Memorable vacations make for remarkable stories

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Submitted by: Adnan Askari

Freshman Adnan Askari holds the Pakistani flag in front of the Hagley Oral in Christchurch New Zealandfor the Pakistan and West Indies Cricket World Cup Math with the rest of his family. "I got to see cricketers that I've looked up to for essentially my entire life ... [it] made for an experience that I'll never forget," Askari said

Amodhya Samarakoon, Opinions Editor

Sitting in a classroom, a student randomly smiles as memories of that one epic, hilarious, incredible vacation envelops all prior academic-related thoughts. From watching the cricket World Cup in Australia to riding a flooding Rickshaw car in Pakistan, traveling can open one’s eyes to fascinating foreign cultures or forge familial bonds which stretch across oceans and floorboards alike.

Many of the vacation-moments that stick with people are the small ones, in which unexpected issues or opportunities arise. For, sophomore Samantha Bluhm, a memorable vacation moment was when her family took a cruise to Africa and around Europe. “An old lady had a heart attack or something [and] the ship made a side trip to a port so the lady could go to the hospital,” Bluhm said. At the time, her brother had a fever of 103 degrees, and it was 110 degrees outside. “[But the ship stopped] in the middle of the night so when everybody got up in the morning, expecting to be in the port, we were still out at sea.” Bluhm’s memories of her vacation revolve mainly around bonding with her parents and brother, despite unexpected and uncomfortable events such as getting sick at sea.

Motivation for traveling can range from casual sightseeing, to visiting family, to huge events, or a combination as was the case for freshman Adnan Askari’s desire to watch the Cricket World Cup live in Australia which coincided with his parents dream of visiting the country. The Cricket World Cup happens every four years, so any opportunity to watch it live was not something Askari could let pass. “Even after the most mundane of plays, the stadium echoed with screams and applause. This, coupled with the fact that I got to see cricketers that I’ve looked up to for essentially my entire life, live, made for an experience that I’ll never forget.” He also recalled the enjoyment he felt sightseeing at places such as the Sydney Opera House and snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef.

As many travelers do, Upper School Spanish teacher Rolando Castellanos has developed a passion for other countries’ history, geography and culture. He recently visited South East Asia, specifically Singapore and Cambodia. He was amazed by Singapore’s architecture, sights and people. “There is such an incredible diversity of peoples and cultures in one little island that’s ultra-modern, yet has a very strong cultural identity. Each group has its own little neighborhood that’s almost like going to visit India, the Middle East, or China yet [they’re] a few blocks from skyscrapers.”

Askari similarly states that “Although my family makes regular trips across the U.S. to visit family, trips outside the country are very rare. I enjoy [them] most because they give me the opportunity to learn about how other countries differ from the U.S. For example, I learned that in Australia, voting is required by law, and anyone who doesn’t can be arrested.”

While visiting other countries can  provide amazing experiences, a vacation does not need to involve 10 hour flights, tropical-disease vaccinations or frolicking on foreign sand near distant seas, they can happen within state or country. For sophomore Muneil Rizvi, his fondest memories involved bonding with his family over unexpectedly hilarious driving encounters.  While his family was in New York, “A car came up behind us, it honked and honked … my dad went off to the side and let the car pass … then my dad went behind him and started honking at him too, doing the same thing he did to us … that car got really angry, he made hand motions [telling us] he wanted pull over and fight it out.”

While this may seem like any normal event that probably happens often, Rizvi finds amusement and joy in small, random events which often occur during his family’s vacations. He shares another driving experience (there’s just something about cars that bring families together) that he vividly remembers when with his family in Pakistan: “We were driving down the road while it was raining, and I looked out of the window. And, on the driveway of a house there was a man just sitting on a chair with ropes tied around him and a police officer standing behind. And then, water started flooding into our car.”

Vacations allow travelers to experience new cultures and languages, but the most important component seems to be having family and friends there, and the memories that stick long after tans fade and pictures are transferred off SD cards are the “random things that happen that you don’t plan on and have to problem solve to get out of , [they] make vacations interesting,” Rizvi said.