My school year begins in a week, and that means my well-loved vacation is also coming to a close. While I keep telling my husband that my almost 5 weeks of break from work and grad school were just what the doctor ordered (it catapulted me to an absolute high, cleansing me from any stress), I know that having too much fun is not my reality: I am a teacher, and in the classroom I belong. I am already excited to roll up my sleeves again and go back to my old routine. Before I do that, however, let me share with you some collages of interesting experiences that made up my summer break.
1. Walk Down History
Besides visiting the three branches of the US government in Washington D.C. (which I shared in my earlier post), my husband and I also paid respect to our country’s forefathers and fallen heroes in our monuments and memorials: The Arlington Memorial; MLK National Memorial; Washington Monument; Jefferson Memorial; Lincoln Memorial; Korean War Veterans Memorial; and, National Law Enforcement Officers National Memorial. I found them fascinating considering they represent indispensable subtexts in our history. Among the monuments and memorials we visited, it was a certain spot in the Arlington Memorial that struck me the most.
We were going down the hill after witnessing a Wreath Laying ceremony at the Tombs of the Unknowns when I accidently eyed a small stone which inscription looked very familiar to me. It belongs to the thousands of American defenders of Bataan and Corregidor in World War II. How ironic, I thought. It was like an external force drove me to this spot, just after my husband purposely stopped to brush the freshly cut grass that covered it. I learned in my history class in high school the horrendous Death March which claimed many brave souls of both American and Filipino prisoners of war, but it never felt so real to me until I saw the stone honoring some of the heroes buried there. Immediately, the black and white picture that represented their 80 mile march from my history book flashed in my mind. I cannot imagine the wide-ranging physical abuse and torture they suffered before making the ultimate sacrifice. Standing in front of the memorial, I felt comfort in knowing that their sacrifices paid off, and never were they forgotten for their heroic acts. I was truly humbled by the experience.
2. Little Nice Trip
While our trip to Orlando was driven by anticipation of my forthcoming internship, the long drive to the city also gave me and my husband another opportunity for QTP (Quality Time Plus). Our first day on the road was filled with bloopers, starting with, not one but two, close encounters with car collisions (not our fault). I thought I was a bad driver as my husband calls me a SLD (Serpentine Lane Drifter); however, after this trip, I realized there were worse SLDs than me. I couldn’t believe how many drivers do not know how to use their signals when changing lanes. And, worst those who do not know how to share the road to mergers. I was profoundly shaken, but thankfully I was able to snap out of it immediately. You can’t lose your cool when you are behind the wheel – it’s a danger, danger! I teased my husband with my ever lambent wit about our nerve-wracking experience and we ended up both laughing aloud.
If there was one good thing that came out from this experience, it’s my realization of the importance of defensive driving. I am lucky to have a husband who is very protective of me. Sometimes I am blinded by my stubbornness, but I surely appreciate him. I did a lot of driving this summer, which I haven’t done before due to my schedule. Those moments behind the wheel were absolutely fun for me. In case I forgot to mention, yes, I do love to drive; so much so that my husband encourages me to have a back-up career change if needed. Maybe to a taxi driver, he said.
3. Simple Pleasures
Going to the beach was another highlight of our endless summertime. If we were not frolicking in the water or working on our base (tan), we would be walking on the shore with our walking sticks to help grease our creaky bones. We usually ended up our walk by cooling off at the pool deck, either enjoying the breeze while soaking up the picturesque scenery of the St. Pete Beach or, if we were in the mood, we would throw caution to wind and take dip.
One lazy morning, I also tried to test my fishing prowess by once again dropping my hook in the salty water to temp the hungry mouths that swim in the Gulf of Mexico near the historic Ft. De Soto. Casting the line was not a problem, but after not touching my fishing rod for a year, I almost forgot the mechanics of the reel. I had to get my husband to rescue me from another line entanglement boo-boo. As I was expecting, it was another failed attempt for an angler I am not. One redeeming fact, however, I have not hooked myself yet. I guess, as long as I go home in one piece that will be an enough consolation.
Dining out is something we enjoy as a couple but not as often as we would like. We have our favorite restaurants that we regularly visits on occasions, and one of them is the Hurricane Seafood Restaurant located in the heart of the Pass-a-Grille historic district. It has become a world-renown restaurant for its fine freshly caught seafood and its enticing selections from appetizers to its desserts. One of the takeaways of Hurricane is its rooftop twin bars that offer impressive views of the sunset. My husband always loves this restaurant. As a matter of fact, this was where he brought me after our engagement. While my husband will always advocate for its Grouper’s Sandwich, my palate has the tendency to experiment with its menu. During our visit, I ordered Vegetable Marinara and it surely satisfied my hungry tum-tum.
Going to actual movie theater is something we normally avoid. Not because of the cost, but because of the side issues (and you know who you are). But this summer, thanks to a gift package, we decided to indulge ourselves to, not only one, but two, cinematic treats. First, my husband’s choice: “A Most Wanted Man”, and second, my pick: “A Hundred Foot Journey.” Two different genres with equally satisfying flavors. As much as I wanted to share my views about these movies, I’ll keep it for later to avoid any spoilers. So, with that, I say, so long…
“Write it in your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
Enjoy the rest of your summertime. Thanks for reading!