but when I started looking up recipes I started to notice a trend that worried me a little: onions.  Lots of onions.  I don’t like onions at all.
The last two weeks of the summer, before I left, I was a nervous wreck.  I was constantly near tears worrying about leaving my family and friends and flying all the way to Africa by myself.  I started to think that I was crazy for even considering this trip and tried to think of ways that I could back out.
Of course I didn’t, and I’m so grateful that I took advantage of that opportunity.  It was one of the best experiences of my life.  
It wasn’t how I expected to spend the summer (or fall) after graduation, but it was so much better than what I had originally planned on!

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3 Comments

  • Reply
    beck nicholas
    June 21, 2012 at 4:44 am

    Wow – what an amazing story. it must have conmpletely changed your life. What an experience!

    • Reply
      Crystal
      July 3, 2012 at 2:15 am

      It really did! I'd love to go back sometime, especially now that I know a little bit of the language. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

  • Reply
    *tarazza
    July 2, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    I would love to read more about your experiences with your trip, from beginning to end!!

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