Monday, September 10, 2012

memories


I am a very sentimental person. I think that is why I like photographs so much. Whenever I stare into a photograph the memories come rushing back to me. The things I remember most are not the planned activities but are the unplanned memories. The ones that make me smile. One particular photo album brings back lots of those unexpected memories and makes me smile whenever I think about it; my trip to Northern Ireland in 2000, when I was 16.



 
I was involved with a group called Operation Friendship. It was sort of like a student exchange program but it was only for the summer and you had to be involved for at least 2 years; one year to host and one year to travel. When I was old enough to join it was a host year but the next year I was able to travel and my destination was to Dungannon, Northern Ireland.


 
When I look through the photos from that 3 week long trip, I am flooded with memories. I don’t remember much of the activities or sites I saw, I remember the people and our experiences together. One person that pops into my head whenever I think about that trip is someone named David (I know his last name but I’m not sure if it’s appropriate to post on the blog). We actually didn’t meet until the end of the trip because his chapter was hosting a group from Holland or Germany (I can’t remember), but the chapter I was visiting, and the chapter he was involved in did get together on a few occasions. I remember meeting him in Castlerock but didn’t really start talking with him until the night in Killoween.


 
We just hit it off and I was comfortable talking to him from the beginning. He was very easy to talk to. I’m very shy and introverted so it takes a special person to get me to open up. When I look at the few pictures I have of our short time together, everything comes rushing back but the one thing I remember most is what happened at the airport.


 
When it came time to leave I packed everything in the car and said goodbye to the family. As we drove, I noticed we were going in a different direction than usual and asked where we were going. My host mother said she had to run an errand. When we pulled up to a house I didn’t think anything of it until I saw David walk out the door and hop into the car and plop down next to me. My host mother smiled at me and said he wanted to come to the airport so she offered to pick him up. I don’t remember saying much, I just remember being happy that I could see him one last time. When we reached the airport my host mother helped me check in. When I was done, with tears in my eyes, I said goodbye to my host family. I hugged David next and we exchanged a few words. When our embrace was over he took his wallet out and handed me something. It was a bracelet, his bracelet, a single strand of black and green beads, which he had always worn around his wrist. He placed it in my hand and told me to think of him every time I looked at it. We hugged again and said goodbye then I was on my way. Once I couldn’t see them anymore tears started streaming down my face.


I had the bracelet up until a year ago when the box I had it in fell off my bureau and the bracelet disappeared into oblivion. After that trip we exchanged a few emails but eventually lost touch.Every time I look at the pictures of our times together I wonder what he is like or what his life turned out like. I wonder what he was thinking that day and the times the times we had spent together. I hope I do eventually find that bracelet but if I don’t it will be okay. I will always have the memories


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