Of late, it seems that any break on the academic calendar could not come soon enough. Last winter, I had five papers and one sit-down exam standing between me and winter break, and this past week I had a to-do with countless things tasks and lots of added stresses making me extremely anxious for a vacation.
Although there were multiple late nights and tears shed, I managed to make it through to begin a weeklong getaway from the Hilltop. D.C’s forecast had cold temperatures and potential snow on the forecast, but for me, I have been fortunate to fly away to the Sunshine State for a getaway with the family. Staying with my aunt and uncle, of the old school Italian class, I also met up with my parents and sister, who flew down from R.I. for a mini vacation of their own.
After working Friday morning at the university, I almost became involved in a Cab Wars outside the Front Gates. Fortunately, I spotted a friend, and we split a cab to the airport. Me being me, I arrived at the airport with plenty of time to spare, so I spent the hour-plus indulging in fashion magazines and tabloids, making me appreciate that my personal dramas are not splattered across the front cover of the latest gossip rag.
Two and a half hours later, I touched down in Orlando and waited for the arrival of my family. Hugs and kisses were plenty, then with five bags and a set of golf clubs in tow, we trudged to the rental car check-in and then played a game of shape shifting as we struggled to fit all of our luggage into the car.
By this time, it was already past seven p.m. and my body was yearning for something, anything, to eat. Even though I no longer eat meat any day of the week, no one else in my family could eat meat either, since it was a Friday during Lent. With this in mind, our dinner options were somewhat limited. Considering that we had days of home-cooked, traditional Italian meals ahead of us, stopping at Olive Garden, no matter how good the breadsticks, was not a possibility (lots of food-related posts to come :). When a highway food sign listed our only other vegetarian-friendly option as IHOP, you bet that we put on our blinkers lights and took the exit.
While my Lorax-inspired pancakes were not exactly gourmet, they did hit the spot. Whole grain pancakes with sprinkles and strawberry yogurt sauce were the perfect medium for dousing with strawberry syrup. They also sparked a conversation about the difference between sprinkles and jimmies. Although everyone seems to think they are one in the same, to those in New England, they are in fact two very different things: sprinkles refer to the rainbow variety; jimmies are always chocolate. Period.
Stuffed and fed, it was back in the car for the final leg of the journey. It was nine thirty p.m. when we arrived, but more hugs and kisses came with our arrival. Despite the long day and keeping my aunt awake past her bedtime, we prolonged jumping into bed to sit poolside and reunite together as a family. Unpacking could wait; the Georgetown cupcakes I trudged from D.C. could wait; sleep could wait. We finally arrived at our destination, and we were anxious to plan beach days, shopping trips and menus for the forthcoming days.