I’ve never really been a bucket list-type person.
It’s not that I never wanted to do things, it was just that they weren’t specific enough to place on a list. I mean, is Visit every country ever one thing or 285ish? If a visit to Paris at 14 only grew my desire to go there, can it really be crossed off?
It took me a while before I started identifying specific things I wanted to do in specific places, but I’ve been slowly collecting those things for about a year, maybe more. And since Bailey‘s prompt today calls for us to list ten of those things, I thought I would publicly share some of my international intent for the first time.
one • go on a cruise in alaska or scandinavia
I’ve never been on a cruise anywhere else and if I ever do it I want to see fjords and the Arctic. Yes, my favorite season is summer, but I also love the pictures I’ve seen of glaciers and winter scenery in AK and northern Europe.
two • visit pearl harbor
One of my favorite historical periods to study is World War II. I can’t pass up seeing with my own eyes the very setting of the event that finally brought the US into the war.
three • go to the wizarding world of harry potter
Do I even have to explain this?
Also, it’d be nice to knock Florida off the list of states I have yet to visit. This is nigh unto an act of unbelief for a native Michigander.
four • visit museo del prado in madrid
Okay, technically I’ve already done this. But does it really count if you walked in half an hour before closing?
I thought not. I couldn’t even tell you the maybe five things I got to see before we turned around and walked right out, so clearly this needs to stay.
five • learn french, i.e. become conversational
Je peux dire seulement,
« Je suis un crayon »
« J’ai fromage dans mon pantalon »
« Je voudrais un hamburger »
« Où sont les toilettes ? »
et un peu plus.
I only had to consult Google Translate on that twice. Who said what you learned in middle school couldn’t serve you well? A translation of the above is at the bottom of this post, but don’t judge me harshly when you read the first two phrases, y’all. I was 13 when I started taking French. You put weird sentences together when you’re 13, regardless of what language it’s in, but especially when you’re trying to reinforce the sentence structure of one you’re learning.
Capisce? Capisco. Bene. <– That’s Italian and we’ve exhausted my speaking ability with those three words. Assuming I learned even those three properly.
six • read the harry potter and chronicles of narnia series in spanish
I’m hoping to have at least started one of these by the end of September! Reading in a foreign language, once you’re conversational, is a good way to branch out on vocabulary and reinforce sentence structure, especially when you don’t have someone to speak with on a regular basis.
Or when you and your mother have spoken English only for the past twenty years. I speak for a friend on that. Ahem.
seven • visit all fifty states
This has been a wish of mine ever since I was young. I’m pretty well-traveled internationally, especially for someone of my age, but I’m not such domestically. My parents didn’t take vacations in the traditional sense, even though they both have been in education for over twenty years and always shared breaks with us. Instead, we turned my mom’s frequent seminars into family trips (this is how we spent a week in PA in the early 00s and how we ended up in NC & VA for a long weekend last summer). More frequently, though, we visited family abroad or traveled when they came to visit us (hello, Honduras, Chicago, Canada, and Mexico).
I did get to cross Kentucky off my list after my family and I went there this past weekend. We stopped at Panera on the way to IN (which I do not count; Panera is Panera even if the bakery item was half off instead of only 99¢) and we stopped at Churchill Downs on the way back home (which I absolutely count!).
PS. How do you decide what counts as having visited a state? My definition is you’ve visited someplace in the state that’s unique to the culture. Panera doesn’t count because it’s ubiquitous to the nation; Churchill Downs counts because only one track hosts only one Kentucky Derby. My dad tried to count a state once because he stopped there to fill up on gas while driving down to FL. Nice try, Dad. (He also thinks I should count England and Scotland as separate countries for our international tally. I think an official Act of Union plus over three hundred years of history is enough evidence to suggest they comprise ONE country under the banner of Great Britain. I count legal entities, not cultural ones.)
eight • visit providence, ri
I applied for admission to one Brown University as a senior in high school and was not accepted.
I am mostly (and by mostly I mean 100%) bitter about this because Emma Watson announced her entrance into the school the same semester I would have started there. I COULD HAVE BEEN ROOMMATES WITH HERMIONE HERSELF.
Anyway, I’ve been fascinated with Providence ever since and if I get back to New England only once in my life, I’m spending all of that time here. Also I read in a recent article that RISD has a free art museum. I like free. I’m learning to like art. I can’t lose for winning here, y’all.
Well, except for admission for Brown. But who’s crying over spilt milk?
nine • watch michigan play texas in college football, & not on television
Last year I heard that the University of Michigan had signed a contract with the University of Texas to play two games. They’re a few years out yet, but I made Chelsea put them on her calendar with me anyway. I don’t care if either or both of us have husbands alone or husbands with kids to bring along: I will not miss the opportunity to watch the maize and blue face off with the burnt orange, whether it’s in AAMI or ATX.
ten • try snails, in france
Because when you’re away from home at 14 without your parents, you get wary of trying something with a shell when what you’re allergic to are shellfish. It didn’t make sense to me even when I explained it my host family, but there you have why I passed it up.
Yes, I realize I know no one who has tried snails and liked them, but when (back) in Rome, you know?
Or when in France. It’s all the same, really. Or at least Julius Caesar thought it should be.
I can only say, “I am a pencil” and “I have cheese in my pants” and “I’d like a hamburger” and “Where’s the bathroom?” and a little more.
The Italian translates to: Understand? I understand. Good.