By Erika Melek

A lot happened during this trip- so much that there aren’t even enough words to describe it. The best I can do is try to give a brief summary, but even then, it still couldn’t be comparable to the real experience.

It began with a group of strangers (for the most part). 11 people who have walked past each other in the halls, knowing mainly faces and not too many names. It was nerve-wracking -going on a trip like this- because no one from our school had gone before. We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into… I didn’t anyway.

When we landed in Saint Lucia, I still felt like I was in Canada, just on a roadtrip with a bunch of people I didn’t know and for some reason it was super hot. Like, really really hot. It didn’t even click for me when we reached Aunt Shelly’s place, and that should have been a real indication that I wasn’t at home anymore. The only time that it clicked for me was at dinner, when we were all gathered around sharing war stories about our school experiences or talking about stupid political leaders that have names that rhyme with “frump”. I really felt like a family at that point, and that was a feeling that I never wanted to lose.

Every day just got better and better for me, with every second that I spent in this new, foreign place, I found the more at peace I felt with myself. That wasn’t even the best part. The amount of love that I felt for everyone on the trip with me and the people that I met in the country just grew everyday to the point where I couldn’t contain it. I would want to laugh for no reason or hug someone without a purpose, just because I was so happy. I’m a fairly anxious person and have been ridden with this undesirable trait for quite a while now, but during those 10 days, I found no time where I was anxious, no time where I felt weak.

The strength I gained just from feeling the love of everyone around me was overwhelming and I would die to feel that way again. That’s why I need to go back to Saint Lucia. I need to go back home.