The power of vacations

Kirsten - Lexington, Kentucky
Entered on December 12, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

Ahhh… The power of vacations. Vacations are a means to temporarily escaping my world and returning refreshed. Josh, the boy who has been calling me all week, he is not here. Thank god. Neither are friends who were never truly friends, parents who obsess over my finances, grades and every movement. There aren’t any teachers to assign five page papers due in a week; there are no exams, no meal plans and no roommates who alter the thermostat while I am sleeping. On vacations there is fresh air. The kind that reminds me what it feels like to breathe again. There are unlimited opportunities, experiences and adventures just waiting for me. At my university I am Kirsten, but on vacation I am Niña from Barbados. The age I give people doesn’t match my license, and everyday might be my birthday depending on how I feel. I will eat steak every night even though my diet prohibits it. These are just a few vacation benefits.

When I am at home, my parents, Karen and John stalk my finances. They monitor my bank statements, my checking receipts and the price of my clothes. I have saved feverishly for the entire year and as I sit and ponder the amount of money saved, I imagine spending it.

Because of my family’s fruitfulness they have always had enough money to afford nice things, but have chosen against it. On my vacation I will splurge for my mother, father and I. Cards will be swiped; checks written and cash paid for overpriced dresses, brand name shoes, glasses and purses for my mother and I. Shopping will be done in he high-end stores that we would only window shop in before. My dad will be showered with expensive silk ties, and fancy new gadgets that he had been eyeing. We will enjoy the fruits of our labor. But this splurging can only be justified on vacations. In reality I will be deemed irresponsible but on vacations people are grateful for my unselfishness. No one asks how much was spent or if I can afford it. I believe in the power of vacation, especially vacation shopping.

Shopping can rarely be afforded by starving college students anyway. I know, because I am exactly that, a starving college student. A starving, stressed, college student! I know that attending a university is a privilege. My parents often claim that they would love to be in my shoes. Though I am grateful for the experience, I do consider school beyond stressful. Every morning I wake up at seven thirty. I tread to class in the Kentucky cold, by the time I reach my destination, my fingertips are numb as well as my ears, my nose is red and I shiver for at least ten minutes after I’ve settled in my seat. In class we elaborate on previous lectures, I furiously write notes hoping my hand will keep up with my teacher’s words. I stalk the clock, praying for fifty minutes after to arrive, so I can rush out. Only to repeat the same procedure at least four times a day. At lunch time I swipe my meal plan card at either one of the two restaurants on campus. Not really options, considering they serve the same thing. I eat at these two restaurants, alternating for months on end; the disadvantage of having no transportation or real currency to enlighten myself beyond this campus. I spend at least half of my day with a complete stranger who lives with me in a bedroom the size of most homes’ bathrooms. We are accompanied by a mass of stuff that we have both accumulated over eighteen years of life. My neighbors stumble in drunk somewhere around 3:00 A.M. and I spend the majority of my night attempting to ignore their cries, wails, and falls in the hallway. Unfortunately my attempts always fail, and because my sleep has been interrupted, it will require at least an hour to fall back into slumber. Though I appreciate the experience of college, I often wish to get away, if just momentarily. Again, this is why I believe in vacations.

I’ve been with my boyfriend, Shawn, for a year and a half. We have a good relationship but occasionally I need a break. Last year, I was able to spend a week of my summer vacation at Cocoa beach. I went as a babysitting job but had a lot of free time. My good friend Ashley also came and we had planned out our entire week perfectly. When we were not at the beach with Julian and Anthony, the two kids I babysat, we were allowed to use their mother’s truck. We spent our vacation visiting places like the house of blues, Club 7, and local tourist attractions. It could be considered one of the greatest vacations I’ve had, if only it wasn’t for one little problem, Shawn. He called every few hours; asks where I was, who I was with, and how long I’d been there. He would also ask what I’d done with my day and would point out anything that sounded peculiar or untruthful. He then would re-question the same question in several different ways to be sure that I was not lying and would call me back within the next few hours to repeat the process. Those are not the vacations I believe in. On my vacation, I will turn my phone off, and simply not have a boyfriend. I will meet new people and flirt shamelessly. I will give them my wrong name, and number, yet smile genuinely the entire time. I think I will tell them that I am Viviane from Vegas. If they ask more personal questions, I might make an elaborate lie, filled with names places and dates that will intrigue them, or I will ignore them and change the subject. I will provide them with nothing but mystery or maybe an open book of history that I have never experienced.

I believe in the power of vacations because they are revitalizing. They allow me to take a break from my stressful life, and though I know I have to return to it eventually. I am able to do -so with a fresh perspective. I can walk into my Mondays with the spirit of a light hearted rejuvenated woman, instead of a stressful, frustrating, angry bitch. It makes it so much easier to get work done knowing that I have had time to enjoy myself and put my worries behind me. I will be able to tackle my problems as small obstacles instead of massive hurdles. Ahh… the power of vacations.