On jolly Christmas Day, two years ago, I opened a rather strange gift. It wasn’t wrapped, simply taped shut in an ordinary brown mailing box. I carefully peeled off the tape, wondering what could possibly be inside such a poorly decorated present, and pulled one frilly fuchsia lei from the box. I looked up, very confused. My two younger brothers had each gotten a feathery lei as well, and by the puzzled looks on their faces, they had no idea what it meant either. Then my parents announced that we would be taking one of those unrealistic family bonding vacations to Hawaii in the summer.
Ready for a week of gleaming, blue oceans and soft sand, we arrived in sunny, tropical Maui one August evening, except that when we got there it was dark and humid, and almost at once my brothers began their complaint tirade. Cries of “its too hot!” and “when do we get there?” filled the car and hammered on our already exhausted heads as we drove the windy roads to the hotel. Already through the rearview mirror I could see pained looks on my parents’ faces. As usual, they wanted this vacation to be perfect, but by luck of the genetic draw, they got two boys with extremely low attention spans.
We got to our hotel late at night. It was a refreshing wooden condo resting on a smooth white sand beach. My brothers took one peek outside then went straight to the television. That night my parents made busy plans for the week, scheduling beach trips, hiking excursions, and snorkeling days. They spelled out the rules for the week, hoping to keep the fighting under control. Then we caught up on our sleep, looking forward to eighty degree water the next day.
We got up early (dad’s idea) then went to explore the lush island of Maui. I was amazed at how different the tropical, green island was from the crowded, smoggy Southern California city where I lived. I could feel myself relaxing, sitting on a raft in the calm ocean when my dreams were punctuated by a shrill scream and a splash from the brothers. I sighed. My parents were yelling and other guests were staring. I never thought I could dislike my brothers more than I did then, but as the week wore on with more fighting and yelling interrupting quality relaxation, I saw that I was wrong. My brothers had power I didn’t realize they had; the power to ruin a vacation, creating stress for my parents and angry outbursts from me.
Of course I still had fun. I made the best of things, spending time with my parents and taking full advantage of the golden sun and glittering, clear ocean before me. My mom and dad even got a little relaxation time in when they rented action movies for my brothers. But I did learn a lesson for any future vacations I may take; I can’t let two mischievous little boys take away from my unique traveling experiences.
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