Recent Journeys

Two weeks ago (good grief, how does time go so quickly?!), I was on vacation. I needed it. Spring has been sluggish for me. I’ve had a hard time getting a rhythm going so I looked forward to a change of scenery for a week to just give myself a chance to re-set.

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Seriously, he’s adorable and never stops moving (nor has he learned where a camera is yet LOL)

I started out my week with family. My nephew is already getting ridiculously big and has the best smile. I even successfully stayed alone with him while his parents had some pool time. Yes, he was mostly asleep for that time but small victories people. I am not a baby person. We also went and frolicked at IKEA for an afternoon – I do enjoy a good walk through IKEA even if the crowds are ridiculous.

I then went off to Walt Disney World for a few days. This was big for me as it was my first official solo trip in which I was on my own for the entire time. I kind of adored it. I didn’t have to worry about anyone’s whims but mine. I could go on attractions I hadn’t been on in forever or wait in lines for those that I enjoy but the others could care less about. I could decide to watch the parade or the night shows or go do something else while those went off. I didn’t have much of a plan. Which for Disney these days means I knew exactly what parks I would be in, what attractions I would be riding, what shows I would watch when and where I was eating at all times. But I didn’t know what I was doing in between my plans and that was delightful.

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The food in Pandora is pretty (and tasty too!)

I will note I got to see all the new things at WDW and I enjoyed them all. I’ve heard a lot of mixed things about Animal Kingdom’s newest land, Pandora, since I got back (I managed to avoid most spoilers before my visit) and I have to say, I agree at times and other times I wonder if I visited a different place LOL as those bloggers and podcasters. Pandora is small but that’s the point. Disney Imagineering is trying to create a very personal, intimate experience with Pandora and I think they mostly succeed. There are kinks to work out but there always are with new attractions. Pandora is gorgeous; easily one of the loveliest things I’ve seen come out of Imagineering in my lifetime. It is different from day to night in a way we haven’t seen in the parks before. Both the official attractions are gorgeous; one worth the wait and one not in my opinion but that is usually the way of it right? For me, Flight of Passage was incredible. I think next time I ride Soarin’, I’ll feel like I’m on an antique. It was grandiose and yet so much…my experience. I rode a Banshee; there were other people in the room at the time but I couldn’t have told you they were there. I flew; I felt that animal breathing underneath me. I don’t know how they did that but I adored every minute of it and would happily wait for it a couple times next trip to do it again. The other ride? Has an audio animatronic to die for. It’s beautiful in every sense of the word. It’s also really short. Far too short for the amount of time you wait to board your boat. And also, any bets on how much time passes before that audio animatronic has technical problems? We’re still waiting for the yeti to be fixed…At least Everest has a ride without the yeti. Take away the Shaman from that ride and you just have a really short pretty boat ride.

I critique because I love of course. I always want them to keep moving their ideas forward and keep wowing me. But keeping what they have up and running is important too. Wowing me was certainly on the menu with Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom. That show is incredible. And overwhelming. There was almost too much going on; I didn’t know whether to watch the fireworks or the Castle projections. So, repeat viewing is a must for this show (as is getting your spot at least an hour early; I was used to Wishes where I could stroll up 30 minutes before and get a good spot so this threw me a bit). I missed the narrative of Wishes a lot; HEA is just sort of an compilation of greatest hits and current favorites. I ADORED that Hunchback of Notre Dame got some serious love from this show; a lot of “forgotten” or often overlooked Disney characters poked their heads up in this one and I can only applaud that. The Disney geeks will always want more of that for ourselves and also so we can share those movies with the new generations. Yes, I love Frozen but it was nice, like I said, to see Quasi get his moment center stage too.

