Even the false statements have elements of truth to them, which I explain below. Enjoy!
1. When I was fifteen, I was fortunate enough to go on a vacation... ehem, "student ambassador" program to Europe. While in London, we took a cruise down the Thames with the British prime minister. And I fell asleep. Oops!
False. The guy on the boat wasn't the prime minister, but someone else from parliament. I did fall asleep, though.
2. While studying abroad in Russia in 1999, I twice went on camping trips in the Caucasian mountains with a non-violent Chechan guide. My parents were none to happy, since this was less than a month after the Chechan war had started (again...).
False. One of the students on our program who went camping and hiking with us decided to grow out his beard while in Russia, and was frequently mistaken for a Chechan, but was just a fun-loving guy from the Midwest.
3. Also during my semester in Russia, I had to sort out some banking troubles I was having. Unfortunately my Russian was *cough* downright atrocious, but I hadn't asked anyone to accompany me. I spent much too much time trying to convey to the woman at the bank what the problem was, and she treated me like an idiot with the mental capacity of a four-year-old due to my poooooooor Russian. A woman behind me in line became so incensed by how long it was taking, she began hitting me with her oversized purse, screaming something to the effect of "If this were still the Soviet Union, I wouldn't have to wait behind a..." You can fill in the rest. I ran away and returned a few days later with an interpreter.
False. It was in a post office when the lady started beating me up (yeah, that part's true). The postal clerk had decided, due to my knotted Slavic tongue, I must be a complete moron, and insisted on putting the stamps on each of my 20 postcards instead of giving the stamps to me. When the woman started hitting me with her purse, I threw my money at the clerk and blotted. Two of the postcards made it to their destinations.
4. Pacifist that I am, I've been kangaroo hunting in New South Wales. After someone shot a kangaroo that would become our dinner the next night, the kangaroo was tossed into the back of the pick-up with my friend and me, only to discover it wasn't actually dead yet... It more or less had a seizure while my friend and I screamed. The man driving got out of the truck and bashed the kangaroo's poor little head until it stopped again.
True. My twelve-year-old homestay sister shot it. She had wanted to show off for me and the other US teenage girl staying with them (aka, the other woman in the bed of the truck... who got kicked by the seizing kangaroo). She had never used a shotgun by herself, and her father thought she had done a pretty decent job until we started screaming a couple of minutes later.
I was 14 and a staunch vegetarian to boot.
5. I am a seasoned world traveler (or so I like to tell myself), and at least half of my travel abroad occurred before I turned 18, but the only country I was taken to by my parents was Canada.
False. My parents have never taken me abroad, even to Canada when it was so close to our Detroit relatives. By the time I was 18, I had visited New Zealand, Australia, England, Denmark, Germany, France, and, yes, Canada, but with my best friend's family.
6. When I was a kid, I love wearing my roller skates. I wore them everywhere (though my mom drew the line at church, but I tried). While I was outside one day hanging out with the boys down the block, they dared me to climb the tree in one boy's front yard. Of course I accepted the challenge since I didn't want to look like a wussy girl. With my roller skates still strapped on tight, I got most of the way up before I fell and broke my arm. I didn't get to keep my roller skates after that :(
False. My best friend from high school did this when she was a kid... though I changed a couple of details to account for my own clumsiness. She never broke anything, and climbed trees in roller skates with her brothers all the time.
7. My family frequently drove to Lake Catherine in Arkansas when we lived in northern Louisiana. When I was four, I had a life jacket that said "Little Fishy" on the back. Strapped into my Little Fishy life jacket, my dad's friend convinced my parents to let me go water skiing on the tyke-sized skis he had for his own kids. After much enthusiasm on my part, they couldn't possibly say no. And, might I add, it was AWESOME! I love water skiing.
False. I've never been water skiing, even though we had the boat when I was a kid, frequenting both Lake Catherine and later the Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay. I believe that if I had ever learned to water ski, I might not have found snow skiing so terrifying.
Do you have any wild, unbelievable stories? I would LOVE to hear them!