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  • I drug my feet to the car dreading the inevitable day ahead that I was certain was filled with more winery tours. My face pouted as we pulled out of our B&B’s driveway. I wanted to see castles and the Eiffel Tower, but my parents had another agenda. With my journal and gel pens in hand, I settled into the backseat awaiting the journey that was to come. I sketched the tree’s that passed my window as we drove through France. Everything seemed to look the same to me. I began to dose off and spent the remainder of the time asleep, hoping that it would be over when I woke up. To my distaste, it was not. As the car pulled into a gas station, we lurched to a complete stop waking me from my slumber. My dad had rented a manual car and was still getting used to shifting gears. I was beginning to dose off again when I heard my dad starting to panic. He began banging the machine with his fist trying to get it to turn off.

    As I smashed my face into the glass window to try and see what was going on, a look of panic washed over his face. He was outside the car motioning to my mom about the gas and diesel sign. This was a look I had never seen from him before. He fumbled with the gas pump then stared into the window at me looking defeated. My dad motioned for me to follow as I excitedly bounded out of the car to his side. As I looked up into his brown eyes, he hugged me reassuring me everything was going to be alright. I followed him into the convenience store like a puppy dog where he tried to explain to the man what exactly had happened. My dad confidently tried to rattle off some of his high school French to the attendant, who in return stared back at him with a blank face. Trying to break the language barrier, my dad made a series of hand waves and motions in an attempt to get his point across. “I need a hose,” he exclaimed as he cupped his hands and made a suction noise to try and get the man to understand what he was saying. I covered my mouth trying to hold back my giggles. The man looked back at him with an amused expression and realized what had happened. He had put gasoline into a diesel car. The man burst out laughing. Then so did we.

    We had no choice but to call a tow truck. My dad sheepishly explained the car situation to my mom. She rolled her eyes as she mumbled “Oh Randy” in a frustrated voice. As they argued I overheard them say how we were not going to make it to Paris today. Finally knowing our road trips final destination made my stomach drop in disappointment. My dreams of seeing the Eiffel Tower slowly faded away. The day had officially turned from bad to worse. We waited for what felt like a lifetime for the tow truck. After a couple hours, the tow truck finally arrived. The man teased my dad for his mistake as he hooked the car up to his truck. My dad climbed into the car with an ashamed expression. As the truck putted through the countryside, my mood began to brighten. The driver began pointing out castles and ruins of ancient buildings. Some towered over the trees while others hid on the mountainside. I looked in awe out the window finally noticing the beauty of the country for the first time. Horses and cows scattered the fields as the grazed freely. The shrubbery that covered the countryside burst with life in different shades of green. Purple lavender fields made the air smell fresh and put me to sleep. The truck driver continued down a dirt road to his family’s house where his garage was located. We stayed there for half of the day as the car was getting fixed. As a way to pass the time, my dad taught me how to play baseball. He even showed the mechanics children. I was awful and missed almost every single ball, but he still cheered me on and smiled. The mechanic and his wife invited us over to dinner where we ate an authentic French meal. We dined on a roasted chicken crepe meal. It was delicious. The mechanic’s children were all around my age and were drinking wine with dinner, so I had wine with dinner. I felt like a grown up and enjoyed the company of the other kids even though we could not talk to each other. After dinner, our car was finally ready. We thanked the mechanic and drove back to our hotel.

    As we drove back I realized that even though the day may have not gone as planned, I was exposed to amazing experiences I would have never had. I viewed the trip in a different light after that and from that moment on I was hooked on traveling. I went on to travel to ten more countries with my parents, and when I was twenty I finally made it to Paris.
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