For the past couple months I have been taking an online course to get certified to teach English as a foreign language. So far, much of what I’ve had to do for the course has been pretty boring. The assignments that I’ve had this past week, however, have renewed my interest in the class. Each lesson has been about signal words, specifically storytelling and feelings. This morning I completed an essay assignment in which I had to tell a story about either a sad occasion or a pleasurable event and use words that signify feelings. I chose to write about a sad occasion, mostly because it was very hard for me to remember any one specific pleasurable event that would be easy enough to apply to the prompt. So I chose my fallback: probably the most frustrating day of my life:
“Last summer, I was studying abroad in Rome, Italy. It was a wonderful experience, but there was one sad spot that stood out to me: the day I left. That day I experienced so many emotions, and some that I didn’t expect. They didn’t necessarily stem from the fact that I was leaving a beautiful country, but from the fact that very little went according to plan.
Frustration consumed most of my day. It was displeasing that I had to wake up at 5 AM in order to walk to the train station and I was upset that it took me around thirty minutes to walk a little over 6 blocks. Mainly because of the heavy luggage I was traveling with and all the cobblestones that were between me and my destination. This emotion continued when I couldn’t find the bus port that I needed, so I had to wait even longer to take a train to the airport. I also felt disgusted with myself because I was drenched in sweat from all the emotions and activity that I was experiencing. Nervousness set in when I finally reached the airport and waiting in multiple, lengthy lines made me paranoid that I would miss my flight.
The emotion that was most surprising to me was shame. I felt inadequate when I couldn’t find the bus port at the train station, as well as when I was struggling to transport my luggage from my apartment to the train station. I began to feel helpless and I started to think that nothing was going right. Shame also popped back up during my first layover at the London Heathrow Airport. My carry-on luggage had ripped on the cobblestones in Rome that morning, so the elastic wiring got caught on the moving sidewalk in the airport. I had to press the emergency stop button and a random gentleman had to cut my bag loose. It was humiliating, all I wanted to do at that moment was cry. I was afraid that I would get in trouble for pressing the emergency stop button, which caused me to feel guilty.
My emotions did not perk up until I arrived at the next airport on my way home: the John F. Kennedy Airport. This part of the trip went a little smoother, so I began to relax. I was also able to finally call my friends and family again. Love and affection overwhelmed me when I heard my mother on the other end of the phone. I felt joy when I began talking with my best friend about all of my emotions throughout my trek home. This was the longest layover, so I had plenty of time to reflect on my day and my entire trip. My journey in and around Italy filled me with delight, and so did the realization that I was coming home to the people who love me. My situation at that moment in life filled me with utter contentment.
Even though my day was filled with negative emotions, most of them were merely situational. The emotions that lasted were the ones that were inspired by people and memories. Yes, my plan for that day did not go as expected, but I was able to recognize every emotion that I felt and it made me a stronger person.”
Oh, and I got an A J