Having a Ball in Europe

Write about an event or experience that has deeply affected your development as a person.

On a summer vacation with my family last year, my first experience of independence in Italy was of almost being arrested. My parents had decided that they wanted to go to Europe for our annual summer trip. Since I had studied Latin for three years, I told them that I wanted to go to Rome. They agreed, and we packed our bags for a trip to Italy. The only problem was that once we got to Rome, two of those bags were missing. We found one, but the other was nowhere to be seen. While my parents were talking to an official at the desk, who happened to know English, I was sent off into the separate baggage claim room to see if our missing bag had arrived yet. On the way back to meet my parents, I was stopped by a policeman who had a very large dog and a gun. He asked to see my passport, which my parents were carrying. I tried to explain this fact, but he didn't seem to understand. He then asked, in English, "Are you a hash dealer?" It was a surprising question, but I calmly responded, "No." "So you just smoke hash sometimes," was his response. Beginning to get disturbed, I responded again, "No." His third question was more of a statement, "So you just smoke cigarettes." Not being a...

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