All This Madness
Trip Start Jul 18, 2011
8Trip End Dec 24, 2011
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It was a Monday morning and I had a flight booked to leave at 8 AM back to Geneva. I took the train to Roma Fiumicino Aeroporto and checked myself in, went through security, and got in trouble for having a rope and a hammock. They were taking away my $100 hammock and my exhaustion and starvation just got to me. I had a complete breakdown and just started bawling in security. I cried for about 20 minutes straight until other people got angry at the security guards for "making a poor girl cry" and demanded that they let me through with all my stuff. Security finally allowed me through with my hammock and I started to run to catch my flight. When I arrived at the gate, a feeling of absolute dread came over me. I stood there for a few minutes, debating whether I should miss my flight and just leave everything behind and just stay in Rome. I would have rather slept on the streets and stole food than to go back to Geneva and back to that horrible family. But after quite a debate, I finally stepped on the plane. The flight went by fast, and I arrived in Geneva in less than an hour and fifteen minutes.
When I arrived to my apartment, I decided to send an email to my parents to let them know I was safely "home." When I opened my Gmail account, I noticed an email from my boss and proceeded to open it. This is what I read:
"When you return from Italy we would like you to occupy your time with making arrangements to return to the States as Antoine and I have made arrangements to take care of Amelie ourselves. Please call the airlines and find the next flight home. Please make sure your room is in the same condition as you got it. Clean!"
There were other things said, but I don't want to dwell on it. Basically I was being kicked out with no money to buy a flight back to the states or any knowledge on how to change my flight that I already had for December 23rd. I called my parents at 3 AM (USA time) and just bawled my eyes out because I had nowhere to go. I packed up quickly, and as I was about to leave, the husband came home. He was a bit more "reasonable" and offered to allow me to stay until Thursday to find a place to stay.
My friends caught wind of what was going on and this is where I discovered how many amazing people I had met. Friends that I had met only once and members in my church immediately offered me a place to stay until I found another job. I ended up staying with my good friend Elisabeth, who was an aupair for a family in my church. The wonderful family and Elisabeth allowed me to stay with them for two weeks.
My friend Caitlin, was an aupair for an Irish family in France. She had to go home because of Visa reasons and offered that I take her place once she leaves. I ended up accepting the job in Pressevin-Moens, France. This is where I worked for the last month and a half of my time in Europe. The family was nicer than my last one in Switzerland, but the boys were wild and out of control. I didn't particularly enjoy caring for them and I was just ready to go home. It was such a relief when I finally got on my flight back to the States. Everything went smooth, all my flights were on time and there were no complications. Except when I arrived in the States, I got in trouble for having a pocket knife that I had thrown in a bag and forgotten about... it was a Christmas present for my dad. I ended up having to check in an extra bag with the knife in it. Other than that, the flights went quickly and before I knew it, I was home. It really was a relief to be back with my family for Christmas and to not be in a place where I was uncomfortable constantly.
Being back home has been amazing, but I find myself wanting to travel again. Perhaps not as long as six months. I was planning on going to Peru and Argentina this summer, but decided to put it off to next Christmas break so I can have more time to save up at least four or five grand. I'd leave right after Christmas and be there until the day before school started. So, this summer I'm planning on taking road trips and sleeping on the beaches in Southern California, lots of backpacking (Havasupai Falls especially!), rock climbing, kayaking, and running a few half marathons, 10K's, and 5K's. I might skip Fall semester to work in Arizona with the Anasazi Indians as a wilderness guide/counselor. But we shall see where the wind blows me....
2011 has been quite an adventure for me. I've modeled, acted, been used, had my heart broken, been back stabbed by someone I had trusted and loved dearly, gotten fired three times this year because of my deafness "being a problem", kicked out of two homes, had a wild streak, up and left to Switzerland, been to the most beautiful places Switzerland and Italy has to offer, backpacked Italy alone for 16 days, experienced being homeless, stranded in a strange country with not even 25 cents in my pocket, been robbed, starved, begged, borrowed, and cried more than I had ever cried in years. I was hated, despised, rejected, and outcast. Yet at moments when I needed it most, I was loved, served, and watched over by saints and angels.
I walked through heaven and hell, saw angels and demons, and discovered the good and bad in myself. Through all this madness, I never regret any decisions I made or hold any grudges to the pain others have caused me. I have learned to forgive. I have learned how to rise above and overcome. My eyes have been opened to things about where I was definitely in the wrong. I've come to accept the negative characteristics in myself that I need to change in order to help make the world a better place. I've learned things the hard way, but it's made me realize how strong I truly am. The friendship and the goodness of people around me has lessened my "me versus the world" attitude and has inspired me to serve others as others have served me.
My story is all about adventure. Adventure isn't all wild fun and euphoria. I have said it over and over; adventure is blood, sweat and tears. Adventure makes you see the beauty in the world. In adventure, you are forced to see your true colors. You have no choice but to accept the obstacles that are thrown at you. It's rise above or fail.
As the horizon of a new year appears, I stand prepared for the obstacles that will be thrown my way. There's no use in wishing life would be easier. There's no use in hiding from the world. There's no use in running away. Life is hard. Life is ugly. But the beauty behind the ugly is what makes life worth it. You aren't living if you cant see the beauty in the hard things. Open your eyes and be not afraid of adventure. Hold your shield and sword up to those who tell you that you can't, or that you're not strong enough, or that you're not good enough and then go out and freaking prove them wrong.
Don't be afraid of madness. Life is madness. If you're not up to embracing the madness, then you'll live your life in hiding and afraid, instead of experiencing what it's like to kick down the walls suffocating you and to feel the victory and freedom of being a champion.