Starting college right after graduating high school this past June was not an easy thing to do considering I was not yet ready to continue my education. With this semester now coming to an end, I am happy that I stuck with school and didn’t take a year off. Mr. Paul Gasparo was quite the character this semester. I do not mean that in an ugly way at all. I’m just saying he always kept us on our toes and expected a lot, even if you didn’t say so. I did find this class a little unorganized but I found my way through in the end. Future students you can expect to think outside the box and come out of your comfort zone. I thought it was refreshing at the beginning of the semester when we had group discussions and they ended up being more like debates. I learned a lot about what was going on from the articles that you had us read. I wouldn’t be reading about news articles if I was just in my everyday life. Now, I find myself caring more about what is going on around me. The course is full of a lot of new writings that I felt like I was not prepared for. I felt like the Rhetorical Analysis and the Annotated Bibliography was kind of sprung up on us and I felt like we should have spent more class time learning about these essays. My struggles of English 111 were just the writing in general. I have always excelled at writing but, I have to say it was hard for me to get into these writings. It was seriously like clipping a rhino’s toenail, and that is not easy. But, I learned ways to getting into writing like by drawing maps and sometimes walking away from your writing for a while. I enjoyed the peer critique sessions that we had to go over our Research Papers and Rhetorical Analysis. I found it funny though how on the Research Paper my peer’s had little critique on my paper. I learned that peer’s are sometimes afraid to make comments on your papers. The teacher should probably collect the Peer Critique forms next semester, just to be sure students are actually critiquing. Peer critiquing and revising is really the most important thing in the writing process. I think that the teacher should have sat down with us on our rough drafts of our research papers. I felt like so many of us were so new at researching and a little feedback would have been nice. All in all, I really did step out of my comfort zone this semester. I researched Surrogacy, a topic I knew nothing about, but ended up writing one of my favorite research papers I have ever written. I learned to really push myself in English because that is when the best writing comes out. I enjoyed the Rhetorical Analysis because I actually learned that my mother is one of the reasons that I am the person I am today. This assignment opened up my eyes to the fact that I got through all the bad times I’ve had to face and that I’m just going to keep on going. This course helped me in so many ways. You are probably wondering why you will ever need this course. I learned that this course is crucial and the basic building blocks for the rest of your education. This class helped me to write a research paper in History and helped me to better communicate with other people. This course and teacher was a success. I’m happy with the results, and even with this corky man I learned a lot.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
December 2, 2009
The little grains of sand piled up and sunk in the back of my Coach flip-flops as I stepped out of Aj’s red Ford truck onto the Nags Head ground. This wasn’t my ideal vacation by any means. For me a frozen margarita and a white sandy beach was what I was expecting. But, I settled for a sandy beach with murky brown and green water. One thing was for sure I was happy for it to finally be June with the hot summer sun glistening on my back and my six best friends by my side. This was going to be the best vacation I would ever go on for the simple fact that I was with the people I wanted to truly be with.
The first day of the trip we all ended up on the beach. Aj, David, and Branden were all catching waves on their boogie boards and then tackling each other for the football on the shore. Lauren, Megan, Aly and I looked at each other and knew exactly what we were going to do for the rest of the day. I sprayed bronzing tanner on my body and lied down on my Marilyn Monroe pinup towel next to the girls. Seagulls were passing overhead and we wondered why they were flocking and making an awful screeching noise. All of a sudden we hear Megan say “What was that!” We reply “What was what?” We then lifted our heads up and looked around. I glare over at Megan bursting out with laughter. Aly and Lauren soon followed and started to crack up too. “A bird pooped in your hair” says Aly. “Shit, What?” Megan replies. “What the F do I do?” she then follows. Lauren couldn’t get her words to come out; we were all laughing so hard we were almost in tears. I say “Act casual Megan and walk down to the water and wash it out.” Seconds later a group of hot Italian guys from out of the country walk over and say “We are so sorry about your friend, how embarrassing for everyone on the beach to see that.” We continue laughing for the next half hour as Megan finally walks out of the ocean saying “I had to stay down there a while because it was so slimy and wouldn’t come out,” “ I really hope no one saw that besides you guys.” “Do you think anyone saw?” Our stomachs then hurting from how hard we were laughing, I had to run down to the ocean because I almost peed in my bathing suit right there on the towels. Aly reassured her that no one could have seen any of that because it happened so fast. We couldn’t tell Megan people saw that, she would not be able to walk onto that beach again if she knew. Birds walked by as Megan sat back on her towel. Lauren says “There goes your friends Megan!” Megan couldn’t help but laugh. Every part of a new conversation we would add in something about a bird just to get a smirk out of Megan.
