Traveling with a large family is always accompanied by various quirks. My family is certainly not immune to these slight disturbances on a trip. Every summer, eleven members of my family cram into two vans and drive to the Key Marathon, Florida. There we join fourteen additional family members for a yearly family reunion. This year’s trip was filled with food, laughter, family, and fun.
Our trip begins, as usual, with a flat tire on one of our vans about an hour into our ten hour drive. After the tire is repaired, we continue on our trip. We arrive at a duplex in Key Marathon at around nine in the morning because our ten hour trip was extended by multiple restroom stops — my family has a difficult time coordinating their bladders. Once we arrive, the entire family is reunited. After greetings and hugs, the travelers retire to bedrooms to sleep since we just spent eleven hours riding through the night.
One of the major highlights of our 2007 summer trip was catching lobster. There are two ways that my family catch lobster. We snorkel for lobster in the ocean during the day, and we ‘bullynet’ for them in shallow shores along the ocean at night. During the day, we go into eight or nine feet of water and dive down into lobster holes to catch the lobsters. Snorkeling for lobster is a way that my cousins and I spend time together.
At night, my family splits up into five groups, and each group is assigned a boat. Each boat travels to shallow parts of the ocean to look for lobster. Once a lobster is spotted, a person stands on the front of the boat and catches the lobster in a ‘bullynet’. The groups compete to catch the most lobster, so it provides a friendly competition within our family. Catching lobster is a fun and entertaining way to pass the time in Key Marathon.
Although Key Marathon has many fun activities to offer, the women in my family drive the thirty minute drive to Key West to socialize and shop for one day. The women do not arrive in Key West until lunch time because it takes until around noon to have all of the women in my family awake and ready to leave Key Marathon.
Once we arrive in Key West, we never fail to stop and have lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville Restaurant. After lunch, the women divide up and go to various shops for several hours. After the women have exhausted the men’s credit cards, we all meet at Fat Tuesday’s for refreshing smoothies. The trip to Key West is a good chance for all of the women in my family to stay close to each other.
My large family has acquired many traditions over the years that came into play on this year’s vacation. One tradition is holding hands in a large circle and praying before meals. After the prayer, my family has a chant that we all say together. That tradition was begun because both my grandmother and her sister had a child die at a relatively young age. My uncle died in a plane crash in his early thirties. My cousin, a mother of two in her early thirties, died of cancer. Their deaths made my family better appreciate the time that we have together.
My family’s trip to Key Marathon has been occurring yearly for fourteen years. It has made my family closer and more caring. It has also allowed me to continue a relationship with relatives I would otherwise not have the opportunity to stay in contact with. My trip to Key Marathon is a fun and exciting week in my life.
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