Monday, March 11, 2013

Travel Stories - Tutus, Army Pants, and Breaking Up With Jason

I have told some of my travel stories to friends, and they have been met with much enjoyment.  So I decided to start writing them down.  Here is the first installment: "Tutus, Army Pants and Breaking Up With Jason"

My love for travel probably began as a child.  By the time I turned two I had already lived in three countries.  While I don’t remember our time in Mexico, I do know that I had a cat named “Gato” and a beautiful blue poncho that was crocheted and gifted by a family friend, which I still have.  We moved to Peru when I was about two, and I kept the fellow passengers entertained with my crying.  I still don’t do well with cabin pressure. 

I have very few memories of our four years in Peru.  It’s difficult to discern what are real memories and what are acquired memories from repeatedly hearing stories from my parents and older siblings.  I do remember that when I was about four years old, I had a friend named Jason who lived down the street from us.  I remember walking down the dusty, brown road, looking at the beautiful, green foliage.  A particular plant caught my eye.  It had bushy red flowers.  I wondered if it was edible.  I could have sworn my sister told me it was edible.  So I put a few of the soft bristles in my mouth.  It didn’t taste very good, so I spit it out.   I continued walking down the road… it was a very long road.  I was hot and sweaty. 

Pucallpa, circa 1990
I arrived at Jason’s house and knocked on the door.  His mother answered but she wouldn’t let me in.  She told me that Jason couldn’t play with me until I put some real clothes on.  I looked down at my pink tutu, confused.  I was wearing clothes!  She told me that a pink tutu does not count, since my panties were visible underneath.  If I went home and changed my clothes, then Jason could play with me.  Well, it was a long, hot trip to go back to my house and then back to Jason’s house.  I didn’t feel up for it.  So she came up with a solution.  I could borrow some of Jason’s pants and wear them while I played at their house.  The only problem with that was Jason only had army pants.  I didn’t want to wear ARMY PANTS!  I was not a boy!  Finally, we reached a solution.  I would wear the army pants, but I would also wear the tutu over top.  That way I could still wear my tutu but my panties would be completely out of sight. 

Me and Mom, circa ... 1990?

My siblings enjoyed teasing me, telling me that Jason was my boyfriend.  I didn’t completely understand what that meant, but I knew it must not have been a good thing.  Their teasing inflections embarrassed me.  When we moved back to the States, my sisters would ask me if I missed my boyfriend.  I realized I needed to put an end to this nonsense once and for all!  Except I didn’t exactly know how.  One night, as I was lying in the top bunk, I listened to make sure Katie was fast asleep in the bed below.  I whispered into the darkness, “Jason, you are no longer my boyfriend.”  I knew that I had to say it out loud for it to be official.  I thought maybe, just maybe, he would miraculously sense my intentions, through the thousands of miles that separated us.  But I knew for sure that the next day, if my siblings teased me about my boyfriend, I would be able to tell them with utmost certainty, “We broke up.”


  1. You were a cute little kid. Brought me lots of happiness holding and playing with you as a little baby. I would never have teased you about any boy. - Big Brother Rich

  2. That first house on the left at the SAM Base in pucallpa? Yeah, my dad built that in '88. I lived in that house.


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