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Doing the Europe Thing

By Julio R. Varela

I knew something was up last year when my father started buying black suits that made him look like he was the lead singer of the Pet Shop Boys.

It happened one day in Orlando, Florida. We went shopping. He saw this freaky black suit and said he liked it a lot.

"Dad, you should be living in Madrid," I told him while he looked in the mirror, a new man in a black suit.

"No, maybe you should be living in Madrid," he snapped right back.

That was the first time he mentioned the Europe Thing. He hasn't stopped. While other parents talk to their soon-to-be Harvard-educated kids about graduate schools, jobs and just settling down, my dad talks about the wonders of leaving the United States, taking a year off, and travelling.

AT first, I was skeptical. It was just another stall tactic for him not to give me a car. You see, every year my dad promises to give me a car. He still hasn't. So he's probably telling me to go to Europe so the car issue doesn't come up during Commencement.

Or it could be that he's renting my room in Orlando. Why not? I'm never home anymore. It's possible.

Then he called me up one day.

"Yeah, just want to tell you. I'll pay for it," he said.

"Are you wearing your black suit, dad?"

"No, I'm serious. I'll pay for it."

"Okay, I'll think about it."

So, he was serious. Maybe he really meant it. Well, if my dad was paying...

THERE must be other Harvard seniors out there who were physically revolted by the recent Career Forum at Memorial Hall a few weeks ago.

First of all, it should been called the Wall Street Forum. All those pinstripes and ties in one building can give a guy a headache. Could this be the only thing that Harvard prepares you for? A Metro North commuter ride into New York, a 9-to-5 job in lower Manhattan and two tickets to the theatre? Say it ain't so, Derek.

Second, it really wasn't much of a forum. I don't know, but seeing recruiters trying to convince me that their respective companies strive for "performance, excellence and quality" just doesn't remind me of a forum atmosphere.

So, is this what Harvard is all about?

I had to talk to my dad.

YEAH, dad, listen. I'll go. Let's make a whole year out of it."

"You will?"

"Sure. There's no way I'm entering the `real world' at all. I hope I never have to."

Now, it's all planned. In the summer, I'll go to Europe. In the winter, Argentina and Brazil. The big project will be trying to write a book about soccer in Latin America. After all, he's the one who's paying...

My dad must know something that I haven't discovered yet. He must have sensed that this whole notion of preparing oneself for post-graduation can be very overwhelming. It's as if I now have to plan my entire life in just seven more months. And still write a thesis.

It's a bit comforting to know that the "real world" will just have to wait a while. Now all I need to do is find someone to go with me.

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