Within the summer months between my freshman and sophomore year, I took part in an overbearing, overwhelming trip of faith from my hometown in Arroyo Grande, California to my aunt’s small town community of Ocean Shores, Washington. It should have been a bonding trip, somewhat calm and overall tiring from being stuck in a car for roughly nine hours every day for about four days. However, due to my family being the rambunctious bunch that it is, it was anything and everything but calm.
From the beginning of day one my parents and younger sister made a secret unspoken pact to make my life somewhat unbearable for the entire one and a half week trip it took to get to my aunt’s and back. Our car setup involves my father driving, mother sitting shotgun, sister sitting back left and me calling back right, the best seat of the house, but also allowing them all with complete access to potential harassment towards me. They would poke me when I wouldn’t be paying attention and tickle me while I was asleep, along with blasting this ridiculous music that all three of them seemed to share a love for and that trait was left out of my being. Granted, when I would switch with my mom to sit shotgun due to my raving carsickness there wasn’t as much they could do, knowing I had control over the music selection and food supply.
In addition to the constant car torture syndrome, I was also given the opportunity to sleep within the same overly small, potentially sketch hotel room as my family. Every night we would find camp within a new hotel, in a new city, but after the first two, they really all were the same. Bathroom, beds, lamp, sometimes a TV, and it’s heaven if there is a microwave and mini fridge. We switched bed partners every night in order to not ‘get sick of each other’ – which definitely did not work. My father snored, my sister hogged the blanket, and my mother was a constant lip smacker, leaving me with a fine selection of partners to choose from. And as soon as we would wake up in the morning, it would be constant bickering as to who did what during the night and ‘what was that sound?!’ and ‘why did you kick me so hard?!’ as we scrambled to get ready for the next all day drive into the Washington unknown.
What was worse, was that once we finally arrived at our destination, I was still not free of my parents. I was given small opportunities to leave on my own, such as going on bike ride around the retirement style community my aunt happened to live in, or go down to the tiny shore front that my aunt owned, but truthfully, there wasn’t much else that I could do. It was freezing cold, a weather option that I would rather stay away from, along with a constant blanket of fog resting just over the rooftops which was perfect for frizzy hairstyles.
However, despite my family’s absurd and ridiculous lifestyle that surrounds me, I did get a chance to experience places I didn’t know were in existence, such as Weed, California- a tiny town just before Eureka- and Ashland, Oregon – an adorable old village inside the Oregon valley. The northern west coast, of which I could never actually live upon, was actually incredibly beautiful in groggy, sentimental kind of way. I realized that my family and our adventures were limitless, as long as we didn’t kill each other along the way.
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