Her Birthday

Write about a meaningful life experience.


Our ridiculous expedition was scheduled to conclude with a birthday celebration, a climax that my girlfriend anticipated and expected to savor. “Won’t it be wonderful,” she would muse, “that the trip will conclude the day after my birthday in Paris, the most romantic city of all?” Of course I responded that, yes, it would be magical, and that she would indeed have a birthday to remember.

Those who never took the opportunity to backpack across Europe after graduating from college might romanticize this as a carefree voyage consisting of a rich array of museums, landmarks, and whimsical train-hopping between cuisines and languages. The reality proved far less glamorous.

The events leading up to Lizzie’s birthday were surely memorable: a mugging in Barcelona, a credit card cancelled due to shady hostels in Italy, and a myriad of unforeseen transportation costs meant that we were completely out of money by the time we arrived in Paris five days before her birthday. Fortunately, Paris was the one place that we could stay for free because of a friend of my father’s. Unfortunately, though, we learned that it would cost us another thirty euros each -- despite our EuroRail passes -- to travel to Madrid for our departing flight. Funds...

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