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Best part of the reunion was hanging with this crew for the weekend

After I let my inner eight year run rampant, I headed north so my inner 20 year could re-visit undergrad. It was time for my ten year reunion at Gettysburg College. I find it so hard to believe it’s been ten years. In so many ways, I feel am the same kid who lived there for four years and in so many ways, I know I am not. I especially loved getting to room with my Senior year roommates again and just be around friends for a weekend. I am coming up on five years in Tallahassee; the longest I have lived anywhere since finishing undergraduate studies at Gettysburg and I’m feeling that a bit. It’s hard to describe exactly. I enjoy my work a lot; always have and I like Tallahassee but I’m still working on making it home and one of the things I’ve never quite succeeded in doing is finding a solid core group of friends here like I always had at home or in school. It’s different now of course; so much of my age group is married and has young children and doesn’t have time, or make time, for friendship outside of those groups. Which is fine and I understand. It’s just…it would be nice to have some of my oldest friends closer geographically for sure. So, I clearly just need to travel to visit people more. The whole student-loans-take-over-my-bank-account lifestyle will just have to take a hike and I’ll fly around and visit people instead.

So, that is what I have been up to. I need to do a reading round-up here and share a few recent recipes (as well as an experiment with Hello Fresh!) here too. I’m hoping to get back on a schedule on so many things (cooking! reading! exercising! blogging!) so fingers crossed I can. And oh yeah, work travel next week to add a challenge to scheduling should make this interesting per usual.

You’re Going Again?

I both love and loathe that question. I was trying to catch up on my Disney podcasts at work today. There is nothing better to listen to when you’re just checking, copying and pasting metadata for digital library records. So, during Lou Mongello‘s interview of Jeff Kurtti (I told you I was way behind), Mongello brought up the question that starts this blog. As someone who is counting the hours (literally) to her first Disney trip in two years, an impossibility long time for me to go between trips, I’ve recently been getting this question again.

My sister and I at Chef Mickey’s, Sept. 2009

I often preempt the question to be honest. Before they can even ask why I’m going again, I launch into all the new attractions and things I need to see, do and eat while I’m there – actual new things and then other things that I am going to do for the first time. Yes, I’ve been 12 times and still haven’t done everything yet. This trip coming up has lots of firsts since I’m going on my first Disney cruise ever this time around, finally getting to the Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian, and seeing Hallowishes from the Polynesian beach. But it’s not just the new things one goes back for. I truly feel like I am going home when I go to Walt Disney World. This is the place I grew up; the place I am completely myself – the happy-go-lucky, adventurous 8 year old I guard jealously most of the time gets free reign when I am in the kingdom of Disney in Florida.

Will people stop asking me this question? No, not any time soon. For some people, they don’t get it and that’s OK. Every one has their favorite vacation spot for one reason or another, Walt Disney World is mine and I get to see it again in 81 days, 3 hours and 4 minutes!

Clearly I forgot something…

Happy Dance Three occurred with little fanfare two weeks ago now, as after I finished the last paper I had to pack up all my stuff yet again to be moved into storage for the summer. My gypsy ways are starting to get old. I cannot wait to put down roots somewhere for a few years. I must be getting old…

I’m officially home now for the month of May. A month that is already filling up with activities so I’m not sure how much of a break it is going to be in the long run. But, I figure it will be the last time I get a whole month of nothingness. I plan on enjoying it! This coming week I have to get my paperwork straightened around for my internship this summer and I want to work in our basement too. It needs some serious organizing. Plus, Iron Man is out. Need to go see that. The beginning of my summer movie fun 🙂

I did finish Becoming Jane Austen today. The first of my summer reads. I liked this exploration of Jane’s Life (yes, we are on a first name basis….deal with it). Being the English major I was (and still wish I was most of the time), I liked how this biography approached her work as an extension of what was happening in her life. True, only one, if any arguably are, of her novels is slightly autobiographical, but her emotional state while writing is often easily linked to events in her life. I know this book took a lot of criticism for the emphasis it put on Jane’s relationship with Tom Lefroy (and inspired the movie which I could have done without in the end). Yet, I think Jon Spence raised some very interesting points and did a very thoughtful examination of Jane’s work and correspondence. I’ll have to sit on it a few days to really form an opinion of it. A part of me wants to think she had her one great love affair that didn’t work out but the other part of me claims she was far too practical and prosaic to spend her life alone for the sake of a few meetings and flirtations at assemblies one season. But then again, I love Jane best because I’m fairly certain she was like me: a realistic hopeless romantic with a bit of cynicism thrown in for good measure. We always want to believe in the happy ending but we’re too aware of human nature in the end to have faith in it lasting.

On that happy note, let my vacation begin!