In life, those who care for you are the ones that push you to go further in life and conquer your fears.
For me, that involved overcoming my fear of heights and sampling foods that I thought I didn’t like.
When we left for a family road trip to Lake George and Canada, I had no idea I would come back braver and more willing to try new things.
The five-hour drive upstate was so beautiful, and when we arrived in Lake George, the sun reflected off the lake and the air was really warm. The hotel was nice too; right outside our door was a view of the lake, and throughout the day you could see boats and jet-skis. After three days of swimming, drinking smoothies, and many rounds of mini-golf, we decided to keep going to Canada.
After another three or four hours in the car, we got to Montreal. The French-Canadian city was really weird, but kind of familiar. It reminded me of Brooklyn, where I lived before moving to the North Shore. There were many shops on the streets, and the houses were close together. One thing I noticed was the stairs leading to all the home.
“They have curved stairs. It’s their signature spiral stairs,” my mom said.
We looked for things to do and my mom found a festival taking place by the old docks. We drove there and saw a huge Ferris Wheel. Right next to it was a festival that had something I’ve never even heard of: poutine.
“What’s poutine?,” my little sister asked.
“It’s french fries with cheese and gravy,” my mom explained.
I felt my face scrunch up. I’d much rather have a burger, I thought. When we entered, there were many different stands that sold all types of this Canadian comfort food, including Chinese food, poutine, BBQ poutine, and other weird combinations that I never would have thought existed. Throughout the dock, it smelled like an explosion of cultures. It reminded me of every restaurant I’ve ever been to mixed in one.
My dad and sisters got poutine with lobster but I wasn’t in the mood for it, since I ate lobster for dinner the previous night.
“Can I get BBQ instead,” I said.
“Of course,” my mom said. “I’ll share it with you.”
We got our order and went to the table where my dad was sitting. Once I sat back down, I took the fork from the bag and opened the container. I got a french fry with a big glop of cheese and some BBQ sauce on it. It was a different taste, but I’m glad I didn’t miss out on it. It was actually pretty enjoyable.
Immediately after finishing eating, my siblings asked, “Now can we go on the Ferris wheel?”
The massive Ferris wheel had lights all around it and I knew my family would try and convince me to go on it, despite my fear of heights.
I was hesitant.
“Do I have to go on? I’m kinda scared.” I asked.
“Come on, Sophie. What, are you gonna chicken out again? Be the person that sits and watches,” my older sister, Faith, whispered to me so she wouldn’t get in trouble.
I clenched my fist in anger and blurted out, “Fine. I’ll go on.”
As we waited in line, I grew more nervous, but my mom kept telling me “you will be fine” and my sisters were cheering me on.
Finally, our turn came to get into the small box. It was a good thing I am not claustrophobic. The doors shut and we ascended slowly.
My dad said, “it’s the perfect time, right at sunset.”
“Look how high we are, I could see the top of the buildings,” my sister said as we reached the top. To the left of us was a bridge that we had crossed to get here, and in front was a ziplining tower.
“Mom, can we go on that after we are done with this?” Faith, always the daredevil, asked.
“There is no way you can convince me to do that,” I declared. My dad came to the rescue.
“It’s gonna be dark by then and we still have to drive to the hotel, so maybe tomorrow on the way back,” he said before my mom could answer. I relaxed and kept looking around. To the right was the poutine feast we had just visited and behind us was an explosion of color as the sun set right behind the skyline. I squeeze my mom’s arm and closed my eyes.
Then my mom wanted a photo and got up to sit on the opposite side of the gondola from me and my sisters. The cart suddenly shifted and shook. I screamed, my sisters moved in closer to me. I squeezed Faith’s hand smiled quickly. We took one photo with the buildings and the sunsets right behind us. I felt my heartbeat start to slow down. It was not that bad, I thought to myself.
We went around several more times, and each time it got less and less scary. Suddenly, the cart stopped at the bottom and the doors swung open. I stepped out of the cart, and for some reason, the air smelled sweeter. The solid ground felt good on my feet. I felt strong.
I quickly whispered “Thank you,” in Faith’s ear. As we exited the facility, I asked for a photo right at the base of the Ferris wheel. It is a reminder that I am not a “scaredy-cat,” as my sister would tease me. Without my family, I would have chosen not to go on the Ferris wheel, but they convinced me to trust myself.
The experience taught me that I am strong and have the ability to do whatever I set my mind to do, even if fear creeps in.