There are a lot of spring break opportunities when you’re in college. You can go on an alternative break, leave the country, sit at home, take a road trip, look at grad schools, what have you.
I wasn’t really aware of this when I was a freshman, and you can bet that I spent all seven days of my spring break sitting alone in my room watching the first seven seasons of Criminal Minds online.
It was a long break that year.
Sophomore year I did almost the same thing, but instead I spent spring break sitting at my kitchen table writing a paper about Shakespeare. Isn’t it funny how we always have homework over spring break?
I honestly don’t remember what I did last year. That’s probably bad.
This year I was going to go on an Alternative Break, but it wasn’t feasible with my bearded dragon, so instead I bought a plane ticket with my brother Aaron Hollenberg ’13 and we went to Florida to visit my grandpa.
You can bet that Florida was pretty nice after the horrible frigid temperatures and snow we’ve been experiencing here in the mitten.
My grandpa has been in the same retirement park since I was three, so I’ve been going to Florida for a super long time. We drove the eighteen hour drive in my ancient minivan until I was about thirteen, which is when my father discovered airplanes. After that we flew into places like Tampa and Fort Myers, and my senior year of high school we drove again, much to my chagrin.
When we landed in Florida, it was so beautiful, warm, and sunny that I cried. And being the ex-swimmer that I am, I didn’t waste any time; as soon as I unpacked I headed straight to the pool.
I’d been going to this pool since before I had learned to swim, and it was super nice being back there with all the happy old people in my grandpa’s retirement community.
My grandpa has lived alone since my grandma died last year, and I think that he was happy to have some company. My grandpa absolutely LOVES to cook, so he made a big deal out of making us huge breakfasts, like pancakes eggs and toast, and he made us gigantic dinners every night followed by different kinds of pie. (Pie is kind of a big deal in my family.) We had wine with dinner every night and watched the end of the Olympics until my grandpa fell asleep in his recliner.
In the morning my grandpa would drive us twenty miles to the beach where my brother and I ran in the surf and looked for shark teeth. Casperson Beach is always covered in shark teeth, and when I was little my parents and my brother and I would spend hours combing the beach for them, sifting through shells and sand, looking for them. We’d put them in film cannisters to take them home in and decorate my bathroom with them.
It was so nice to see the ocean.
We found a few shark teeth, too.
But hands down the BEST part of going to the beach was the wild tortoise that we ran into on the boardwalk, just chugging away, going wherever he was going.
He was pretty neat.
My brother and I spent long days at the pool reading books, casually swimming, and listening to all the retired people. There was an old guy floating around the deep end in a very serious conversation about Flappy Bird, I kid you not.
My grandpa’s modular home is right off of a lake that has alligators, and we managed to see one sunning itself. I might be crazy, but I absolutely LOVE alligators and Aaron had to keep me from getting too close.
We also went to the brackish river to go manatee watching, but we didn’t see any. We did see a cute little lizard sunning itself on a rock, though.
Like most vacations do, it went by way too quickly. Soon we were waiting to board our flight back to the frozen tundra of Indiana. There was a man that looked like George R. R. Martin on our flight and I was a little bit worried that some of us were going to die Game of Thrones style.
When we landed, it was 12 degrees and I said a small prayer for the end of the semester and wishing for spring weather.
In my four years at Alma, this was definitely the best spring break that I’ve had. It certainly beats watching all seven seasons of Criminal Minds in seven days, that’s for sure.