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Who I Is.

July 13, 2010

{That’s me on the left, with my hike-school best friend, Anna} Ahh, 16-year-old Lizzie, there’s so much to tell you about the world.

I was amused by the lovely Becca’s (A Los Angeles Love) comment on yesterday’s post. I am studying abroad for three weeks in Russia, Germany & Austria, leaving Friday, and I was asking for tips. She recommended (great suggestion) to go outside of your comfort zone and leave the beaten path a few times. I, absolutely, recommend this to everyone.

However, for me, my family and friends have made phone calls with a singular purpose lately: To go back in my shell a bit for the trip.

I realized I haven’t really told you much about me aside from the wedding planning and how Isaiah and I met, so here are two stories that reveal a whole lot about who I am, I think.

“I was born a baby,” to quote Kicking and Screaming.

My dad wanted to name me Elizabeth, because, “It’s the most beautiful name in the world,” he thought. My mom said she agreed, and would name me Elizabeth if, and only if, I never went by “Lizzie,” because she hated it so. She told me that story when I was in the first grade. The next day I went to school and demanded to be called “Lizzie” from then on. Teachers used to call the house (Because of my obvious rebelliousness), “This call is about Lizzie,” and my mom would go, “Her name. Is. Elizabeth.”

Of course I can’t find it now. When I was in the 7th, I did one of many online quizzes about what your name means. The most reliable of sources, I’m sure. Anyways, it fit me pretty accurately. It boiled down to “Lizzie” means mischief and “Elizabeth” means responsibility. It also recommended my name’s slogan, “If you like a lot of Lizzie on your biscuit, join our club.” I liked it.

End story one.

Commence story two.

I was 16. My mom and dad divorced when I was 12, but the problems didn’t really cease until around this time. She wanted to celebrate, it was my 16th birthday, perfect timing. She took me Europe for 2 weeks. We went to England, France and Italy. I have an unhealthy amount of stories from this trip, all results from my outgoing-ness. One kind of sums up everything though. It’s a scary story. Or it was a scary experience.

I wasn’t sure whether or not you could drink at 16 in Italy, but I will say, I had no problems getting served. There were stories on girls being kidnapped from Cancun and Greece on the news all the time leading up to the trip. While in Venice, my mom (who has always wished I were more careful, but gives me tips on “if you’re going to be reckless, please make sure:”) said, “I know you will be adventurous…promise me you’ll get in a CAR with someone, and never a boat.” Venice is a small island, a car couldn’t take me anywhere at any speed I couldn’t handle, but a boat. I would never be seen again in a boat, was the general idea.

My mom fell asleep early and often on the trip. It was only 10pm and I was itching for some trouble. I went downstairs to talk to the concierge, Simon, and asked him where a girl like me could get into some trouble in Venice. I know, so dramatic. Weren’t we all then?

A minute later, we hopped into his car and headed to the discotheque. Being, oh-so-smooth, I thought I ordered Bailey’s on ice for a relaxing night with a “grown-up” (I thought) drink. Instead, I ordered Bacardi on ice, and wound up sipping on a disgusting glass of watered-down-straight-rum.

We danced. We walked along the beach. We danced. Simon was gone. I had made a group of friends there, in their 20’s, amused by my American-ness and youth and resilience. I began walking home, barefoot, through Venice, in no particular direction.

A good-lookin’ guy was in my periph, starting up a boat, loudly. “Where you go?”

“My hotel.” I didn’t look at him again.

“Is faster by boat, I take you.”

“Mommy, mommy, mommy,” I thought. “Stranger danger!” But instead, I stayed exteriorly-calm, “I can see it from here.”

“Is faster, get in,” he grabbed my wrist.

I took off sprinting. I was captain of my volleyball team for four years in high school and played in leagues all year round. I kept thinking, “Knees up, faster, or you’ll be sold to some greasy guy.” (It’s funny and horrible at the same time to me, now)

I got back to the hotel, I scoffed at Simon, who hadn’t mentioned he was leaving, and walked back through the courtyard to our room. Kissed my mom on the forehead and cuddled into starchy sheets. I wish I could say I learned my lesson and I was by her side the rest of the trip, but I try not to make a habit out of lying.

