Watching another fifteen-year-old emerge from Santo Domingo Church as a woman with her little sister by her side dreaming of her day, I can remember my sixteenth birthday. I celebrated sixteen in London while on a thirty-eight day tour with the People to People program. We visited Russia, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, West Germany, Scotland, England, and Washington DC.

I didn’t drive until I was twenty-one. I didn’t even begin to learn until I was eighteen, so sixteen wasn’t the same rite of passage many people in the US experience. It was something equally impressive though.

At the same time, I can’t remember fifteen at all. I certainly can’t recall feeling as if I’d become a woman. (Sometimes I still don’t feel adult yet.)

Having a birthday in the summer is great. Birthdays in general are among my favorite holidays. I especially liked going to the public pool, something we’d do a couple of times a week in the summer anyway and having Thrifty ice cream. Once mom brought a bowl from home and had them fill it with a scoop of every flavor.

Instead of an elaborate celebration (which is, of course, perfect for some people), my parents planted the seed of travel and the value of celebrating what I have.




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