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european concert tour
view of the eiffel tower over the seineThe summer of my 11th grade year in high school my friend Ryan and I earned a spot on the United States Youth Ensembles European Concert Tour. We traveled to Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, France and the Netherlands, performing in each country for whoever wanted to watch. We performed out in open squares, in Luxembourg Gardens, Paris, in the most accoustically perfect concert hall in La Chaux du Fonds, Switzerland and in a small church in Selingen, the Netherlands. Our concert in Innsbruck, Austria was cancelled due to rain. I made some really good friends on the tour, and I still keep in touch with one of them, Betsy. Betsy and I had some great adventures together. Most of them usually involved getting lost.

southwest road trip
Sand dunes near Yuma, AZDuring spring break 2001, I went to visit my friend Alan out in Tucson, AZ and we went on a road trip with 2 of his friends to San Diego. It took us 7 hours to drive there but it was worth it. We had a blast. We went camping the first night because we had nowhere else to stay. The second night we spent at Camp Pendleton, just north of San Diego. We rented a trailer right on the beach for only $40! It was amazing. The last night we spent in a motel down by the Mexican border. We went to Tijuana for the evening to eat dinner and check out the nightlife. It was quite an experience. We almost couldn't find our way back to the border and we ended up getting a taxi with a driver who didn't speak any English. Eventually we got back though. After driving back to Tucson, we did some hiking in the mountains.

camping at amicalola falls
pumpkin patchLast November, my boyfriend Kris and I went camping for 4 days at Amicalola Falls in northern Georgia. The weather was freezing but we had plenty of warm clothes and a car with a great heater. We spent 3 nights at the campground. During the day we spent a lot of time by our campfire and exploring the area. We went to a huge pumpkin patch one day and a unique local art gallery called the Funky Chicken Art Project. The waterfall was gorgeous and all the leaves were changing. Down the mountain a little ways was the most beautiful lodge. At night we walked down there to play board games and sit by the huge fireplace. It was the most romantic vacation I've ever been on. One night we brought our sleeping bags out in the middle of a field and looked at the stars. It was so dark out there and the stars were incredibly bright.

nova scotia
lobsterThis past June, my parents, my cousin Meagan and I went to Nova Scotia. We stayed in an old farmhouse at the end of a dirt road in a little town called Mabou on Cape Breton Island. This was my second trip to Nova Scotia. I went with my parents and my brother when I was 10 also. Since that first trip my parents have had the dream of building a summer home in Mabou. In March, the first house will be built on their property. I hadn't been to Mabou yet before this summer, but I'd seen countless pictures and heard about how wonderful it was for at least 6 years. I didn't understand, though, why my parents were so obsessed with this tiny place no one had ever heard of. After going there in June, I realized why they had this dream. Now I'm just as excited about the house as they are. I can't wait to go back and spend more time up there. The people are so friendly and genuine and the scenery is breathtaking. I love hiking and the area has tons of great hiking trails. The food is great too. Lobster is one of the staples of their economy and every morning we'd see the lobstermen leaving the harbor for another day of harsh weather and hard work. My father met one of the lobstermen down on the docks as he was coming and bought 6 gigantic lobster from him for only $30 Canadian. The next day we had more lobster than we could eat. Music is a very regular part of any Cape Bretonner's day, especially in the summer. Every night there is a ceilidh somewhere, either in a pub or a community center. A ceilidh translates to kitchen party in Gaelic. There's fiddling and dancing and it's all very lively. And they're not shy about making you participate either. We danced right along with the rest of them even though we had no clue how to do the traditional dances.

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Copyright 2002 Amy Clendenin