This past summer, the summer of 2008, I went to Paris and London with my grandparents. My father warned me numerous times before leaving that this wasn’t going to be the same kind of trip that I am used to. My grandma, who fell down the stairs four years ago, has trouble walking. My grandpa has a degenerative eye disease that has basically destroyed his ability to read. But no matter what my dad said to me, I was eager to go and see the world. Little did I know that I would become a tour guide, a navigator, a menu reader, a translator, and taxi getter. It was definitely not the kind of vacation I was used to.
But despite the stress and the anxiety of planning a trip for a grandmother who could barely walk the streets and a grandfather who couldn’t see the signs or read the menus, I still got to see the world. I got to see “Phantom of the Opera”, the stonehenge, the tower of london with the crown jewels, ride the eye, and learn the dense history of a city that is only a square mile wide. Then I got to ride the Eurostar to Paris where I went to the second story of the Eiffel Tower, saw Notre Dame and the Mona Lisa, walked the Champs Elysee, and sailed on the River Seine at night to see the city of lights at its finest hour.
And beyond seeing the world, or at least a small part of it, I got something else out of the trip. i got a new sense of confidence and independence. I navigated myself, and two other people, around a foreign city with a map from the hotel lobby. I planned, day by day, the schedule of events for the three of us to follow. I chose restaurants, and spoke to cab drivers, and I used my three years of high school French to get us through a week of adventures in Paris. If I can do that, I can do anything.
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