European Vacation: the Prequel
It’s all Shakepeare’s fault. Before stumbling through my first adolescent crush, sloppy kiss or aching heartbreak, I had to read his sonnets in high school. And then all hell broke loose.
I know I wasn’t considered textbook advanced for my age. A transfer into my sophomore year at Waterford Kettering from Defiance High School, after doing a two-year stint in Ohio with my mom and brother, got me all sorts of screwed up. I remember registering for classes, sitting next to my mom, struggling to convince a counselor who was clearly not in the business of doing what was in the best interest of the student that I could confidently “handle” their tenth grade advanced English class. For whatever reason, despite solid freshman transcripts from ninth grade, this woman really didn’t want to give me a chance. I couldn’t understand why I was being disregarded so casually. It pissed me off, and forced me to pick that as one of my first battles. I defiantly refused to accept anything less. I sat there and argued my case until she broke. I got into the class.
Language arts/English spoke to me. Math always seemed unnecessarily complicated. I didn’t care about x. It’s not even a number. Science and I never bonded. There were too many wars to keep track of in history. I couldn’t draw, so art was out. I was self-conscious and not one of the cool kids, which was woe-is-me self-inflicted, so I opposed sports because I needed to have something to rally against. And, I quit marching band because the music bored me. So, I read literature and tried to write.
At fifteen, we’re all impressionable. Getting absorbed in prose, impressing a girl with a poem that rhymed and scribbling my faux angst into a lyrics journal was comforting. It wasn’t black and white like everything else I was required to learn. There wasn’t always one right answer. There was room for subjective interpretation. I could put my heart into it and defend it.
Reading uncovered a world beyond Waterford, MI. Writing was supposed to be my plane ticket out. I was infatuated, jealous was probably more like it, by an author or narrator’s ability to take me somewhere new. Consumed by their ability to frame experiences of love, adventure, observations and reflection, I wanted to tell my stories, too. And, I wanted to go get lost somewhere in Europe, hoping to be inspired just the same. But, I stalled and missed my plane - every year after that for the next twenty.
Continue reading to find out what it took to get to Dublin...
Collage creative designed by Marci Waldrup