Doin' that Older Sis Thang

So my brother is going to Europe on his Senior Trip in a few weeks, and I just sent him an email with my tips for enjoying the trip (I went to Europe for the same thing my Senior year). I thought some of you might find them amusing, so may I present:

Tips from the Older Sister, Part I
(There is no Part II yet, but you never know)

*Bring a good book because there will be LONG hours on the bus. Try to find "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and also "The Fountainhead by her. Get some more Brenan Manning books too, those are great. Also maybe Islands in the Stream by Hemingway...actually, anything by Hemingway (first name Ernest) is really good.

*Bring TONS of film. Cannot emphasize this enough. Take at least 15 minutes at each place you visit to take pictures of everything you can, especially things that are random (in other words, not just post-card worthy stuff).

*Bring a blank sketchbook for your journal, along with a glue stick and rubber cement and paste things in it. Like ticket stubs, menus, other cool things that you find (like that funny german toilet paper! Silly Germans!).

*Ice Cream. It is your best friend, especially in Italy (they call it "Gelato"). You will never get as good of ice cream anywhere else. Never. So eat up, my friend.

*Check out the cool paper stores in Innsbruck and the awesome stores in Lucern. Buy more fun little things (not super cheap, but think maybe posters and stuff you can put in an apartmant some day, like fun little lamps or trinkets. Things that will say, "I was in Europe. I am so much cooler than you." :) Try not to spend too much money on one thing, unless it's super special. Buy a cheap Swiss army knife in Switzerland, cuz they're, well, cheap. Plus they'll usually engrage it for free, so you can get something cool, like "Phil" on it.

*Don't buy things at rest stops, they're usually overpriced.

*Never, under any circumstances, buy fast food. Unless you are dying and it is the only thing within 50 miles, DON'T DO IT. Eat at little local places everywhere you go, especially the cheap "mom and pop" type places. Get pizza in Italy, sausage in Germany, and try to stick with Mr. Bryson [his principal] if you want to eat somewhere nicer. Take his advice, he's been there enough times to know what is good in the area.

*Drink lots of water. It will make a big difference.

*Don't start falling in love with one of the girls from another school [they go with two other schools on the trip]. You'll have much more fun if you aren't spending it all with some silly girl (I know you're smarter than that anyways); plus it will never work out (never has, never will). Just hang out with the people who seem the most interesting, but don't be afraid to go it alone now and then either. And hang out with you class now and then, this is your last big chance to bond with any of them.

*Try to avoid (and help others avoid) getting in fights or drama. It doens't matter and will just get in the way of your trip.

*Sleep on the bus, try to write in your journal and be introspective. You'll be so glad you did later on.

*Ride on a gondola! It's totally worth it! Try to get it in a group of four or five people from your class or something, that makes it cheaper. But it is so awesome and wonderful and you'll always remember it.

*Be careful on the dry luge, we've had way too many people scrape half their arm off. Trust me, that's no fun.

*Keep your passport and extra money underneath your clothes at all times. Don't be tempted to leave it hanging out and definitely don't leave it in your backpack. You always want to have that.

*LOOK FOR MUSIC STORES! I cannot emphasize this enough. I wish I had. Don't get in trouble, but if you can buy a cool import cd then by all means do it and hide it in your backpack (shhhhh) [our school isn't down with "rock music"]. But don't try to buy records, it isn't worth it (you can always get the store's internet or email address and order it when you get back if you need to).

*Write down names of cool places in your journal so you'll remember them if you go back. Try to meet people and give them your email address (but not home address) if you want so you can keep talking to them.

*Always keep your watch on and KNOW WHAT TIME IT IS! You do not want to get left anywhere, it will cost you tons of money, be a big hassle, and make me and mom worry. Always go to the meeting place a little bit early, if nothing else it gives you time to soak in the place and write in your journal before you leave.

*Whatever you do, whatever happens, don't let anything ruin your trip! This is the most important thing! If someone is mean to you, go sit somewhere else. If there's a cute girl and she's talking to someone else, get over it. IT IS NOT WORTH IT! I learned the hard way that feeling sorry for yourself because your best friend is hanging out with some guy and you don't have someone hot to chill with is not worth it. DO NOT FEEL SORRY FOR YOURSELF OR GET DOWN DURING THE TRIP! :) There are definitely a few days when I was grumpy that I wish I had just sucked it up, poked myself, said, "You're in EUROPE for gosh sakes! Go enjoy yourself!" You will always be glad for the things you did, not for the things you didn't do. And finally, don't get in trouble with the law and don't try and smuggle knives in. It's not worth getting arrested for! :) Have FUN!!!


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