Every week, I challenge myself to a Monday Dare. You can click on the link if you’d like to see the complete list of Monday Dares or learn more about its origin.
This week: Get outta here
As a kid, I wanted to lead the life of the rich, but not the Richie Rich kind of wealth. A robot maid and an amusement park in the backyard would have helped my popularity at school, but as the daughter of a mechanic and a stay-at-home mom, I knew I had to Keep It Real and bring it down a notch. I decided my two Rich Indicators would be a Marithe+Francoise Girbaud shirt and a trip to Europe.
Surprisingly, the first goal turned out to be easy. During after-school pickup one day, I pointed to a few kids who were already styling in Girbaud gear, and BAM, just a week later, I was the proud owner of not one, but TWO Girbaud items- a sweatshirt and a t-shirt. Turns out, both were conterfeits that my mom had picked up at a swap meet, but I still wore them around. Every day. Proudly.
When I broached the subject of Europe at the dinner table, my parents didn’t say “no” immediately. I took this as a promising sign. Instead, they insisted that I get specific about which country I wanted to visit. I picked Italy because my teacher, Mrs. Moulton, made such a big to-do about it being shaped like a boot. Her hype twisted my tiny little brain into believing that Italy was THE place to go.
For weeks, I was a one-person Italian Vacation Campaign. I sent away for free brochures and looked up facts about the country in the Britannica-wannabe encyclopedia from Sam’s Club that I got as a gift one Christmas.
I refused to eat Domino’s pizza or canned SpaghettiO’s because I didn’t want to dirty my palate with imitations when I knew the real thing was awaiting me.
After two months of looking through brochures that I had painstakingly highlighted and listening to me recite the Italian national anthem, Il Canto degli Italiani, my parents shattered my dream. “It wasn’t in the budget this year,” they said, but they wanted to make it up to me by going to a place that was almost as good as the real thing.
I closed my eyes during the car ride because I wanted the experience of Almost Italy to hit me all at once. Twenty minutes later, I heard the engine shut off, and my mother gingerly guided me out of the car.
We were in front of an Olive Garden.
Maybe this is where I’m supposed to tell you that it was a big disappointment and that I filed for legal emancipation soon afterwards. Just the opposite. That place was fucking magical. I had never been to Olive Garden before, and when they brought out the chilled plates for the salad, I nearly died. It was the gold standard for good living for the rest of my pre-adult years. I even celebrated my Sweet Sixteenth birthday at OG with my family.
Cal is now the same age I was when I first experienced high living, and I want to pass it on. Unfortunately, I spoiled her, and she’s already familiar with the unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks.
So I’ve decided to take her to Europe for several weeks instead. We leave this week for multiple stops in Germany and then Paris. Cal has diligently been looking up practical German phrases and working her French Rosetta Stone like a boss. I only know two German words- Volkswagen and Wienerschnitzel. The only thing I know how to say in French is “Why is the butter so expensive?” If Cal and I get separated, I’m fucked.
I would be grateful for your guidance. If you have any tips on how to travel smart (including jet lag tips, packing tips, and any other general travel tips), or places around Frankfurt and Paris that are a must-see, please DO share.
GIVEAWAY TIME, Y’ALL
When Dallas of Miro Notebooks first reached out to me, I was all “No thanks, thug, I don’t really do giveaways.” But Dallas sent a handsomely generous package my way, no strings attached. And I fell in love. The notebooks are not only functional, but also beautiful and sleek. And since I can’t keep good shit like this all to myself, I want you to have them. (P.S. The Journal Series is so popular, they are currently sold out. And they are part of the giveaway!)