Not every Spring break needs to be filled with sand and sunburns.
I was supposed to go to the beach with a few of my sorority sisters for spring break. It was supposed to be a cute little trip to a beach town with the girls, with days spent covered in sand and sunburns. However, the morning of when we were supposed to leave, my plans fell through. It was a combination of not knowing all the details I needed to, not having a place to stay the whole time, and having the biggest wave of homesickness of the year hit me in the parking lot of a coffee shop.
Luckily, through a lot of flight searching and coordination, my parents put their heads together and found a miracle chain of cheap flights home to Nashville. It turned into a whole ordeal, considering how Nashville was in the middle of a tornado and thunderstorm fest, and I wound up sitting in O'Hare International Airport until past midnight, but all the while I could not stop smiling.
As soon as I felt the somewhat concerning touchdown of the wheels on the runway at BNA, I almost had tears of joy in my eyes. I sprinted down the long corridors of the airport and jumped into my youngest sister's and dad's arms.
The next week consisted of visiting my favorite places in town, long mornings with Mom, and countless walks around the neighborhood with Dad. I didn't even need to go to the beach to get tan, for the first walk I took with my dad I got the sunburn (and tan lines) to last me until summer. Luckily, Georgia and Belmont had the same spring break as South Carolina, so I got to get lunch with a couple of my best friends in downtown Nashville.
Spring break is the only opportunity all spring semester to go anywhere for more than two days, whether it be vacation or home. But why should "going home" not also be "going on vacation?" I am so lucky to call Nashville my home, with so much to do and so many towns around it that I have learned to love and explore. People might say "you live in a vacation city," or "you don't live in a boring place." I was maybe downtown for a total of four-and-a-half hours the entire nine days I was home. I had so much fun this spring break because I spent it with my family, and saw for the first time how much I actually did miss home.
I'll share this funny story: I was in Spanish class a few weeks ago and we were talking about holidays in the United States. My teacher asked me what I did on the Fourth of July, and I said, "yo miro los fuegos artificiales con mi familia" ("I watch fireworks with my family"). It was the most simple answer, but at that exact moment, as ridiculous as it was, it all hit me. Almost every year, I spent Independence Day away from my friends in New Jersey with my family. I loved it all except for the fact that all my friends were posting pictures from parties they would go to at home on the patriotic day. I never realized that 8 months later in a random classroom I would be wishing to be doing that same thing with my family and no one else.
So to bring this back to spring break, I used every single second of it to hang out with my parents and my sisters when they got out of school. I went to lacrosse games to visit my old team and I took so many drives in the sunshine down my favorite backroads, all the windows down even in the high forties. I realized that hanging out with my parents every day was my new favorite thing and that a conversation over avocado toast and tea in the early morning light with my mom was a prescription that I needed badly. To just have a break from school, to not have to worry about drama or essays or speeches to deal with.
Don't get me wrong, going to the beach would have been absolutely amazing — and a perfect idea for my sophomore year spring break. But freshman year, when we are all still new to the whole 'going out' and party scene, spring break is the "ultimate party." It almost felt like I had to go, like some high school pressure combined with fear of missing out. I had to remind myself that that kind of pressure didn't exist unless I made it so in my own head. And once I got past that, I had one of the best, most relaxing breaks ever.