The next evening we all drove out to the dunes. There were huge piles of sand that people could sand-board on, fly kites or just hike up. We paced ourselves for a long hike up the dune, the sand felt chilly and silky smooth at the same time under our bare toes. Our feet sunk in like quicksand as we reached the top of the dune. There were about six families on the dune, the sun was just about to set and we all sat down in amazement as we looked out on to the horizon. The sunset was better than any sunset I had ever seen in Virginia Beach, with hot pink, lemon yellow, purple, and indigo streaking across the sky. In that moment I knew I was in the right place. Hours later, we laid down three blankets, one right next to the other, corner to corner. The sky was clear and the stars were so bright because there weren’t any street lights like back at home. We put our heads all in the middle of the blanket so we could feel each other’s heads next to each other. After five years together here we were in this moment, after all the bullshit and all the drama we remained friends and laughed about it together now. We played truth or dare like we did when we were younger. The moons light shined right on the ocean making a huge path into the unknown. Aj unbuttoned and took off his Levi jeans and I followed right after feeling my pink sparkly tie-up bikini hit the sand. David, Branden, Megan, Aly and Lauren all followed along taking off every inch of their clothing. Dresses were flying, heels were clunking into the sand, belts were rattling and undies were coming off. We ran streaking down the beach in the pitch black dark with no one else in sight. Jumping into the water, it felt refreshing and almost unexpected, the boys splashed us and we were laughing and enjoying the time. We walked back out of the water with our white butts in the moonlight to the beach where our clothing was awaiting. David and Aj started a fire and we all curled up together as the summer breeze drifted though the air and blew the wisps of our beach waves. David played the guitar and we fell into deep thinking and started singing a familiar song that snuck up on us. Laughed until We Cried came on and so many memories came rushing back to us. Everyone looked at each other and we laughed as we saw that we were all crying like the last day we heard this song.
Looking back, this vacation by far was my favorite. I do not think that the important things are that you stay in luxury or go out of the country on vacation. It is the people that you are with that make it special and relaxing. I found that even an hour or two away you can get the same affect when you are with the people you enjoy being with. My favorite vacation brought the people I loved back and I even think I found myself in the midst of this vacation.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
August 27, 2009
The sand filled the back of my flip flops as I stepped out of the car. You could hear the waves crashing along the beach and the smell of salt drifted through the air. This was not the ideal vacation I thought, but it would have to do. I had never been out of the country before and wanted that vacation so badly I could taste it. That vacation did not come as expected but Nags Head, North Carolina was as far away as I was going to get for now. Learning that you can not really be picky when you get the opportunity to go on a vacation opened up my eyes to the best vacation I would ever go on.
The doors slammed from every direction as we entered the house. The beach house was so beautiful with blues, greens, and yellows filling the walls and seashell collages in frames. The house was three stories with stairs wrapping all the way around to the roof and four white fenced balconies attached to the house to see four different views. The view from the top main balcony was so breathtaking you never even wanted to go into the house. The breeze flowed through your hair and gave you the chills all down your body. You could smell hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill next door with laughing and country music in the background. The beach was so close you could see the seagulls attacking little kids with greasy chips in their hands. People were playing volleyball and the skim boarders were crashing into the sand then getting back up again. The last of the people at the beach were stepping out of the water and gathering on the sand around the fire pits before the sun was about to set. My bare feet were standing on the sandy wood of the top balcony as the screen door clunked with the side of the house and my best friends and sister rushed out saying “How sweet is this!”
