Finally the day arrived to pick our student ambassador up from the airport. We were receiving texts that they had departed Europe and landed in Atlanta in route to home. Only a few more hours and we could pick her up at the airport and listen to a few of the sure to be numerous stories on the way home. Unfortunately another flight delay altered these plans a little but only by a few hours this time. Sometimes technology helps as we could keep track of the flight as it continued closer and closer bringing our traveler home safely.
This has certainly been a different experience as a parent also. To give up the responsibilities as a parent temporarily and trust other people to keep your child safe was difficult. It also means you have to confidence in your child’s ability to make good and smart decisions. Trust can be a difficult thing when put to the test with your children. There was a realization that, sooner than we will be ready for, this child will be departing our home to begin her own story and these feelings we’re having of her being gone won’t be as temporary. Fortunately her return brought relief and a sense of completeness in our family once again. Better enjoy and appreciate it for a few more years!
Since her return was delayed to late during the night, her stories and experiences will mostly have to wait a day. The next few days were filled with stories of adventures and meeting people from different parts of Europe and a lot of sleep as these student ambassadors were pretty exhausted from weeks of constantly moving. Every day there were a few new stories to be entertained with as memories of this adventure continued to be digested. After a few weeks the significance of this opportunity began to take hold and more of an appreciation for this trip surfaced. The more people she began to share this experience with, the more she began to understand how special it was. The full impact likely won’t be known for several years.
Her favorite part of this European Adventure was her homestay in France. The piece of this trip I was most nervous about. She loved the people she stayed with and the opportunity to relax and explore portions of France at a more leisurely pace. A return to France is now a high priority on her list of places to go when she can. As our travels are pretty well planned out through 2018 with the Monopoly National Parks board, she’ll have to wait a few years but I’m confident she’ll make it happen.
The worst part of this trip was having to stick to a fairly strict schedule which didn’t allow for staying a little longer at one location and spending less time at places of lower interest that was made more strict due to the two lost days from canceled flights. This student ambassador is use to traveling in smaller groups which allow for more flexibility when sightseeing as opposed to a group of over forty people which restricts that flexibility due to the slower pace at which the group travels and the diversity of interests of that group.
There have been some great stories from each country they visited which included England, France, Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Hopefully she will share some of these here in the future.