Kyle Smith ‘16 – Every year, students come back from winter vacation with stories to tell. When I told people I went to Colorado – but not for skiing or snowboarding – some of them gave me funny looks.

The Denver area was indeed very green; that is, for the time of year. The weather mostly stayed above freezing for the week we were there, visiting my dad’s aunt Peggy. She is the sweetest old lady you’d ever meet, and sharp as a tack too.

We got to spend time with her son too. There’s this place up in the mountains appropriately named Echo Lake; about an hour’s drive. It was almost eerie how quiet it was. A group of snowshoers stood way on the other side, having a normal conversation. You couldn’t make out what they were saying, but you could still hear them. It almost felt wrong to be there, tourists disturbing nature’s peace and quiet.

For the next day, my dad had bought the three of us tickets to an Avalanche hockey game. Our former Red Wings coach, Mike Babcock, and his Toronto Maple Leafs won 7-4. I would have supported Toronto, but I wanted to come back to Romeo alive.

My trip to Colorado was more than an opportunity for firsts. Sure, I did things like fly on a plane, attend a live play, see the new Star Wars, and learn things about my family that I hadn’t known before; but it was also an escape from small-town Romeo, where I’ve spent my whole life.

You might know the feeling of being trapped in the same-old-same-old, or constantly being reminded of the bad things in your past. I was sick with senioritis and cabin fever, and needed a getaway.

Toward the end though I caught another illness: home-sickness. I missed hanging out with my friends. The way the town looks at night, coated with snow and Christmas lights. I realized how much I appreciate the little things that make Romeo where I belong.
Vacations should be about gaining new perspective on life. It’s okay to need a vacation from our small town and the repetition of every day once in awhile, but nothing will beat coming home to familiar faces and the place you know best.

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