I have officially completed my first year of high school, and within these past nine months I have grown as a person more so than I ever thought to be possible. Exploring the extent of my comfort zone, I joined THINK Global School and discovered that the world around us can be more complicated than we can comprehend, but as the same time be one of the most simplistic ideas. When living in Argentina for four months I learned how to take care of myself, the importance of taking care of others, and that sometimes it is okay to ask for help. I discovered the value of friendship and understand that I have to learn from the past in order to avoid history repeating itself. I confronted the idea of facing challenges and accepted the lemons of life with a recipe for lemonade rather than a frown from their sourness. This first semester was a difficult one due to leaving the only way of life I knew, but this step outside my comfort zone opened a world of possibilities. Then, about two weeks later I was faced with my most nerve-wracking experience of the year- traveling alone to Thailand.
This 30 hour journey would be my first time on a plane without any one I knew, so I was quite unsure of what was to come. I had an eight hour lay over in Amman, Jordan, which was quite cool because I had never been in that part of the world before. A few hours later, thirsty, exhausted, and confused as to which day it was, I landed in Bangkok. Once I reached the hotel I slept from the mid-afternoon until the next morning when my school got ready to fly to Bhutan. The ride was a bit bumpy, but at the same time amazing! Seeing mountains for the first time, by flying right beside them, was one of the most incredible moments of the trip. That is the day I truly realized just how small we are in this world. The next two weeks were spent exploring the western-half of the country. We went to several Dzongs, learned phrases in Dzongkha, hiked mountains, wrapped ourselves in layers, reflected in our journals, drank butter tea, drove for hours in busses, sat by fires, learned about the environment, ate momos, sang songs, hugged, laughed, and smiled. It was a very busy two weeks, but no matter that, it was incredible.
Then together we ventured to Boston, MA. I was glad to be going back “home” to the U.S.A., but I didn’t realize just how big America really was until I spent time in Boston. The culture of New England, while still very American, is different from Missouri in aspects like the style of the houses and of course the accent. I knew there were varying cultures across the country, but I had never really experienced one before, so living in Boston definitely gave me some perspective from that angle. Also, geographically speaking, I found it crazy that it took a friend living in England the same amount of time to fly home as it did a friend living in California! My eyes were opened in our last semester in ways I did not expect. I thought the U.S.A. term would be just like home before I arrived, but at times I was just as surprised as I was in Argentina when seeing different aspects of the culture.
Finishing off this year I look back and am proud of myself for taking that first step into the rest of my life. I am thankful for everything I have done in this past year and I am glad I am the person I have become due to those experiences. Traveling with TGS has truly taught me more than I could ever begin to explain, and I cannot wait to continue adventuring with the amazing people in the TGS family for years to come.