Sep 13
Michael Fernandez's picture

Bucket List

     When I was younger, I didn’t really have a bucket list. My dreams were things that were all easily accessible like doing well on a test or beating a certain video game. Now, as a 15-year-old, my bucket list has started expanding to include experiences and achievements that will take more preparation and effort. The older I get, the more I realize that there’s a huge world out there, and I’d like to see it. That’s why, last year, I decided to apply for a program called Where There Be Dragons. Where There Be Dragons is an organization that leads trips for young people who spend the summer in third-world countries on all parts of the globe. I did a lot of thinking to decide between all the offerings. I thought about what places sounded the most interesting, but also what kinds of things I would get to learn about and experience in each place. Finally, after much thought and research, I decided my top choice was Indonesia.

     Indonesia was my first choice for many reasons. First, growing up, I always heard my family talk about the Indonesian exchange student they had before I was born. Her name was Ori and she came to the US when she was just 13 years old. She taught my family so many unique things about her culture. My family still laughs about the time she let my dad try the hot sauce she brought with her and it set his mouth on fire, and they still feel awkward about the time our dogs burst into the bedroom where she was doing her daily prayers. If our dogs had touched her, she told my family, she would have had to wash 7 times, the last time in dirt! We still keep in touch with her today. The stories I heard taught me that the Indonesian culture was very different from ours, and that was the biggest reason I wanted to spend time there. It’s not very often that people get to travel so far from home and become completely immersed in another culture. I was excited to hear the language, try the food, and meet the people there. Finally, part of the trip was to stay with local families who live in villages of stilt houses that are built on top of the water. This sounded like something that was so unique, it would be a completely once-in-a-lifetime experience.

     When I received my acceptance letter to the program, I was overjoyed. I started thinking about all the things I would need to do to prepare. Sadly, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the trip was canceled. This is why I have added visiting Indonesia to my bucket list. Almost all the money I earn goes into my bank account to save for this trip. Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to go with the program next summer but, even if I don’t, I know it’s something that I’m going to do someday no matter what!

Michael Fernandez's picture
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