It was a full house with my mom and dad in one room, my aunt and uncle in another, me, my sister, Lauren, and Megan in twin beds, and Branden, Aj and David in another. We all gathered into the kitchen to decide what was for dinner. We decided to take it easy tonight so we just cooked “Sloppy Joes” with dad’s infamous skinny French fries and golden round tater tots. Mom and my Aunt Susie worked on the coleslaw and pasta salad as the guys asked for the girls to get them more beer. There is just something about your friends and family being in the same place at the same time. It is like a mutual agreement, even if you haven’t seen each other in a very long time or even if you have not spoken in a while, when you meet up again everything just seems to fall into place like the last time. After dinner we all piled around different pillows on the floor. Dad grabbed Mad Gab out of the closet and the laughter had already started to begin. We picked teams and spent the rest of the night in tears rolling on the floor from all the funny accents and messed up words we were saying. We went to sleep peacefully that night while the waves were still crashing on the beach knowing that we were all safe in that house together.
The next day’s seemed to rush by fast. The majority of the days were spent on the beach with an umbrella and beach chairs. We would leave the first thing our eyes opened in the morning and only went back to the house if we had to use the bathroom, when we left it was sunset and we were starving. The guys spent their day fishing on the pier right next to us on the beach. They caught huge fish, little fish, fishermen boots and piles of trash. I would even go up occasionally so that they could teach me how to fish. They were always mad because I would catch the biggest fish right away and they had been sitting up there for hours waiting for theirs to bob. I climbed back down the steps to the beach where the girls were sitting. Mom and Susie were under the umbrella with only their legs in the sun and a Mikes Hard Lemonade in a koozie reading away. They were so caught up in their romance novels by Nicolas Sparks that you could be talking to them and they would not even reply. You could often hear them sniffling and saying “Why aren’t men in real life like this.” My sister and two best friends were laying towel to towel next to each other shaking their butts to a long on the radio. You would see their heads pop up with towel marks across their cheeks every time they thought a hot tan guy walked by. Our long hair had beach waves running through it and we would scrunch our hair up to make it stay. “I’m hot” someone would say, so we all sat up on our towels and knew it was time to get into the water. Megan and I grabbed our inner tubes from the hole we dug in the sand. We both hated our feet touching the bottom of the ocean, there was always an agreement there we were afraid something was going to grab on our. Lauren and Aly splashed around and did handstands underwater as Megan and I drifted though the waves with our feet attached to each other’s tubes. We were deep in conversation as a huge wave came and tore us apart. Megan got up laughing and I just stayed underwater… I had lost the top of my swim suit. Megan couldn’t stop laughing when finally we spotted my swim suit floating a little ways down. As I go to retrieve it a guy says “Is this yours.” My face turned bright red as I swam over and took my top out of his hands. I then looked and saw that it was Aj and didn’t feel so bad. He said “You look cute when your face is red and you’re embarrassed.” I swam away thanking him and thinking “did he really just say that to me.” Turning back I saw him still looking at me and felt like their might be something there after all these years. Megan meets me halfway with my inner tube and I splash her thanking her for laughing at me. We continue for the next couple hours getting lost in the rocking of our inner tubes through the waves. Aly and Lauren always ended up swimming over to our floats when they got tired of treading water and hung off the sides of our rafts. We talked about the upcoming year, about going away to college, and about our love life. Of course we had plenty to talk about with our schedules always being busy with work and other guys. Right then we knew couldn’t really complain about anything that was going elsewhere in our lives, we knew that we didn’t have much longer together but, we were just there together and that was enough for us… it always was.
After getting off the beach for the day we all decided to get cleaned up for the night. There were not enough showers for everyone to take one, so we jumped in together in our swim suits to get things done faster. Legs were popping out of the shower curtain so that we could all shave in the little room we had and David and Aj would look at as weird as they were shaving their faces in the sink. Toilets were flushing as Mom and Dad screamed and the water turned scorching hot. Susie refused to share the shower with anyone, so she walked down the steps into the outside shower. She came up about fifteen minutes later explaining to us how warm the water is and how relaxing it was down there. Dougie was lying out on the couch with his feet hanging off the end and we could hear him snoring away, knowing that he already finished getting ready. The guys all went into the living room with a Coors Light in their hand put their feet up and sat on the couch and turned on the Red Sox game. The radio was blaring and the speakers were blaring with Laurens IPod plugged in. All the girls shared the two bathrooms that we had and fought over getting into the mirror. Hair dryers were blowing, hairsprays were spraying and cheetah hair straighters were heating up. We were all still in our towels tucked in tightly dancing around and when a song came on that we would know we would all go into the same bathroom and sing to each other. It was perfect, how often did that happen when you were at home. One at a time we helped each other pick out the perfect outfit for the night, most were sundresses and heels. We did the last touches and then we were finally ready and the boys cheered as we piled out of the bedrooms one at a time with smiles on our faces.
