What I Learned on My Fall Break Vacation

Here’s a list of things I don’t miss about Florida:

  • Gigantic flying cockroaches (because they’re also here!)
  • Sharks at the beach
  • Hearing the drug runners idling their boats down our canal after dark with the lights off
  • Alligators in the yard
  • Sand burrs
  • Fire ants
  • Turning on the air conditioning on Christmas day
  • People selling LSD to kids at my Catholic school
  • No see-ems, which are like mosquitoes, only smaller and more aggressive, little gangster vampire bugs
  • Living in a county where the median age is 57, and I’m 9
  • Having a higher IQ than my third grade teacher
  • Barnacles
  • Riding around with my babysitter and all of her friends, who are all smoking pot with the windows rolled up, and me in the backseat, trying to breathe through my jacket sleeve
  • Hot sand
  • Legally blind drivers on the highway
  • Beach water the temperature of a bath tub
  • My mom being sick all the time, and my dad falling in the shower again because he drank too much.

Until a few weeks ago, here was my list of things I did miss about Florida:

 

 

 

But over fall break, I traveled to the Gulf coast of Florida and spent some time. So now I have a few things to add to that second list:

  • Beautiful sunsets over the water
  • Gulf shrimp
  • Fruit trees in the yard
  • Dolphins playing out in the bay
  • The smell of citrus blossoms
  • St. Augustine grass
  • Really good Cuban food
  • Sand the color and texture of baking flour
  • Flamingoes
  • Birds of paradise
  • Gentle green waves that I can wade into without being knocked over
  • Perfect shells
  • Bright art-deco architecture
  • Spanish arches and red tiled roofs
  • My mom and dad, as imperfect and crazy-making as they were. They were fun and played music and held me and sang. Yep. I do miss them.
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