The first taste. Canada.

Growing up my family enjoyed a variety of leisurely activities which included talking during movies, violence inducing card games like Spoons, trips to the lake, and picking rocks out of our fields. Sexy right? Travel was something that as a family of 5, was more involved a process than we had the time or means to deal with. We would however, go away for the weekend to go camping; something I particularly hated. Driving 3 hours just the sleep in some puddle filled tent in woods that look exactly like your backyard does not inspire much enthusiasm from a pre-teen girl obsessed with things like the Spice Girls and getting as many ear piercings as would fit her tiny pre-teen ears. Even to this day my loath of camping has been a real issue... now because of dating boys. Why can't I just have a guy who enjoys a good flannel and can grow a beard without him constantly wanting me to hike up some mountain to spelunk the wilderness and not take showers! Gawd!

It wasn't until Jr. High that at last, we had decided to take a trip to a far away exotic land outside of Washington state and the USA. I was very excited. Would I need my passport? Should I try and adapt to a time difference? Learn some "getting around" terms in a foreign tongue? No, none of those preparations would be necessary, seeing as we would be off to the anything but exotic land of Canada.

Canada, like a Diet USA. A nation filled with slightly more polite people who looked and talked exactly like us... but, it was a start in my international travel experience. We trecked all around Victoria, British Columbia in our mini van, discovering what all this foreign land held, marveling at McDonalds with fancy chandeliers and slightly different menus, and then, made the best discovery of the whole trip...the exchange rate.

This whole concept was new to me. Why would my American dollars, be magically worth more in Canada? I felt like I was getting away with something scandalous as I loaded my arms with bedazzled tube tops and flare jeans to be bought with my buff and sexy money from my homeland. I left that Canadian mall feeling like a godess and wondered what other spoils and discoveries this international land held for me.

As it turned out, there wasn't much after that...some gardens, some butterfly exhibits, and a couple of nights in a Ramada Inn. I did however (now try and contain yourselves people) during the trip, have an interaction with an actual French-Canadian lady with a legitimate French accent. It doesn't matter that it was in a Canadian Walmart though, it was still exciting to me and I'm sure contributed to my appetite for further international discovery. My money worth more AND a real foreigner!? I mean what tube tops where out there in the world just waiting for me to scoop them up and wear them uncomfortably as they slowly inch down every 10 seconds?! ...sigh. The answer was 196 countries, with I'm sure all manor of tube tops, and dare I even say also halter tops waiting for me to come find them, buy them, and wear them in the jungle, desert, mountain, snow, field, city, ocean that behooved me to trek upon...as long as I didn't have to do any camping there. This was my here I come world moment. Yah, I know right? Canada!?

The fam in Canada. Me (far left), too cool to smile and the body posture to tell all the world, "I'm a teenager & you're ruining my liiiifuh!"

The fam in Canada. Me (far left), too cool to smile and the body posture to tell all the world, "I'm a teenager & you're ruining my liiiifuh!"

-Aubrey Mayne