Tour De France This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

It was going to be torture, absolute torture. I was going to Paris … without Mom.

That might not sound so horrible to some, but first, you need to understand Dad. He’s a teacher, you see. A geography teacher. He’s always talking about how everything relates to geography, always talking about learning. He says, “That’s why I teach, and you learn.” And he teaches a lot. Culture this, culture that. Paris this, Paris that. He said that I would actually have to speak French. And get this: He made me read an entire book – The Da Vinci Code – before we left, to supposedly “broaden my horizons.”

As if.

See, Dad won two tickets to go to either Paris or London. He picked Paris, deciding to open my eyes to the world, to “culture.” So there I was on the plane. I had tuned Dad out completely, listening to my iPod. I figured that if nothing else, at least I could have some decent music to block out his lectures, which I knew he would give me every other minute for this entire week. As we took off, I was already dreading landing in eight hours.

Then we touched down.

I stepped off the plane, into the airport. It was like any other plane trip. I was tired, I was sore, I didn’t want to sit anymore, and I had decided my life was over. We took a taxi to our hotel, and I looked around. Paris was nothing special. It was a lot like Toronto but with older buildings. So a city’s a city, right? We grabbed a bite to eat at a small coffee shop, then I decided to go to bed. Let me face the horror the next day.

When I awoke with a sore neck and back, I remembered where I was. That put me in a really bad mood. Dad woke up full of joy and good cheer, which put me in an even worse mood. I’m sure you can imagine my ecstasy when he informed me we were going on a walking tour.

So I dragged myself from between the sheets of my uncomfortable bed and got ready. We trudged down la rue. We passed a lot of old buildings, and as was expected, Dad knew about all of them and had a five-minute commentary for each.

We went to the church of Saint-Sulpice that was in The Da Vinci Code. Now, that was an okay book; I got into it by the end. And seeing the setting was kind of cool, especially because it made the book even more believable. And all right, the Louvre Museum was huge. You could definitely easily get lost there. Dad tracked down the “Mona Lisa,” and we looked at it for a while. I didn’t see what the big deal was. She was awfully small, and didn’t even have eyebrows. I respect Da Vinci and all, but seriously, what was the dude thinking?

We spent a good half day in the Louvre. Then we went up the Eiffel Tower, which was cool. You can see all of Paris from the top. But still … Dad kept trying to teach me things.

As the day progressed, we crossed the Seine River, walked past Notre Dame Cathedral, and then my stomach started complaining it was hungry. We kept walking past all these stands selling crêpes. We walked down to the Latin Quarter. Man, did that ever smell good. There were all kinds of food – Greek, Chinese, Japanese, French, English, Indian, Thai – you could get anything. We decided on Greek, and it definitely satisfied my cravings. Then I was overwhelmed by this really, really weird feeling. I had another craving … for knowledge. I know, like, how weird is that?

So I started asking questions. Just a few, every once in a while. Dad answered them all without batting an eye. If he noticed a change in my attitude, he didn’t show it. But okay, okay, he was right. So I expanded my world, broadened my horizons. The sight of the ancient, brownish buildings, the ornate stone carvings on the walls, even the experience of using the Metro … it was kind of cool. And so, I enjoyed the rest of the trip.

And before I knew it, it was over.

We were about to board the plane to go home, and all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I finally realized Dad was trying to do me some good, that he was right after all. So I said, “Dad … thanks.”

He replied, “That’s why I teach, and you learn.”

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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cute catty said...
Oct. 16, 2008 at 6:54 pm
its was very page turning x i just want to read more !
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