Bracelet with Charms from Europe

Silver charm bracelet filled with European memories.

First in a series.

I assembled this charm bracelet during my first trip to Europe with my parents and sisters. It was almost a Grand Tour – several weeks long, starting in NYC and visiting ten countries. In every country, except for Sweden – don’t know how I missed – I bought a charm. And in every country I had an adventure. I was young – celebrated my 19th birthday in Paris – but old enough that my parents let me out alone on occasion. (More fools they!) We were a family that sang and laughed and got into and out of scrapes with good humor. Lots of fun stories, though not the ones I expect my sisters would tell!

The trip began in NYC. I went some days ahead of my family because my college roomate lived in Scarsborough, NY and invited me to stay with her. She had an older brother, so you understand a date was assured. Even more enticing – there were bars where an 18-year-old could have a real drink. My state only only allowed 3.2 beer and I have never liked beer.

So the date. I don’t remember much about the brother. Kinda stuffy. Not much dash. But the drink I remember exactly: a gin and tonic. Having no experience, I asked what he’d recommend. And while I like them now, at the time it seemed bitter and harsh. Good thing he didn’t recommend something sweet and fruity that I would have quickly downed. I embarrassed myself enough for a first outing, or so I felt. Although given the drinking stories I hear, I was a total prude.

So we sit and talk a while. I sip, tiny sips, trying not to grimace. Not feeling much. Where’s the buzz? The loosening of inhibitions? Such a disappointment. Then I had to go to the ladies. Way across the room. Standing up, I realized, yes, I felt something. Dizzy. Maybe wobbly, even. I made my way over, did my thing, came back. He was laughing at me.

“Why? I didn’t stagger or fall.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone walk so carefully.”

The highlight of my Scarsborough sojourn. When my family arrived, I joined them in the city where we visited some landmarks before our flight out (which I’ve written about.) The charm for the beginning of the trip was from the United Nations — the bright blue and orange circle on the left.

Next up, England.

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