A year ago today, I was in New York City. I spent the day in a Doubletree Hotel with probably one hundred or so other students destined for countries all over Europe. Students arrived all day...we gathered at tables, just talking. For once, we were all equal. Hardly anyone knew anyone else, so common questions flew about the air.
"What's your name?"
"Where are you from?"
"Where are you going?"
Although we were all high-schoolers, there was no hierarchy, no drama. There was only ridiculous amounts of excitement as we all left our childhood homes. For many of us, it was the first time we would leave our homes for an extended period of time. We smiled at everyone, asked about families, host families. We shrieked and danced when we found people going to the same country as us. We hugged people who had just turned from strangers to friends.
At first, we were sitting randomly, then we were separated by country. We spoke with the only Americans we would be seeing for the next year. We played games, joked around. We ate dinner mixed again, sat in the lobby talking, curfew came far too early, we couldn't share enough stories.
We were overexcited, ready for adventure.
A year ago today, I began a new life.