We waiting at the seafood house for almost an hour because it was so packed with all the other tourists around. The guys of course were at the bar getting us drinks. Mom had a wine with ice and the rest of the girls had chilly margaritas. Cameras were flashing as we all leaned in close to each other to get the perfect shot cheesing like hams. We had silly pictures, smiling and even serious. As we sat on the benches next to the back of the restaurant the sun began to set and the sky filled to be pinks, oranges, purples and yellows. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I grabbed the hand next to me and squeezed as hard as I could. There were no other people in the world I would had rather been with at that time… it was perfect. At dinner we all shared each other’s seafood dishes because we wanted a little of everything. After dinner we knew what was next. We hit Dairy Queen on the way out because no beach day was complete without a dipped cone, a banana split and a Butterfinger Blizzard.
The sign read Al’s fun park. My dad had a grin on his face and gave each of us money. Right away we cashed the money in for coins for the arcade. Games were dinging; balls were hitting the backboards as Megan missed the hole in the Ski Ball game. Looking over at Aly she was jumping up and down as she won a race car game against David. Lauren was having fun on “Dance Dance Revolution” playing against a little girl with blond hair and blue eyes just like her. I found myself over to the water balloon game as I saw Aj coming up to me threatening to beat me as I told him “You are on.” My balloon popped the light went on and the bell rung as I filled the balloon all the way up and I started going wild while jumping up and down. Aj looked over at me surprised and gave me a hug of congratulations. Tickets came like crazy out of the machine and I wrapped them around my arm just to get them all out. I was finally satisfied with the number of tickets that I had so I went into the prize room where I saw everyone else getting stuffed animals and candy. I decided to give all my tickets to Aj so he could get this Red Sox lamp that he had his eye on.
We then met up with my parents where we decided to have a little go-cart championship with everyone. The engines rived up as I looked to my left and saw Megan grinning and saying “Lets at least beat the guy’s ladies.” Then looking to my left I saw David and gave him a smile and flip of my hair and then the light went green and I was off; funny how distracting you can be to guys. Dad and Dougie zoomed past me and my car shook, I knew I wasn’t going to be the last one so I put my foot all the way on the gas scared to death as I turned the corners sharp and made it to the finish line behind Dad, Dougie and then Aly. I felt good because I was usually the last person to get to the finish line with everyone staring at me. This time I kind of felt accomplished.
After we were hot and sweaty from the ride we decided to do the bumper boats. Mom and Susie opted out of course because they hated any ride that had to do with water. We all got into different colored bumper boats on opposite sides of the pool. Each side had a water fall on it then in the middle was a huge waterfall which I knew I was going to avoid. We started the boats up and went on our ways. It was funny to see everyone’s heads bounce around as you hit an end of their bumper boat. Getting excited, I bashed into the side of Alys front and put her straight into the side waterfall. She gasped and cursed at me. I backed my boat up as soon as possible because I knew what was coming next. Daddy was hitting into the boys boats and Lauren and Megan were chasing after one another to see who could hit who first. All of a sudden I see Dougie coming behind me and Aly coming in front of me, there was no way out…. It was too late by that point. Next thing I know I’m straight under the big waterfall in the middle. I could not figure out how to get my boat out as I just ended up sitting there yelling for help. Drenched I managed to back my bumper boat up and get out of the waterfall. By that point all I could do was laugh it out, since that’s what everyone else around me was doing.
