June 29 – July 7th.

Airplane flights: I actually enjoyed them. I didn’t sleep the night before because the freaking ceiling collapsed and our house flooded (that’s a whole different story) so I tried sleeping on the plane. Luckily, my attempts to sleep for five hours on the plane kept me busy. However, I was unable to sleep for a very long time without waking up. The flight back home was more comfortable because I actually got some sleep the night before so I didn’t feel obligated and desperate for some sleep. I slept some and listened to my audiobook (My Sister’s Keeper). My favorite parts were taking off and watching the ground grow distant, and the drops the airplane makes when landing. Good thing I like roller coasters. I couldn’t help but imagine what it’d be like if the plane was crashing though. That would be like a roller coaster whose drop is way too much, and then a dark end for us all. Shudder.

Day 1: The weather here is something I have never experienced before. Cloudly, no sun, drizzling…and hot as heck. It is the first time I actually enjoy having rain.

Day 2: Today we headed towards Key West, Florida. Half way there we stopped at a state park called Bahia Honda. Its shallow waters were amazing. The waters were warm but slightly cool compared to the blazing heat of the sun. The water was so shallow that I could walk with water up to my knees for at least 30 feet and just sit in the water. There were very soft waves. After I rinsed off and changed into my clothes my skin looked so odd…I could already see a tanline from my swimsuit! I was extremely clumsy and dropped my clean underwear on the sandy, wet floor of the changing room…it was gross. It is freaking sunny at the beach, more than California. Now we are in the Crowne Plaza Hotel, very classy and comfortable.

Day 3: Today we went to the Southernmost point of Florida, and the landmark stated that it was 90 miles from Cuba. For the second day in a row we ate hotdogs for lunch (25 cent hot dogs special seen at gas stations and supermarkets). Later in the day we took a tour of Ernest Hemingway’s house. It was interesting hearing about his and the house’s history. There were many cats that were descendants of his cat, Snowball, the six toed cat. For dinner we split up from the adults and ate at Denny’s (brother, Helen, David, me). The adults were extremely picky about prices, food and took forever to decide where to eat, so it was just more fun splitting up into our smaller, younger group. After dinner (and I had breakfast for dinner!) we went around to the gift shops and street shops. Just when I was about to start enjoying myself, it was apparently “late” (around 10 pm) and we received worried calls from aunts and mothers, so our fun was spoiled and we had to go back to our hotel.

Day 4: We took a six hour drive from Key West to Sanibel island. This place is much more pleasing to the eye. It is like the perfect place for retiring old people to relax. There are a lot of nice beaches, swamps, and greenery. We are staying at Holiday Inn, and our room is very homey with bright summer colors. We spent a few hours at the beach nearby (within 5 mins walking). The beach was full of shells….both dead and alive. Just piles of them. It was so fun to see the tiny clams (alive) digging into the sand after each wave crashed into them. The clumps of kelp floating in the water were homes to small fish and crabs. Our cousin’s wife and our uncle found HUGE (living) conch shells. Their shells were really pretty and about a foot long. My mom and I enjoyed ourselves as we sat in the sand and collected sea shells. It was simply amazing because only in Florida can you find a beach so calm and shallow that you can sit and lie down in the water 50 feet from shore. The waters were very clear and the sand was pure white. We went to “Cheeburger Cheeburger'” I guess the hamburgers were really good but they mixed up our orders after waiting for about an hour (eating with a 15 person party is such a hassle) and I didn’t get to eat the burger I ordered. Oh well, my strawberry cheesecake malt was THE best and totally amazing.

Day 5: We went to see the lighthouse today. It was really ghetto, and so after looking at it for five minutes, we left. Then we went to the grocery store. At first I didn’t like the idea of going there instead of more sightseeing, but we bought a lot of yummy junk for lunch and dinner, so I was happy. After enjoying my frozen White Castle burgers and generic pizza, we went to ride a six person bike. Four pedal-ers for each wheel. It was a really fun experience pedaling this huge bike with my family. After returning the bike, we got refreshing slurpies and $3.50 tourist shirts, shirts that my brother is too embarrassed to wear (even to bed???) After dinner we went back to the beach. My family found huge (live) conch shells they wanted to bring back to cook and eat…illegally. Typical Asians. I found one myself…it was soo cool pulling that huge shell out of the sand. However, I spared that little guy his life and I just put it back in the ocean. After playing ping pong, I just went back to the hotel to rest.

Day 6: It’s almost over but things are getting sour. I enjoyed today but it ended on a bad note. Today we went to the Everglades to this Native American reservation place (Miccosukee Indian Village) and after buying really nice jewelry and gifts from the gift shop, we went on an air boat ride. The engines were really loud and the cheap cotton balls they gave us didn’t really block out the sound at all. The air boat took us through the marsh and the cool air was thanks to the boat going at a fast speed. We stopped at these docks that were once home to Native Americans. Unfortunately, it is one of our last few days in Florida but we never saw any alligators.

At night we went to downtown Miami to watch fireworks. It was really nice because the fireworks were really big and tons of people around us were very excited and cheerful. People clapped and cheered whenever there were really big and pretty fireworks. These little kids behind us were soo cute. “OH MY GOD!” “LOOK AT THAT” “I LOVE IT” They were so excited; they were adorable.

We rented a room at Motel 6 instead of going back to my cousin An’s house because 15 people in that house with one bathroom was such a hassle. Surprisingly the Motel 6 room was very nice…comparable to our past hotels with maybe just one difference: older toilets. The reason for this niceness was because the motel used to be a Best Western. Ha, we got lucky.

The bad night started with my brother calling me “whiny” and my mom agreeing, so I said, “Fine, I won’t talk anymore.” I know, real mature, but whatever. After my brother and I grabbed McDonald’s next door from the motel, we were eager to eat it so we just got into the room and started eating. Then my mom got angry because we sat down to eat instead of turning on more lights (the room was already lit, however). Then she also tacked on the complaint of us being so selfish and not even offering if she wanted to eat anything of ours. It was ridiculous because the lights were already on. Who knew it was a necessity to turn on all the lamps in the room? Second of all, she already ate dinner at our aunt’s house (my brother and I did not like the selection of Viet food that the adults enjoyed) and refused to get anything at McDonald’s. Who knew we were still supposed to force her to eat our food? Honestly. I know I have some qualities worth complaining about, but my mom can blow her stack and get really irrational. She likes to use a bad situation to blow everything out of proportion. Like when she gets rushed by her sisters to get ready earlier in the morning, she puts her stress on us and blames us for not getting ready earlier, even though we were on time and nobody gave us a set time to be ready by. Her constant nagging ruins the fun out of everything. When I was dorming away from home and my family, our relationships suffered so much less. When I didn’t live at home, my mom would worry about me much more and tell me she loves me and misses me. When I live with her I get nothing but spiteful comments. Sometimes I really don’t want to deal with that anymore.

Day 7: We did nothing today. However, I did sleep in, eat, and then sleep again for about another 4 hours. The rest that I got was great. Finally. Sleep.

Day 8: Went to my cousin An’s house. Then we went to the mall. It was great because that mall had every freaking thing, I swear. From Coach and Gucchi to Ross. And the Ross here was upscale and organized. Can you believe that? The Ross back home is a mess. That’s about it.

Truth? Last two days were a bust. Wasted two days of being in Florida. Never did go to Orlando or Disney World. Sigh. Oh well.

The end. Back home, to the problematic house and the yelling.