I Had Never Left the Country Before... | Teen Ink

I Had Never Left the Country Before...

April 30, 2008
By Anonymous

I had never left the country before, so I was anticipating a new experience when my mother had told me we were going on vacation to Aruba. I was so excited, I was absolutely ready to experience a different style of living. However, little did I know my experience would teach me a life lesson, that deeply effected my future actions.

We had traveled to Aruba by plane, and had a lay over in Columbia. The airlines that we flew on was Hispanic. When we first got to the airport, the clerks had only spoken Spanish, and had made it take an enormous amount of time to even receive our boarding passes. This frustrated me enormously because every other passenger, who spoke Spanish, had received theirs quickly.

We were later on given the obstacle of getting through security. I was used to this being a fairly quick process judged by my other multiple times of flying, however this time was extremely different. The people who work there were unable to identify us or communicate with us, making this extremely difficult to proceed. Our carryon’s and purses began to be searched more thoroughly, and we were looked at as aliens.

When we had finally arrived at the gate, we had to wait until the airplane arrived. However, there were multiple gate changes, and with all of the announcements in Spanish, it made it nearly impossible to find out where to go. Eventually, we had to make friends who were bilingual, and would translate the announcements for us.

After arriving on the plane, we were then given the obstacle to communicate with the flight attendants. When being given the simple directions to fasten your seatbelt or turn off electronics, we were clueless. When trying to talk to the flight attendants, I had felt so inferior to others, they had spoken to me as if I weren’t as educated as they were. When trying to tell them we didn’t speak Spanish, they just began to speak louder, and began to scream at us.

When landing in Columbia, just as we stepped off the plane we were swarmed with armed officers in uniform, patting us down. I thought of this as unusual, little did I know, this was customary outside of the safe country of the United States of America. When the officers realized we did not speak Spanish, we were suddenly treated differently, and looked upon as different.

This is when I was then able to put myself in the position of many other United States Citizens. Many citizens of the United States speak broken English and are undermined because of this communication barrier. People often do put themselves in the position of the others that putting forth the effort to learn the English language and be treated as an equal. The lesson I learned did not take place at an isolated resort in Aruba, it had taken place at an airport. And this lesson will always effect my actions as a person.

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