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"That’s Why I Teach, And You Learn"

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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. Always talking about how everything relates to geography. Always talking about learning. He always 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 have to actually speak French. And get this. He made me read an entire book—the DaVinci 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, and decided to open my eyes to the world. To “culture”. So there I was on the plane. I just 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 Dad’s lectures, which I knew he would give me every other minute for a 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 what? A city’s a city, right? We got to the hotel and grabbed a bite to eat from a little coffee shop, then, because I was extremely tired, I decided that I would go to bed. Let me face the horror tomorrow.


The next morning I woke up with a sore back and a sore neck, and 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 of Paris.


So I dragged myself out from between the thin sheets on my hard, uncomfortable bed, and got ready to go. We started from our hotel, and I trudged down la rue behind Dad. We passed a lot of old buildings, and, as was expected, Dad knew about them all and had a five-minute commentary on each of them. We went to the church of Saint-Sulpice, a church that was in the DaVinci Code. Now, that was an okay book, I got into it by the end. And seeing the setting of it was kind of cool. Especially because it makes the book kind of believable. And all right, the Louvre Museum was huge. You could definitely get lost in it easily. Dad tracked down the Mona Lisa, and we looked at it for a while. I don’t see what the big deal is. She’s awfully small, and she doesn’t even have eyebrows. I respect DaVinci and all, but seriously, what was the dude thinking?


We spent a good half a 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 over the Seine River, walked right past Notre Dame, and then my stomach started complaining that it was hungry. We kept walking by these little crêperies—stands selling crêpes—right on the side of the street. We walked down to the Latin Quarter. Man, did that ever smell good. There were all kinds of food…Greek food, Chinese food, Japanese, French, English, Indian, Thai…you could get anything. We decided on Greek, and it definitely satisfied my craving for food. Then I was overwhelmed by this really, really weird feeling. I had another craving…but…for…knowledge. I know, like, how weird is that?


So I started asking questions. Just a few, every once and 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. It really opened my eyes. The sights 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 home, and all of a sudden, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I finally realized that Dad was trying to do me some good, and that he was right after all. So I said,

“Dad…thanks.”

To which he replied,

“That’s why I teach, and you learn.”





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