European Vacation

My mind wanders quite often, but lately it’s been traveling more than usual. Alas, I also have a problem with practicality: will I feel guilty spending the money? Who will be my hot date? Can I take off that much time from work? I’m young, damn it! In the next year I vow to take at least one solo vacation and one trip to France.

You’re thinking I’m cliché, aren’t you? Europe. How romantic! How safe! How boring! It’s not hiking the Himalayas or anything, but going to France will make me happier than any destination I can imagine.

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I started taking French in the fourth grade and immediately fell in love with the concept of Paris. I wanted to walk along the Seine, dine on freshly baked pastries, and lay in the grass beneath the Eiffel Tower.

A year later, I was furious with my father for getting a new job and making the family move to Beijing. What was cool about China? They didn’t speak French. They were far away from all of my friends. They were communists for goodness’ sake. I begged my parents to let me just stay behind and live with my grandparents, but Dad cut me a deal instead.

Move to Beijing. Get a trip to Paris.

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While I’ve been blessed enough to visit thirty-some-odd countries in and around three continents (North America, Asia, and Australia, if you’re curious), I still haven’t made it to Paris. There are a lot of cities I’m excited to visit, but no trip is quite as exciting as the prospect of fulfilling a childhood dream.  I think Dad would’ve  wanted me to go there first, anyway. (Then on to London and Dublin!)

Phobias and Freakouts. (Okay, Escalators.)

Some people are afraid of completely mundane things. One of my best friends has minor panic attacks when bananas come anywhere near her or her belongings.  Some people are afraid of normal things like snakes, failure, the afterlife, fine lines and wrinkles.

I’m afraid of all of those things, plus escalators (but only with the power turned off).

I realize this basically makes me afraid of stairs, but it’s true.  Put me in front of a moving escalator and I’m good to go.  This despite the years of my mother people telling horror stories of little kids getting loose shoe laces caught in the moving parts and being sucked in and scraped and mauled and de-limbed. Kind of like the stories of kids who get stuck in the cleaning filters of pools and hot tubs only to have their intestines suctioned out through their tiny anal cavities. (I watched a lot of 20/20 growing up.)

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What Your Airplane Reading Says About You

Vanity Fair (the magazine) You like to watch television slightly more than you like to read, have disposable income, and secretly want to be a movie star.

Vanity Fair (the novel) You think those Oscar Wilde one liners you see on the internet and painted on Irish pub walls are cool so you thought you’d give real literature a shot.

Us Weekly You already read about the cover story on Perez Hilton but need a fix without the internet connection.

Twilight You’re five years behind your teenage daughter.


E-Reader You’re reading something you’re ashamed of and want strangers to think you’re intellectual.

David Foster Wallace You’re a frustrated writer.

Hunter S. Thompson You’re a drunk frustrated writer.