C-A-L-I. Spell it out. The state of California gave me a life changing vacation and one great time.
The story begins midway fourth quarter of junior year. This is the time during High School, where teachers are at the same motivation level of their students. Classes are repetitive, dry, and lackluster to say the least. Teens are persuaded by the signs of sunshine and warmer weather, proceeding the long frigid winter of blistering blizzards and sub-zero temperatures. Your normal, mid-western, high school setting for a teenager. Anyways, I get this text from my mom saying, “We’re going to California for my Great Grandma’s Funeral.” Literally ten seconds upon reading this message, grief and shock of my Grandmother’s passing slithered through my veins. I was going back to where I was raised, the place where I could have had a different life, and I found this out at the beginning of my Honors Pre-Calculus class.
I lived in California for years two through six of my life. The plane ride there was one of anticipation and heartache. I was on my way to my Great G-Ma’s Funeral. My Great G-Ma was ninety-nine years old. She was like a queen. Landing in L.A., was like stepping into a Snoop Dog video, just luxurious and beautiful. My parents and I grabbed our bags and headed towards Green Hills.
Green Hills is the one place in the world that brings me back to being a little four-year old toddler. My baby sister, Lauryn, is buried at Green Hills. My parents and I visited her spot on the enormous green hill. We laid down a beautiful bouquet of flowers and cleaned her stone. “Lauryn Alexa Palanca.” Standing there, it all came back to me. That one summer day, where I came running inside my house, to find my sister’s crib empty and quiet. That’s all I have to say about that.
After Green Hills, we headed to my Grandma’s funeral. There, I was mobbed by my relatives that haven’t seen me since I was a little boy. The funeral consisted of many hugs, tears, and long chats of the past. During the funeral though, something happened. I realized something about life, live it to the fullest. My Great Grandma lived to the age of ninety-nine! Living that long, she must have experienced every little thing this planet has to offer. I swore to myself at that funeral, that I would live to my Grandma’s legacy, “Live to the max of your potential, and don’t settle.”
The next few days were spent wandering around the amazing area of Orange County. I went to Venice Beach, and rode the famous roller coaster on the pier. I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway and watched the beautiful sunset. I met plenty of amazing people from the area, and made a couple of new friends. Overall, it was a great couple of days living by my new code.
Vacations and trips can be intended for fun and enjoyment. For me, they helped change my life. Now, I don’t dwell on the negatives of life, but embrace them. I have my Grandma’s and sister’s spirits to live on and to commemorate. I plan to do this the rest of my life, and believe me; I am not going to let them down.
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