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Student voices: Kassie is thankful for what she's got

My last vacation was in 2004 when I was a measly little second grader. I went to Orlando, Fla., where I enjoyed my time at Disney World.

This year, my parents have treated me to another vacation. This time, to Las Vegas.

Whenever I told people where I was going, they always wondered, “why Vegas?” Of course, everyone probably thinks of The Hangover (one of my favorite movies) when they think of Vegas: gambling, drinking, people getting married and, of course, lights everywhere. Although there were plenty of people walking around doing all of that, I spent my time doing things I really enjoyed.

The lights were fantastic, and the activity went nonstop. No matter what time of the day it was, almost all the stores were open. Even the coffee places were open past midnight.

Our hotel connected to Fremont Street, which is home to the world’s largest video screen. With casinos, restaurants and stores surrounding the street, it’s a popular destination. Along with all of that, there are street performers everywhere. People dressed up, people acting as statues or people just flat out asking for money.

I know we have homeless people back home in Minnesota, but not nearly as many as what I saw in Vegas. We had to make a detour because we missed our exit and we ended up passing a line of homeless people against a fence. Over 50 of them. Another night driving through the strip I saw a man getting his night’s sleep on the sidewalk.

So here I was staying in a luxury hotel and paying to be here. I had a bed, a warm room and plenty of food. I never realized how blessed I really am until I came here. Plus, this is just Vegas. I can’t imagine visiting countries where everyone is living in poverty. Where every day is a struggle to get the basic necessities of life. While here in America we eat until we are as full as a tick then go lay on our leather couch in our heated house.

There are things I would like and so would many other people. Maybe a new phone, nicer clothes or a new television. Well, we are incredibly blessed to have those things as it is. I never realized it until I got a taste of their life. We have life extremely easy compared to other people. Some people may never realize it, but for me, I know that I should be very grateful for how I live my life now and for what I own.