Share a story about the furthest you’ve ever traveled from home.
If I remember properly, we already wrote about this topic recently. I remember writing about my travel from Pamplona, Spain to San Francisco, California where I worked as a foreign correspondent for two years. So this time I’ll write about a trip I made several years before, in 1993, to Kirkwood, Missouri, near St. Louis, to learn English.
It was the first time I crossed the Ocean, my first trip to the US. People thought I was crazy going to a small town lost in the Mid-West instead to visit New York or other touristic places. I only saw the Statue of Liberty from the airport!. But my budget was short and I had a family friend precisely in Kirkwood, Missouri waiting for me.
It was summer very hot and the Mississippi flooded big areas so the humidity was over 80 percent. I didn’t expect that weather. The day after my arrival, when I was still struggling with the jet lag I decided to fix my hair and was trying to do something with the hair dryer when my friend Maureen came, unplugged the dryer and told me with no ceremonies to go to the basement immediately. We had a tornado alarm! I have never seen a tornado in my life, so I got a little scared. I found the rest of the family in the basement listening to the radio. I asked with my broken English if we could do something and they told me: wait an pray. Fortunately the Tornado didn’t touch our neighbourhood and when the alarm was cleared we ran to the TV to watch the report: there were seven tornadoes advancing toward us, but thanks God they touched down in non populated areas. First day, first adventure.
To celebrate my first tornado experience we rented “The Wizard of Oz”. (I love the movie). We had a great time. Maureen come from Kansas so when something went wrong in the house or with my English classes we used to say “I think we are not in Kansas anymore,” and ended laughing.
I also tried to read Mark Twain’s books so close to the floods of the Mississippi. It was not easy, but with my eyes full of these images and my mind learning the new words it was like reading all this known stories for the first time. Unforgettable.
Of course we visited St. Louis, and tasted the delicious ice creams. But I remember specially the Kirkwood local Green Tree festival with its parade, its marching high school brass band, old automobiles, horses, carriages, local representatives shaking hands, people watching… And then the fair in the park with music bands, tents with foods from different places of the world, arts, plays for kids, picnics… They explained to me that they used to plant new trees every year in the park. I enjoyed it a lot.
Short after the festival my three months stay finished and I had to go home. No time and no money to stop in New York. But I was glad I had known Kirkwood and its people. It was a good trip.