As I sit, slouched, in my cluttered kitchen while eating leftover Chinese food from a take-out box, I begin to reflect upon my summer vacation of 2013. You see, I’ve reached the point of my summer break that I like to call the “summer slums.” Now, the summer slums mark the portion of summer break where everything kind of settles down and everyone prepares for the new school year. The typical traits I possess during the summer slums include boredom, lethargy and an overall deflated mood (hence the word “slums”). The realization of the upcoming academic year begins to set in during the summer slums, and this year in particular I have been ever reluctant to face that realization. This is because in 7 days (ONE WEEK) I will leave my hometown and go to college.
Don’t get me wrong, I am very excited to attend college. But this summer has been absolutely perfect. It has been exactly what I envision the ideal summer break to be, summer slums and all. And I find myself growing increasingly attached to this in-between time of my life, where one chapter has just ended (high school, childhood), and another is about to start. I find myself extremely reluctant to say goodbye to the summer lifestyle.
And it’s always been this way, really. Ever since I can remember, I have been particularly fond of the summertime. Out of all my childhood memories, the ones made over the summer have a certain warmth and glow to them that can easily coax a smile from me. It is a detachment from reality, almost like a dream. Summer has always been, for me, a time of carefree jubilee. Yes, that rhymed and yes, it was completely necessary.
But let’s focus on this summer. How should I describe this summer? Simply labeling it as “perfect” like I did above is nondescript and fails to adequately portray these past months…. This summer has kind of been like the Chinese food I just finished eating!
Hear me out. The Chinese food was a chicken and noodle dish with lots of vegetables, and included pineapple and jalapeños. Each bite was a unique variation from the last: the sweet and spicy flavors continuously complementing each other. Due to the irregular shape of the take-out box, the food was unevenly heated from the microwave, so that one bite might have been refrigerator cold while another was scalding hot. These leftovers, seemingly uninteresting and mundane, are actually a spot-on metaphor for my fantastic summer!
This summer was a hodgepodge of family and friend fun, relaxation, and self improvement. There were dozens of “sweet” moments such as reading a book or lazily lounging in the sun. Equally as frequent came the “spicy” events such as bike riding or hiking with friends, and taking a road trip with my family. And until now, there was never a moment when I wasn’t captivated, engrossed, and completely content with whatever it was I was doing. Ah, the euphoria!
But in all honesty, it all comes back to my friends. Without them, my summer would be nothing.
Here are some of the summer highlights I’ve had with my friends off the top of my head (be warned, most of these are situational memories meaning if you weren’t there, they don’t mean much to you, kind of like an inside joke):
- renting and riding around on cruiser bikes in the rain
- watching one of our own perform music outdoors for the public
- having a barbecue
- spending nights looking at the stars on top of a hill in a golf course
- doing arts and crafts together
- countless movie nights
- sending our love to each other through not-so-secret house/car decorating
- going out to a nice restaurant in nice dress clothes
- completely drenching our nice dress clothes in a nice fountain
- getting sno-cones at the River Walk
- watching the movie premieres of both Despicable Me and The Conjuring
- going to see Imagine Dragons at Red Rocks together
- What Are the Odds?
- eating homemade chicken tacos
- attending a local musical
- going night swimming with glow sticks in the pool then going to a hot tub instead
- welcoming home a friend who had been gone for a month
- helping out at a day camp
- traveling to Denver to visit my friend’s sister for a night
- playing telestrations
- making homemade ice cream
- “watching” Teen Wolf
- going on originally innocent walks around town that quickly turned out to be us messing with everyone around us
- free pie day (almost) every Wednesday at Village Inn
- Liberty Point at night
- scavenger hunts, including Chinese Fire Drills (although I missed this)
- renaissance festival (and this, too)
- eating homemade food made by a different person every time
- having my belly button violated by just about every one in one night!
- the morning after at Cracker Barrel
- watching a meteor shower
- laying with two of my best friends in the front of my yard and feeling so very happy
- getting word of the day and (sometimes) sharing it with each other
- And lastly, although I’m sure there are many more, one of the biggest “friendship” highlights of this summer were the little things. The moments of intimacy between friendships and the self disclosures and revelations which came about during the awkward silence following a movie or laying in the grass and looking at the stars. These little moments of colloquial conversation such as discussing our greatest fears or asking each other for advice on a dilemma truly molded the love and empathy I feel for each of my friends.
As the final week arrives, I hope that my case of the “summer slums” passes quickly so I can enjoy the last few days with the people I love the most. As each of my friends head their separate ways, I can only hope that they find that sweet and spicy balance to their lives away from home. I wish all the success and friendship to each of them at each of their respective universities, and lastly want to let them know how much, so much, I value their friendship in my life. I love each and every one of them. I used to think that having friends like the ones I do didn’t happen in real life. I look around and see so many people who have crummy friends or who are a crummy friend to someone else and I feel bad for those people. I really did luck out.
Here’s to you, summer 2013. You truly rocked my socks.