Traveling with family doesn’t always sound enjoyable. In my case, it’s never sounded enjoyable! Up until this past summer when we took a trip to Florida. At first I was worried, only because we hardly ever spend time together and all of a sudden we were going to spend the entire weekend together? So of course I detected something to worry about. I mean, the last time we had done anything close to a “family vacation” was back when I was nine years old and we decided tospe nd a week going to amusement parks in Southern California. But other than that, we had never gone on an actual vacation. So here we are, my mom, dad, brother, and I preparing for a trip across the country. My brother and I are only four years apart, so we were seeing eye-to-eye on this idea of family bonding: what were our parents thinking? But nonetheless, we kept our mouths shut and went along with it. Thursday morning, July 3, 2008, we arrive at the airport, prepared to depart and start our family adventure. We get to our terminal and sit around waiting for our plane to arrive. Once we get on, it gets kind of exciting! I’d only been on a plane two other times, three years prior, so this was kind of thrilling to me! Well, we get on, find our seats, and get comfortable. My brother and I sat in one row while our parents sat in the row before us because, surprisingly, we actually get along! So here we are, enjoying ourselves and flying, landing in different states and switching planes. Altogether, the plane ride alone was enjoyable, and set the stage for our actual arrival in Florida. Once there we settle into our hotel and order pizza. It was kind of like a family slumber party! Plus, we were all wide awake because our minds were three hours behind. I couldn’t remember my family ever really getting along like this, just the four of us, so it was a happy feeling to experience. The next day, July 4, we went to Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida, as well as the Island of Adventure, a spin-off to Universal Studios (like Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure). I guess it can be established that we are an amusement park type of family! So, at the end of the day we took a swim at the hotel pool, just a fun and relaxing way to end the day. Then next day, July 5, we went to Universal City Walk, where we spent the afternoon shopping, dining, and just enjoying each other’s company. Later that day, arriving back at the hotel, we realized we were kind of hungry. We hadn’t gotten a rental car since there was a shuttle van to take us to and from our wanted destinations and the fact tha we were only staying for the weekend. So we saw that we were stuck, which only called for another family adventure! At the time, there was talk on the news about a hurrican hitting Florida soon, so the weather wasn’t too great. Not raining, but not great. Nonetheless, we walked down the street, around the corner, and to the end of the road where we found a Burger King and enjoyed dinner. Though it was only a ten minute walk, it was still fun and entertaining. My family was surprising me more and more everyday…who new they could be so fun? The following day was our day of departure. We headed to the airport, exhausted from an adventurous weekend, but ready to get home. All the way back across the country I deliberated my weekend; our family had just gone on a vacation that we all actually enjoyed, I thought to myself. (I was still having a hard time accepting that fact). But it was only because we all lived on different schedules, from school times to working hours to sports to college classes. But I loved the fact that we were still able to be a family, no matter how crazy our lives were. We were a family, though good and bad, rain and shine, and nothing could break that. I learned that family is something to cherish and never take for granted the way some tend to do and the way I caught ourselves doing. I liked the fact that we could spend time as a family without driving each other crazy and, from here until the end of time, we’re a family. That alone, I discovered, was something to smile about.
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