My pre-teen adventures in France
“What’s this?” he asked, picking up the bag and opening it. We were on a tour bus, parked somewhere in France.
Oh no, I thought, please don’t let that be my bag! Please don’t let that be my bag!
He was 17, from Oklahoma, and on the same tour of France. I thought he was cute. Very cute. I had pretty much zero interaction with him. He was nearly an adult, while I was still a child. He pulled out the the contents of the bag.
I couldn’t find my bag the evening before. My mom suggested that I must’ve left it on the bus. I know I’d picked up everything by my seat. That meant I’d have to search the bus in the morning, before the teenagers boarded. I was too late.
The hottie on the bus was holding my bra and underwear
This cannot be happening. Oh yes, it was happening. My very first bra, purchased in Nice, and a matching pair of underwear were in that bag and were now in the cutie’s hand. Unknown to me, my bag had slid along the bottom of the bus and ended up sitting under the seat he chose that morning.
“That’s mine!” I managed to squeak. Even before I said it, he realized what he was holding and quickly dropped the items back into the bag. He handed it to me quicker than you drop a hot potato. Red faced and mortified, I raced back to my seat near the front of the bus.
I was so excited about the matching set. It seemed like the most french thing I could get and it was adorable. What would you have bought in France? Maybe something more practical? I ended up never wearing the set. I should’ve framed it and hung it on the wall.
That moment took place in France in 1990. Did I mention I was mortified? I remember that moment and I remember the crush. I do not remember his name.*
Lisa was at the other end of the hallway. We’d been wandering around the Swiss hotel with shower caps on our heads. She shoved hers in her pocket as part of our game. The specifics? I can’t remember! We were goofing around and entertaining ourselves as only 11 year olds can.
She pulled the shower cap out of her pocket with a big goofy grin on her face. Then, her smile faded.
“I just had deja vu,” she said. I was vaguely aware of the concept and it scared the crap out of me. The hotel was only around 60 years old then. We spent the rest of the evening wondering if the hotel was haunted and if she’d been there before in a past life.
That and chocolate are my memories of our two days in Switzerland.
“Ne pas fumer,” I said.
My mom is a fluent in French. She had been speaking long enough that French native speakers would ask, “Where in France are you from?”
My father speaks a few phrases in many languages. While French wasn’t in his wheelhouse, knowing the “bad” words in several languages is definitely his strong suit.
“Ne pas pétant,” I said with a belly laugh. We were at a crowded French market. I said it a few more times, mostly in English, before my mother telling me to stop sank in. She had no time to miss my father with me around, huh?
Fart humor is still my wheelhouse. That’s excellent since saying poop, pee, and fart are my children’s favorite jokes. No punchline needed.
The Eiffel Tower was the first thing I looked for upon our arrival in Paris. I knew we had to visit it. I remember the crowds. It was busy. I remember the elevator. I remember the view. It didn’t hold my interest as long as it would now, that’s for sure.
When it was time to return to the ground, we had to wait in line again. When the doors open, those coming up would burst out. Those going down push in. There was room for us in the elevator, we were about to go in and a group of tourists cut the line and filled up the elevator.
We were left waiting for the next arrival.
Our layover on the way home was in Germany. I convinced my mother to go outside of the airport, solely to be able to say that I’ve been to Germany. I almost got run over by a mercedes Taxi cab. Germany, I will visit you and explore just as soon as I can!
As you can see from the few little snippets above, traveling with children is similar to staying home with children. However, you get to see the Eiffel Tower while talking about farts. It’s a reminder to not take life so seriously. Go forth and travel with your family!
What is one of your early travel memories? Did you take any memorable or life changing trips as a youth?
*My friend and I realized that we were on the same trip and didn’t even remember it! She told me the cutie’s name is Dan. So, Dan from Stillwater: Hi!