Two years ago, I was drinking beer in Nice, France after a perfect day of shopping/photo shooting in Monaco. It was my first real travel experience and it was perfect.
I was on a tour arranged by the university I attended through eftours (which I highly recommend to everyone). We started in Italy, spending most of our time in Rome and Florence with many day trips to smaller areas in the Tuscan region and stopping in Pisa on our way to the French Riviera. The whole trip was life changing. I had just taken a semester of Italian so I could communicate with locals pretty easily. If I made a silly mistake it didn’t matter: Italian men love American girls, and the women just loved me for trying! It was nice to be appreciated for something I wasn’t even that good at. But then again, there’s so much to appreciate in Italy that it must be contagious, flooding into and enveloping all areas of everyone’s lives.
In France, the first day was hard for my friends and me. We’re used to American portions, which are comparable to Italian portions, but monstrous compared to French portions! (I know, you’re all so surprised, right?). I just remember thinking to myself after our first day “No wonder French girls are so skinny! This is like starvation!”.
So when St. Patrick’s Day arrived it was our salvation. The Irish pubs seemed to glitter amongst the little French restaurants, with their celebratory, English-translated advertisements for “St. Paddy’s day ladies night”. One look at the menu and my mouth was watering. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE FRANCE and all it has to offer! But sometimes a girl just needs a cheeseburger to get her through a day of museums and tourist-geared cultural experiences. So I sipped my Guinness and listened to terribly hilarious karaoke in Nice feeling more alive than I had felt, ever (and I don’t even like beer!). This trip made me realize that I was exactly where I always imagined I would be. And for a crazy, confused, lost, stressed out, scared out of my wits twenty-something girl, that was a great feeling.