I always thought, “I’m gonna end up on a milk carton someday.” And it wasn’t all that horrid of an idea. I would love a good rescue/escape story in my life. Obviously, Isaiah and I have both tamed our “wicked ways” together, in a good way. In a “who-needs-all-those-gimmicks-when-we-have-each-other” kind of way. But without those days, I never would have been in the home of the man who inspired the Texas Chainsaw Massacre stories, (or was just really obsessed with mannequins and porcelain dolls), been proposed marriage to by a man exiled from his native island until married, or have as few regrets about life as I do. I also would never have met my best friend, this sexy guy:

Anyways, I hope to bring back some doosies with me. If you almost ended up the news as a missing person, you know I wanna hear all about that.

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. zegroom permalink
    July 13, 2010 4:38 pm

    16yr old me woulda dug you too.

  2. July 13, 2010 7:19 pm

    Thanks baby 🙂

  3. July 13, 2010 7:44 pm

    You’re going to have some great stories. I’d say that 75% of my best stories are from my time in Russia and abroad in general. For example, I was whipped naked with birch leaves by my Policeman host father in the family banya. Also, I was fed butter-fried eels by the same host father when I told him I was sick with the flu. I was sexually harrassed by two drugged-out Russian women in a bathroom. My host mother in Guatemala told me Jesus would help me with my homework and even pulled up a stool next to my desk for Jesus to sit in. And so on.

    Oh, and after reading your post, I am convinced you need to go to Kuntzkamera to see all the crazy preserved human oddities.

  4. July 13, 2010 7:48 pm

    I am so glad you are not on a milk carton! You were a wild thang! I think something can be said about someone who can tell stories the way you do- you live and you learn. You don’t hate the past, don’t fear the future- it is what it is and you’re going to enjoy the journey. You’ve seriously got some chutzpah and that attitude will take you far in life.

    Also- I think our posts are vibing today.

    p.s. As soon as I read your title I was thinking Cool Kids. Did I guess right?

    • July 14, 2010 1:53 pm

      Angie – When are we NOT vibing? I’m convinced I need to save my pennies for a trip to Baltimore. You’re so sweet! I was all: “Me? I have chutzpah?!” Word.

  5. LemonBride permalink
    July 13, 2010 8:15 pm

    Wow. Way to be a fighter! But sounds like some really crazy-great memories to keep with you. It’s better to start your “new life” of marriage with no regrets. You two kids are totally meant to make it!
    My mom hates that I go by Liz, thanks to my high school years. It’s stuck and she, along with my grandmother, are the only ones to ever call me Elizabeth. I totally feel your name pain. 🙂

    • July 14, 2010 1:55 pm

      Haha. My mom has ACTUALLY adjusted to calling me “Lizzie,” she says she loves it now, which is sweet. I think it had something to do with promising her when I turned a certain age, she could call me Elizabeth. I feel ya! I don’t know too many girls that go by Elizabeth, it’s 4 syllables, man!

  6. July 13, 2010 8:55 pm

    i am also an elizabeth whose mother REFUSED to call her liz. all of my little-girl things have “Beth” written really big on them. but liz just…. stuck.

    • July 14, 2010 1:58 pm

      Oh man, everytime I hear “Elizabeth” from my mom now, it makes me shudder, because I know I “FAACKED” up – Curb Your Enthusiasm style.

  7. July 14, 2010 5:13 am

    such a good story! when I was 16, I was being a total nerd (robotics team, anyone?), not getting into mischief even a little! If I met my 16 year old self I would probably tell her to be a little more fun and crazy and that things will be great. Not always but mostly really really great

  8. July 14, 2010 10:10 am

    Lols… I loves the way that you write! That cracked me up x

  9. July 14, 2010 12:03 pm

    When I was 18 I was almost arrested by the Mexican police while riding on a broken down train home from Mazatlan with my boyfriend. My green eyes and complete inability to speak Spanish saved me.

  10. July 14, 2010 9:02 pm

    When I was traveling in England by myself after my study abroad was over, I got a little tipsy at dinner (I had drank a half carafe of wine on very little food — I was running out of money). I ended up heading to the pub, where I met two guys who spoke very, very little English. I don’t remember what country they were from. Well I befriended them and they bought me drinks. From there we went to another bar, where I ended up meeting two other guys who tried to get me to spend the night with them because they promised to take me to Whales the following day. For a few minutes I was going to, and then luckily a small voice inside me said, “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING?!” I booked it out of there and back to my safe hostel.

    So my advice is to be cautious when you are drinking alone. Don’t drink so much you think it might be a good idea to spend the night with strangers if they will take you to another country the next day. Oh heavens.

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