I’ve been in Jacksonville, Florida with my boyfriend and his parents for the past 9 days. We’ve been soaking up the sun, observing animals at the Jacksonville Zoo, grilling delicious food, and relaxing– that’s what vacation is all about! I knew Florida would be hot, but summer in Florida is a whole new ball game. It’s been 90 degrees + humidity every day, so it ends up feeling like 100+ degrees. It’ll feel refreshing to come home to Vermont tomorrow. I look forward to wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants at night.
Yesterday was America’s most celebrated holiday: Independence Day. Although this day is meant for proud Americans to honor their country’s independence, many find themselves drunk early in the day and partying throughout the night. I often ask myself Why does this holiday feel so revolved around partying? It’s a question I believe I’ll be asking for the rest of my life.
In retrospect, we enjoyed a fabulous & sober Fourth. We fried like over hard eggs on Jacksonville beach along with thousands of other people for a majority of the day then ate grilled steaks and veggies at our hotel. We returned to the beach later on in the evening to watch annual Fourth of July fireworks. I’ve never experience watching fireworks on the beach, and I quickly realized that it is magical. The beach itself is a haven, but watching fireworks while squeezing Jacob’s hand, listening to the waves of the ocean, and feeling the sand run between my fingers and toes is something else.
The fireworks were the best I’d ever seen. They lasted for a full 30 minutes and ended with a very grande finale. We were extremely close to the fireworks; they were set off on the pier that was a mere one hundred feet away from us (the pier itself was much longer). That’s the same pier where we watched fishermen haul a small shark out of the water earlier in the week.
Fireworks will always be exciting– no matter what age. Being so close to them last night brought me back to watching them as a young child at Willow Park in Bennington, Vermont. I was so terrified of them then, and I clearly remember sobbing while my mom carried me away from them. I’m glad I can enjoy them now, but that is a very vivid memory of my childhood I can appreciate.
Aside from watching fireworks and celebrating the day with friends, I thought about how far America has come in its history. There have been many battles fought in order for America to become its own country, and since then it has experienced constant change (for better & for worse). Something that will not change is that America will forever be my home; it’s where I grew up, where my family is from, and where I’ll always return to. We as a country have a long way to go in terms of learning. We certainly are not perfect, for we face many struggles and issues; however, there’s an abundance of aspects we can be grateful for as Americans. Freedom may be the most relevant one these days. xo ~e.