Students, faculty turn winter breaks into exotic adventures

Story by Ashleigh Heaton, Editor-in-Chief
Video by Hayley Struck, KCBY Broadcast

For most, the words “winter break” usually mean snowfall, hot chocolate and warm fireplaces; however, for a few Coppell High School students and faculty, winter break meant kangaroos, the Taj Mahal and palm trees as they traveled throughout the world in search of relaxation and fun.

Senior Amanda Olson said “g’day” to Australia over the break, as part of a family tradition in which the graduating senior selects a part of the world to visit; her older sister chose to see Paris and London when she graduated in 2008, and she has two younger sisters who will get to decide on a new destination when they graduate in the upcoming years.

“I’m not sure exactly why I picked Australia,” Olson said. “I think a lot of it had to do with the weather and the fact that it’s not the normal vacation spot.”

While ‘down under’, Olson and her family visited the Sydney Opera House, climbed across the Sydney Harbor Bridge and petted koala bears; however, not everything went as planned. After visiting Sydney, the Olsons flew to Cairns not knowing they would be visiting during the area’s worst rain and flooding in 50 years.

“We got word that it would be flooding, and we booked a plane back to Sydney as soon as possible,” Olson said. “Not many people can say they’ve been in a cyclone on Christmas.”

Senior Meera Patel experienced weather issues when she traveled to India to visit family and got stuck in London for four days due to snow.

“I wasn’t expecting going to London, but it was kind of a pleasant surprise,” Patel said.

When she was in India, Patel rode elephants and surrounded herself with her cultural roots, visiting temples and eating traditional Hindi food. The cultural difference between India and America made for a new holiday experience.

“It [Christmas] was different because it’s not as big of a deal in India; Christmas isn’t that big of a deal,” Patel said. “They did still celebrate it, but it wasn’t like as big as it was over here. They had fireworks and stuff but that was it.”

English teacher Lori Yarbrough sought relaxation on a cruise with her husband to the Bahamas and Gran Turk Islands the week before Christmas, and got it – for the most part.

“It seems like everyone had that same plan [to go on a cruise],” Yarbrough said. “Because our cruise ship had 6,000 people on it, it was a completely booked cruise. So it was really, really crowded.”

However, the chance to get away gave Yarbrough and her husband the opportunity to catch up on sleep they have lost since the birth of their 2-year-old daughter, despite the large crowds.

“We took an opportunity to sleep, sleep, sleep,” Yarbrough said. “We slept everyday and we slept until about 10 or 11 o’clock, and we haven’t done that in three or four years, so I was very excited about that.”

Yarbrough and her husband returned after a week, refreshed and just in time to celebrate the holidays with their daughter.

Even though the break has ended, the memories last forever. Wherever the break took them, these three Coppellians were able to enjoy their break on their own terms.