Summer. The time that everyone reunites with their families, gets married, or goes on a family vacation. My trip last summer helped me realize what vacationing really is. Before he passed I was my dad's only child, unfortunately due to infantile amnesia's natural course up to this day I can not remember him at all. Fifteen years have passed since cancer took him from me; but last summer, Daddy was there the whole time. Going to my aunt's in Florida was not a first for me as I had gone before however ten years had passed since my last visit.
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It took five hours before I landed in Orlando's airport, which was much nicer than the one in Los Angeles! Once out of the jet way I immediately felt Florida's humid breeze and I could not help but smile enthusiastically at my aunt waiting. Driving up the driveway to my aunt's house in Palm Coast, was one of the best sights. I still remember her gorgeous three story house gleaming with orange lights and the sound of crickets welcoming me home. The following morning, I raced up the stairs and the view was breathtaking. First the bright yellow sun rising, the sparkling ocean water, and Florida's white sand-breakfast would definitely have to wait! The weekend passed by quickly however my aunt had organized a family reunion which was to take place at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in other words my first legit road trip! I was thrilled!
As we drove, something that struck me awe about the climate was that rain would be accompanied by the sun. "Liquid sunshine" was what Tita Beth called it. Although eight hours of driving left my butt numb, once I caught sight of a billboard that read "Myrtle Beach-2" I was ecstatic! Once at my cousin's condo, one week slipped by like sand in my palms! Each morning everyone raced down the stairs and tanned by the pool or took long walks on the beach, afternoons were spent at South Carolina's famous Broadway at the Beach, and nights were closed with family poker. The last day before driving back, all of us dressed in white and denim, walked down to the beach to take our traditional family portraits. As each family went up, daddy came to mind. I wondered what it'd be like to buy Father's Day cards, to turn to my dad in hard times, or simply what it felt like to say 'daddy'. All those questions tore me apart inside, but suddenly, my aunt walked over to me and looking up to the sky said, "He's here Itati."
Taking a deep breath, I proceeded to take my share of photographs. We were the first ones to leave the following morning and the journey back felt extremely longer. The moment I stepped foot in my aunt's house I went straight to sleep! The last days I spent in Florida I made sure to spend as much time as I could with my aunt. Previously diagnosed with cancer, she had made an effort to have me there at least one last time and deep down inside of me I felt that this would be the last. I learned so much about her, her life, and how much I reminded her of Daddy. When the time came to leave, I realized that traveling is not going faraway places or spending excessive amounts of money-but rather enjoying the journey more than the destination and creating memories. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, therefore I have run out of mine.
"He who does not know to look where he came from will never get to his destination." -Philippians
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