As a child, my mother and I always dreamed about visiting Europe together, specifically Paris. We dreamed of sitting at a café, sipping coffee, while overlooking the Eiffel Tower. A few months ago, I completed our dream, except she wasn’t there. My parents gifted me with a trip to Europe for my birthday, and they decided to let me go by myself, since I had just turned fifteen and in Hispanic culture that signifies the transition into womanhood. So, they thought it was time to take my first solo adventure. On my trip to Europe, I visited places such as London, Normandy, and St. Malo, but the most impactful place was Paris. I know it sounds so typical and basic because many people dream of visiting Paris, but it meant a lot to me, considering that it wasn’t just my dream but also my mother’s. I felt that I was fulfilling our dream, for the both of us.
The first time I caught a glimpse of the Eiffel Tower was when I was on a bus, traveling from St. Malo to Paris. You could identify the tower from far away and my heart jumped with excitement as I neared the city. The bus stopped at the hotel I was staying at, in Gennevilliers, about 6 miles away from central Paris. I took the metro with my tour group, to go into the central part of the city. Right above the metro station, at our destination, was an awe-inspiring view of the Eiffel Tower. It was the first sight coming up the steps from the station. The moment I had been waiting for, for years was finally here, completely different than I imagined it, but it occurred, nonetheless. I was paralyzed from seeing the actual Eiffel Tower standing in front of me. The crisp, clear, blue sky and Eden-green trees made it seem as if it were a painting. It wasn’t just a picture. It was real.
My tour group allowed us to venture off on our own. We could walk around, take pictures, grab a bite to eat, or just do what most people go to the City of Fashion for- shop! After taking what seemed like a million pictures, I was starving and went to a restaurant near the tower, with a dear friend of mine. I tried escargots for the first time and had some soupe à l’oignon. The first taste of soupe à l’oignon resulted in my taste buds going wild. I savored the creamy and oniony taste that I simply couldn’t get enough of. For dessert, we had some Nutella crêpes, very different than the ones I’ve had in America. Everything I had in France was well proportioned and full of flavors I never thought were possible.
Besides all the fun I had, it was upsetting to be without my parents, precisely my mother. That’s when I realized that I’m growing up and I won’t always have them with me. There’s so much of the world to explore and I can’t be hiding under their wings forever. I realized I had been sitting in my own little comfort bubble and if it weren’t for my parents, that gave me the push to go across the Atlantic Ocean, I probably would’ve never done it, at least not by myself. It was my first trip without them. It’s quite sad that they’re not always going to be there at my greatest moments or living my dreams with me, but they’ll always support me and have my back. At the end of the day, that’s what matters.
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