Court and I have shared many family vacations, being sisters and such. Here’s how they typically go: I eat three family size bags of Starburst on the plane, Courtney eats a granola bar. We have a good time for the first few hours, but then I start to get hungry and everyone’s mood goes downhill quick. Then slowly and progressively, I ruin the trip more and more every day. But every trip ends with good memories and the occasional fun activity that I don’t ruin.
Most recently, Court and I went to Los Angeles for a journalism convention with about 20 other students. Geared up with an abundance of Starburst and fruit snacks, I was fully prepared to keep my sugar level high enough to not tear Courtney apart in front of our peers and the principal. But to my surprise, I didn’t need constant caffeine and sugar to keep my good mood because my parents weren’t breathing down my neck. Court and I bonded a lot through the parent-free weekend.
St. Thomas will be infamous for meeting boys from Montana and getting sunburnt to the extreme. Courtney went scuba diving and held a sea cucumber while I sat at the pool, not venturing within twenty feet of the ocean. It was Courtney’s birthday while we were there, so the night that we went out for her birthday dinner, I decided to be adventurous and order mahi mahi – something I never do. I had one bite and didn’t touch it afterwards. It’s safe to say that anything remotely to do with the ocean just doesn’t fly with me. If I could explain the trip in just one sentence, it would be Courtney nagging at me to finish my book faster so that she could read it.
Once or twice a year, our dad’s side of the family packs it up and heads to Vail, CO for a freezing weekend of skiing or a warm weekend of hiking and whitewater rafting. Any airplane observer would overhear heated arguments about who has to stay in the haunted bedroom with no ceiling lights, no lamps and just one window. Arrival is immediately celebrated by a dip in the hot tub or a trip to Bart & Yeti’s, our favorite casual restaurant. My dominating memory from summer trips is when I got a “moderate to severe” concussion during a white water tubing trip. I was even wearing a helmet, and I still concussed myself. It’s just a prime example of my klutzy life where everything that can go wrong will go wrong. Winter trips always consist of skiing for the first day or two, but eventually we’ll get tired of the crazy crowds and cold weather and just stay at home. I have yet to injure myself on the slopes, but my gut tells me it’s not long until it happens.
Our grandad lives in Grand Haven, MI so we visit every summer. Sleeping under the red checkered covers in his basement and going blueberry picking have become sacred traditions. I think that the dark and cold Lake Michigan waters are where my deep fear of large bodies of water began – or was it Finding Nemo? We may never know. Our trips often line up with the annual coast guard festival, where rides on the ferris wheel and spinning teacups are frequent. Hot dogs and ice cream cones at Miss Lisa’s are something the two of us look forward to every summer.
After our mom and stepdad got married, we went on a vacation to the Cayman Islands with our freshly minted step-siblings, David and Sarah. While growing closer and closer to our new family, we tanned on the beach and poured cans of beer in our hair in hopes of getting blonder. At dinner, everyone would order some fancy seafood dish, while I would pick the most magnificent caesar salad. Again, I just don’t do fish. We took a day trip to go swimming with stingrays, and just take a wild guess at who cried and got back on the boat within two minutes. That’s right, you guessed it. It was me. Courtney got stung and didn’t complain once. So if that doesn’t say something, then I don’t know what does. But the entire trip made for some killer GoPro footage and spectacular salads.