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The International Writers Magazine
: My First Vacation

First Holiday
Holly Bates

I hung limply on my Grandfather’s shoulder, sleep still fogging my brain as I watched my parents run around like mad ants snapping at each other and collecting random items and stuffing them in already oversized bags.
"Are you excited?" my Grandfather asked enthusiastically, carrying me to his car.

As I flopped into the back seat still clutching my bedtime teddy, I was confused over what I should be excited about. I had no idea what was going on. We drove up the motorway, the sun just beginning to rise as I finally woke up properly and began to feel a flush of excitement creep inside me, realising that this wasn’t what we usually did on a Monday morning.

I asked questions non-stop from then on, but my parents seemed too hassled to answer them properly as we arrived at the massive building which was filled with weird people wearing weird clothes; people in suits scurrying around importantly and loud, angry people shouting at cowering attendants in brightly coloured uniforms. At last, after we had passed desk after desk showing very important pieces of paper which WE COULDN’T LOOSE, my parents suddenly turned into relaxed, easy-going people and we sat down in a waiting area. Some of my questions were then answered as my father took me to the window and showed me huge metal birds all lined up outside. I was highly suspicious however; these lumps of metal were meant to take us ‘across the sea to a different country’ were they? Mmm…

I thought the seats were pretty comfortable in the ‘aeroplane’, my little legs bounced off the end and I had plenty of room for my teddy too; other people moaned really loudly about them though, especially the big man in front of me. He moaned about the food too, but I thought it was great, like a picnic… but not outside. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of my first ever flight as I fell asleep somehow, apparently I slept a lot as a child, even through exciting things, so I ended up waking when we were landing, at which point I was told to act like a fish and suck sweets, which I thought was pretty fun.

The heat was amazing; I had never felt anything like it before in my life. It was like the sun had been moved closer to us, where ever we were! I loved the place we were staying, all low white buildings and fun shops full of toys and sweets; a swimming pool AND the sea, loads of sand (but sometimes it was too hot to stand on). My parents were like different people here, all happy and not stressed; they let me stay up late, eat far too many sweets and bought me presents every day. It was a like I had a different life in this place; I got up and had a swim everyday floating about in my water-wings with my dad encouraging me to swim, despite the pool being freezing in the mornings. We ate out everyday; I did try the odd food placed in front of me: strange pink seafood, loads of yellow rice with vegetables in and they even tried to make me eat octopus. But I was strong; I stuck to my chips and chicken shapes; that part was just like home. In fact some of the area was a lot like home; most people spoke the way we did, and many of the shops near the seafront sold things I’d seen when we went to the seaside where we lived. Really, it wasn’t so much the place that was so different; I mean the weather certainly was; but it was the feeling of being somewhere different. It was a strange, peaceful atmosphere where we did things we would never usually do back home. It was a different pace of life too, my parents weren’t rushing to work, or to the supermarket, or to do the housework…they did things in their own time, and the only issues were where to eat that night, or what presents to get my grandma.

It seemed to pass far too quickly; all the trips to water parks and some boring ones to old buildings; the endless days on the beach building then destroying sand castles; collecting shells and taking lopsided photos with my own disposable camera. I packed all my little souvenirs into my case carefully, feeling quite confused. I wished we didn’t have to go, but also had quite an ache inside me for home; for my own bed with big Care Bear sheets; for my crazy cat and the little things I did everyday with my grandparents; I really missed them.

I was very casual about the flight home; after all I was a flying regular now. I clutched my teddy, who was now an international traveller like me, and looked back on my very first holiday fondly, almost like a dream. Scribbling away with the free crayons the nice, smiley people had given me (so many perks to being a kid) I fell in love with the idea of holidays and decided I wanted to go on another one soon, perhaps next week?
© Holly Bates May 2005

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