Later that night we brought blankets down from the house to the beach. The grownups had gone up to bed because they were exhausted from the day. The sky was so clear and the stars were so bright because there were not any street lights like back at home. We put each blanket corner right next to each other’s in a big circle. We put our heads all in the middle so we could see each other. After five years together here we were in this moment, after all the bullshit and all the drama we remained friends and laughed about it together now. We played truth or dare like we did when we were younger. Doing stupid stuff like the old days, and telling truths we didn’t even see coming. The moons light shined right on the ocean making a huge path into the unknown. Aj unbuttoned and took off his Levi jeans and we all followed along taking off every inch of our clothing. Dresses were flying, heels were clunking into the sand, belts were rattling and undies were coming off. We ran streaking down the beach in the pitch black dark with no one else in sight. Jumping into the water, it felt refreshing and almost unexpected, the boys splashed us and we were laughing and enjoying the time. We walked back out of the water with our white butts in the moonlight to the beach where our clothing was awaiting. Wrapping up in the blankets we noticed that we didn’t bring any towels down, but it seemed it did not matter now. David and Aj started a fire and we all curled up together as the summer breeze drifted though the air and blew the wisps of our beach waves. David played the guitar and we fell into deep thinking and started singing a familiar song that snuck up on us. Laughed until We Cried came on and so many memories came rushing back to us. A tear ran down my cheek and I knew there was no stopping the tears now. Everyone looked at each other and we laughed as we saw that we were all crying like the last day we heard this song.
The next morning none of us even sleep in we all met each other at the beach like the other days we had. Dad and Dougie were out on the boat fishing and told us we could go tubing later if we wanted. The boys were out in the water throwing the football back and forth watching girls go by on the beach. I sprayed bronzing tanner on me and went to lay with the girls on the oversized beach towels. The morning was quiet and Susie and Mom enjoyed another romance novel today. Seagulls were passing overhead and we wondered why they were flocking as they did. All of a sudden we hear Megan say “What was that!” We reply “what was what” then we all lift our heads up. I glare over at Megan bursting out with laughter. Aly and Lauren soon follow and crack up too. “A bird pooped in your hair” says Aly. “Shit, What?” Megan replies. We continue laughing for the next half hour as Megan walks to the ocean washing out her hair. Birds walk by as Megan sits back on her towel. Lauren says “There goes your friends Megan!” Megan couldn’t help but laugh. Every conversation we could we would put in something about a bird. We stayed in the sun till late afternoon, our skin was golden and had a shimmer from the tanners.
A horn honks from out in the ocean. Dougie and Dad are on the boat offshore waiting for us to climb in. You could see the boys already way ahead of us swimming to the boat. Mom and Susie decide to stay on the beach because they want to lie in the sun and read some more. The girls and I stand up and walk into the crashing waves and swim to the boat. The boat started off and we ride off the coast. The ocean water was bumpy but when we got into the inlet the brackish water was calmer. Dougie hooked up the tube to the back of the boat and we each took turns in pairs going out on the tube. It was fun going back and forth on the waves and hanging on for dear life. I drove some of the way and hit every wave so that the tube would jump the waves. The boys were cheering the girls on as they flew off like skipping stones in the water. We spent the rest of the day pulling the tube around and enjoying the end of the day.
We arrived home around four and Mom and Susie had napped and were ready to go to the dunes for the sunset. We drove out to the dunes. They were huge piles of sand that people could sand board on, fly kites or just hike up. We paced ourselves, the sand felt silky under our bare toes and our feet sunk into the sand as we reached the top of the dune. When we got to the top the sun was just about to set and we all sat down in amazement as we looked out on to the horizon. The sunset while hard to believe was better than the last one. And, in that moment I knew I was in the right place. Tomorrow we would head for home and go our separate ways, but tonight it was ours.
Nags Head was not the vacation that I expected for my summer vacation by all means I felt like it was going to be the same as always. My parents promised me Jamaica for two weeks. Now looking back, this was my favorite vacation. I do not think that the important things are that you stay in luxury or go out of the country on vacation. It is the people that you are with that make it special and relaxing. It is important to get away from time to time. I found that even an hour or two away you can get the same affect when you are with the people you enjoy being with. Meeting in a beach house and put under one roof helped the relationships we were losing. My favorite vacation brought the people I loved back and I even think I found myself through it too.