Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 30, 2024

A mundane roadtrip proves illuminating

By AMANDA GARCIA | September 4, 2014

The last summer of my undergraduate career was colorful, but the brightest memory was my family trip to Florida.

Before I returned home for the summer, my mom impulsively planned a family trip to Florida; it had been five years since our last one, and during that time, we had already gotten three new additions to the clan. The plan involved renting a 15-passenger van so all 10 of us could pile in and have the whole road trip experience. Fortunately and unfortunately, the money issue of the van showed my mom that it would be better to use our own van. This ultimately resulted in my sister’s two daughters, Alejandra and Ahava, coming with my parents, me and my brother in the van.

Now this wasn’t a huge deal because this van had already taken us to Florida and back before, and if it got the stamp of approval from my dad, we were all for it. I mean, this man managed to keep a 15-year-old Dodge caravan with over 275,000 miles in mint condition.

We left home at 5:30 in the morning, and for a few blissful hours, everyone was asleep. Of course, nothing lasts forever, so I was woken up by three-year-old Alejandra caressing my face with her feet. Not the worst way to wake up, but not preferred.

At our first rest stop, Alejandra was my bathroom buddy. She was so fascinated with toilets that she had to flush it before she even used it, but God forbid one flushed on its own.

Back on the road and taking cues from my brother, I put my headphones on. This didn’t stop Alej from roaming about the car and talking to us. Every once in a while, I would catch my dad laughing and figured Alej said something funny.

Turned out she was having whole conversations with herself concerning her princess status, and she decided that we should call her Elsa from now on. If that wasn’t enough, she went on to demand that I explain to her the point of flossing. She would then randomly turn to me with her mouth open so I could check for plaque.

Between incorrectly assuming what Alej wanted and Ahava asking me for my iPod, I didn’t think the car ride would ever end. But once nine o’clock came around and they both knocked out, I was reminded of earlier in the summer when I went to a poetry slam. I had heard a poem concerning women in society.

I couldn’t justly convey how the poet spit her work, but a huge point was how modern women still prefer to have boys for children. The poet looked up to the ceiling and asked God to send her all the girls because she was up to be the mother of dragons.

So I found myself looking at my nieces and wanting to show and teach them to be strong and to protect them no matter how many times they would go on to argue with me during the trip.

Even with the restless trip to and from Florida, the traumatizing bee sting in Animal Kingdom and riding the Tower of Terror six times, our family trip was the highlight of my summer. Hope everyone enjoyed theirs, and cheers to a new year!

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