Monday, July 27, 2015

Last Summer: Florida

A few months after I came home from California, one of my friends, Kaitlin, invited me to go along with her and her family to Florida. I was so excited! I've been to Florida once before, on my little sister's Make A Wish trip, but we spent most of our time at Disneyworld; so, this was going to be my first time seeing Florida outside of what Disney had to offer.

After talking for weeks about this trip, the day finally came for us to head to the airport bright and early, and board the plane. We spent most of the morning travelling, and then around mid afternoon we landed in the Sunshine State (although funnily enough it wasn't sunny at all- it was raining, which I came to learn happens nearly everyday in the afternoon for an hour or two). Her grandpa, whom we would be staying with for the first seven days, had kindly offered to pick us up from the airport, so we squished into his car and headed to our temporary home for the next week.

For that next week we spent our days in the water, whether it was at the beach or in the pool, and our nights playing board games. The Game of Things was a favorite of ours- I don't think one night went by where we didn't play that game. It was the best (and probably the closest I'll ever come to being tanned)! Not only were her grandparents kind enough to let me stay in their home, but they also introduced me to many of their friends who were just as lovely. I don't think I've ever met so many wonderful people in such a short amount of time in my life, or felt more at home in a home that's not my own.

When I was younger I used to call palm trees, hurricane trees.
This was only the second day and I was already sunburned.
It will forever bother me that my fork is upside down in this picture.
The Shell Shop!

 Once the week was up, we said goodbye to Dick and Kit (her first set of grandparents) and headed just a few hours away to Miami where we would be staying with Doug and Karen (her second set of grandparents) who were also unbelievably generous; and, for the next week we spent nearly everyday exploring a new part of Miami. We went on a boat tour called 'Millionaire's Row Cruise' where they show you all of the famous homes that reside in Miami. We spent a day at Jungle Island, where I held a parrot. We even went to a WINN DIXIE grocery store, which I've always wanted to do!

Both sets of my grandparents passed away when I was quite young, so getting to share Kaitlin's grandparents for a short bit of time was amazing. I remember my first night in Miami we went out to dinner at Johnny Rocket's (cutest diner with the best milkshakes) with Doug and Karen, and they asked me where my grandparents lived. I told them that I didn't have any, and they replied with, "Well for the next week you do," and that's something that I'll always remember.

The funniest cat I've ever met.
I've always wanted to go to a Winn Dixie ever since I read Because of Winn Dixie in elementary.
Not exactly what you want to read when you're about to see a show involving tigers and lions.
Yes, that is a goat. Yes, I am feeding it juice through a bottle.

Overall, this trip was amazing. I'll never be able to thank Kaitlin's grandparents enough for all of the kindness they showed me in those two weeks.

-Melissa P. Cooper

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