Ashvi Johnson is an Indian student studying tourism and hospitality at Whatcom Community College as a participant in the Northwest Community College Initiative (NWCCI) program. Below she writes about a weekend trip she took to Leavenworth with a group of students and a friendship family. We love the way she describes the challenges of learning to snowboard and the pleasure she got from trying some thing new with a multicultural group.
Almost everyone in the world loves to have fun in all kinds of way, but having fun in a multicultural group is extraordinary. I would like to share my experience from our trip to Leavenworth, a small Bavarian village located in Chelan County in central Washington. Over Presidents Day weekend I decided to go on a trip to Leavenworth with Kara and Kurt, my roommate’s friendship family. The trip was comprised of six people: Paulo and Malu from Brazil, Sarah and me from India, and Kara and Kurt. We left Bellingham on Friday the 14th around noon and set foot in Leavenworth at about 8pm.
We stayed at a beautiful inn called the Moonlight Escape. The house had all kinds of facilities, including a hot tub and the most beautiful thing was that it snowed all day long. It was beautiful to see them cover the ground in huge piles of white fluffy ice. As this was our first experience having fun in the snow, we decided on a bunch of activities which included snowboarding, skiing, sledging, etc. On day one, we went to the rental shop and got all of the necessary equipment for snow activities like snowboards, shoes, ski poles, gloves etc. We reached the Leavenworth ski area at 12pm; then we took snowboarding lessons for an hour. This is the first time I realized that activities in snow aren’t as easy as they seem to be. I felt all my muscles burning and suddenly my body was very warm. The small cute snowflakes that touched our skin drew our attention and we all decided to go for it. I had never snowboarded or skied before and to me this was a challenging activity.
Together we decided to go for the rope tow, but my first five attempts failed and I crashed face down in the snow. Some of us even hit our heads on the rock hard snow, and I ate a bunch of snow on the rope tow. It wasn’t over, however. None of us gave up, we stood up again and again and rope towed until we made it to the top. The achievement for the day was that no one gave up and at the end of the day we all learned how to snowboard with only minor cuts and bruises – moreover, we had fun!
At the end of the day we were all tired and couldn’t even walk to our own beds, but there wouldn’t be a happy ending without food and chit chatting. All of us took turns cooking breakfast, lunch or dinner and therefore every night we would have a variety of food (Brazilian, Indian or American). Malu and I cooked a Brazilian dish called beef stroganoff with baked potatoes. All of us sat happily around the dining table and shared our experience with food and drinks. The day wasn’t over yet, after eating we played games. I felt really great spending a vacation with a group of diverse people sharing their respective cultures.
The next day we went to the mountains to cross-country skiing and it was very relaxing. The place was scenic and mind blowing. Cross-country skiing wasn’t as exhausting as snowboarding and was comparatively easy. We ate Indian chicken fried rice for dinner, made by Sarah and Kurt. It was very delicious and on all these days we never missed the hot tub. After having dinner we would slip into the hot tub and then have a refreshing bath in the snow.
This experience changed my mind set, because I was very outgoing, which is a drastic change for me. We played in the snow, made ugly snowman and went snow shoeing in the yard.
When it was time to head home all of us were very sad because this was the best vacation we have ever had. There was so much love, care, friendship and beauty in this diverse group. I will always cherish these wonderful memories. One has to be lucky to have this type of diverse fun and it is worth it.
Coming to the United States of America has changed my life in many different ways. One among the many changes that I would like to highlight is that I learned to have fun by doing things that I have never done before. In other words, I learned to have fun without looking to others or being embarrassed to express myself having fun. Deep inside my heart I believe that I wasn’t only having fun but also expressing myself the way I choose to be. Moreover, I feel proud about the experience and I have learned a lot from these people.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.