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Perspective: What I learned on my summer vacation...

Elsa Glover

Last month I stood atop the Eiffel Tower. I could’ve climbed the 1665 steps up, but the elevator seemed a better option after having traveled from DeKalb that day. Looking out over Paris, I waited to be charmed, to have an epiphany, to gain some insight. This Tower, a monument, should inspire me. But my mind was frustratingly quiet.

Sipping champagne, I recognized famous landmarks dotting the Parisian landscape, touched some of the 2.5 million rivets that hold the structure together, and waited to feel something. The Tower plays important roles in World War I and II. It is the iconic symbol of Paris and of French ingenuity. All these facts can impress and humble a person as they stand atop the structure.

The Eiffel Tower is important in its own right. Yet I could only soak in the moment.

Finally, descending, I was surprised that my feeling came to -- gratitude that I was with family and friends, exploring and sharing.

To gather in a distant place and commit to sharing that exploration shows a dedication to each other -- a rare treat in our disconnected, fast-paced lives. We left our daily lives behind for time to explore. We were together, laughing, talking, walking, learning. We questioned each other, disagreed, and considered different ideas, connecting on a human level.

Monuments like the Eiffel Tower captivate many. But for me, it was the people with whom I explored that made the difference.

I’m Elsa Glover and that’s my perspective.

Elsa Glover is a national board-certified teacher who has taught in Kaneland schools for the last 20 some years.