As soon as we all reunited at baggage claim we stood there for the longest time as a group for the last time. As one bag appeared at a time that person left and just like that all these people that had gotten so close over the trip, were gone. I remember standing outside the airport waiting to be picked up, turning around, and waving goodbye to two of my best friends. I saw people in the group – scattered. It was as if we didn’t know each other anymore. After waving I started to cry. This entire trip I had been evaluating everything. This was going to be my last trip and my last year at PLU. I was so uncertain about everything in life. I was going to transfer to a different school after this trip; this was my “goodbye” time with the two people that had been there from the very beginning and one of the best teachers I’ve ever had, the teacher that kept me strong when I just wanted to give up on school.
|Flight to Europe|
Everything was on the fence for me before this trip – it seemed that everyone else was better at expressing my excitement then I was. Europe taught me about music and composers. I went there to learn about the culture and to experience the place where so many composers grew. I fell in love with the place but in the end, I also ended up learning about myself.
|Foster, Philip, Miki and I at the top of the Fortress in Salzburg|
I love music; it’s the one thing I’ve always been sure of. Salzburg really cleared my head – it felt like home, I was so sad when we had to leave. Even here, sitting on my computer, I wish I was in the beautiful Salzburg – I felt a connection to it. Vienna gave me hope. Seeing the boys choir, the philharmonics…everything there just poured hope into me. You can overcome anything. You can be great even when odds are against you. Vienna is filled with hope, like the Schonbrunn Palace, Maria Theresa. She carried everything on her back, she got almost everything back that she lost when she first had to take over. Mozart couldn’t listen to his dad; he wanted to compose so he did. It took 200 years but Haydn finally got his head and the “funeral” of his dreams (yes, this was not in Vienna). All the people that we studied took every opportunity in their life. They took control, that was most apparent in Vienna and I guess that vibe was what gave me hope about my future. Before the trip I had no idea what I was doing for my future, I just knew that I needed music in it. I was tired of looking into the future so far. Vienna made me want to just live life, take opportunities when they come and control my own future. I’ve always been independent but I got stuck every time someone said “what do you want to do with your life?” saying “I want to live it” was never an appropriate response. I got a lot of perspective on this trip, people younger than me that are just starting their college life, people that are starting into the real world and a teacher that has an insane amount of words of wisdom.
Prague was very different! Every day that passed in Prague I wanted to freeze time. I didn’t want it to be finished. The trip, Prague, Europe – I did not want to leave. I would sit there and reflect on how having Wi-Fi in only the lobby forced us to hang out in the past, in Prague we were just hanging out. Before the Vltava River dinner cruise we were supposed to meet in the lobby of a hotel right across from the river, we all ended up meeting and hanging out until we had to leave, in the lobby of our own hotel. The final dinner was amazing. We danced and sang and socialized. We all had fun together. Some of us stayed up together in the lobby till we left at 3am for the airport. These ties are over. Decisions are hard to face – ignoring pressures and doing what I want to do and what I feel is best for me, that too is hard. Europe was peaceful. The trip was beautiful. Music is everywhere, no matter where I go it will be there. Now that I’m back. I’m trying to face all these questions and options but all I can think about is chasing down the little Japanese conductor with Didi, scaling the 6 story shoe store with Sam, organ/piano hunting with Miki, standing for the Vienna Philharmonics with Foster and Erica, Clothes swapping with Elise, admiring Wendy’s amazing picture taking abilities, Mary’s undying excitement, Karla’s look on her face when listening to the Vienna Boys Choir, Foster’s brass obsession, our amazing guide Eva and so much more. With everything that happened on this trip I remember the people, the acts of kindness, the fun activities, the history and yes the amazing music. I guess Europe was my escape, it was my time for relaxation and fun, no worries. Now I’m back and ready to take control. I have some decisions still to make but if there is one thing Europe taught me it’s that everything will work out – it just takes some time.