Tag Archives: miami

motherland

So this is it. I am home and it is beyond weird. Don’t get me wrong, it is nice to be home in a house but it is bizarre not to have constant company (especially after our crazy week in Florida) and to suddenly just be in England again. I guess the most notable thing that I need to share with y’all is that we made it home and that we made it home 100% disaster free!!! For a moment we did think that Bella’s bag had gone missing but it just came round late. There were no delays. We had lots of leg room. I honestly am astonished that we are here in one piece.  But enough about that, let’s talk about Miami.

Miami was awesome, and despite being there for less that 24 hours I think we both have agreed that we have to go back when we are 21. We got up early and decided to go and explore, heading straight for the beach which was gorgeous and the weather was so nice and it was just a perfect way to end our travels. I literally never wanted to move from that beach. But we did, and in search of food (obviously). We found a little cafe called The Big Pink and settled down to our final American meal which was a breakfast of waffles and banana (me) and a lovely looking fruit parfait (Bella) and reminisced a bit about how much fun everything is. We then ventured to the shops but as we both have NO money at all this was more of a window shopping excursion. We came across one of those awful beachside souvenir shops and decided it was only apt to purchase a disgustingly tacky item in our last destination. We both, after a lot of deliberation, chose very tasteful shorts with Miami Beach written across the bum. Bet you can’t wait to see those?

Anyway, time was running out and we had our final bus to catch so we just strolled along Ocean Drive in the sun and envied all the glamorous Miami inhabitants who begin drinking cocktails bigger than my head at around 12pm, and vowed to come back. After a final little stop on the beach and some moans about not wanting to go home, we headed to the bus and made it to the airport. This really isn’t very interesting because it was just so easy. We were really early, dropped our bags off and got through security within about 15 minutes and then just sat and waited for the plane. I did at one point drop my boarding pass, but luckily a nice old man picked it up for me. Luck worked in our favour yesterday. I feel like the only exciting part of the flight, which actually was very momentous, was the fact that we realised that we could drink on the plane! You can tell America has changed us – we worried that we might not be served, hunted down our IDs and asked very nicely. Typically, the air steward man was obliging and mis-heard us talking about how it was our first legal drink in six months. He thought we were giving up drinking for six months and was utterly disgusted at the prospect. However, when we put him straight and told him all our alcoholic trials and tribulations of the American drinking age he insisted that if we felt like we needed more wine that we should just let him know. How nice!

The rest was pretty standard. We landed, went through security, got our bags and met Bella’s dad and that was it. The year done.  AND IT FEELS SO WEIRD. After leaving Bella and her dad to get my little bus home I just found myself getting very confused. It literally felt like we were in Heathrow at Christmas about a month ago – I can remember it all so clearly and there I was back in the bus station in the same exact spot that I was texting Bella about a one legged pigeon at Christmas. It’s really odd because everything seems so familiar and yet so alien at the same time. I began making some very acute anthropological observations in this alone time. Here are just some of them:

  • English accents now sound really weird
  • English people are very pale and ill looking
  • Our roads are really narrow
  • Left over bunting from the Jubilee looks really sad in the rain
  • But I like all this Olympic stuff everywhere – it’s exciting!
  • Why are people wearing scarfs in June?
  • Why can I see my breath when I breathe?

Ok, maybe they aren’t anthropological but you get the idea. And another thing – I felt a bit lonely. I realised for the first time in about 6 months I was completely riding solo. No Bella to be my little travelling buddy. No girls in the house. No roommates. Just me. SOOOO…to rectify this I called my mum (who I had just woken up after two hours sleep) which she didn’t enjoy. Ooops! I think I am gonna miss this constant company. (Friends at home take note please and entertain me!) It is probably a good job I am starting work tomorrow because otherwise I would definitely be bored out of my brain. My amazing week with the J-Team has definitely not prepared me for only-childom again that is for sure!! Hmmm, I feel like now is the time to be reflective but I think I am too tired and jet lagged to do it. I will instead reflect on my time at Tesco – it got very excited over all the British food and even made my mum by crumpets, rice pudding and Marmite. I also got two of my disposable cameras developed and was happy to find I do have pictures of Austin and San Antonio so I can prove I have been to these places despite my lost camera!

SO, I guess that is it. I am home. It feels very weird, like America was some sort of weird dream. Maybe I am actually just asleep? That would explain a lot. I will reflect properly tomorrow. But for now – GOODNIGHT!

S xx

OHHHH and I would also like to announce we have completed 40/53 on our bucket list which I think is pretty good!!

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disasters on disasters

Honestly, I’ve had the best week ever this week but given that this is us, I feel like nobody will be surprised to learn that the week has not been without its disasters. Here are just a sampling of the many tales we have, including the highlights and the lowlights:

– We went to this hilarious restaurant called 50s Prime Time Diner where the idea is you’re at your aunt’s house for dinner and your server is your aunt/cousin/uncle – we had Cousin Katie. We were told off for putting our elbows on our table, slurping our drinks, beginning to eat our dessert before anyone else, piling up the plates wrongly, not setting the table quick enough, laughing too much, amongst many other things. My favourite bit though was when my brother put his elbows on the table one too many times and had to stand in the doorway pressing a sugar packet to the wall with his nose while we all pointed at him and yelled SHAME SHAME SHAME and another waiter tormented him. Sounds bizarre but seriously it was HILARIOUS.

– I also want to elaborate on the Peter Pan encounter. Aside from our breakfast with the Winnie the Pooh characters, he was the first character we met and he was possibly one of my favourites I’ve ever met – we were literally talking to him like he was our friend and he was majorly taking the piss and in the end shoved us both away going “go away girls” – possibly out of character for Disney but hilarious anyway? After claiming that there was no quintessential Peter Pan pose he made us do some sort of yoga/flying pose and then after he did the Peter Pan pose with my brother or someone he pulled us in to get a second picture – I think he liked us (although he was definitely also flirting with my brother and he was wearing green tights so)

– Also on the first day was another of my highlights where we were the stars of the parade – basically in one of the parades you go and like dance with the characters. This is mainly for little kids obviously but for whatever reason it was basically just us lot and Woody getting down in front of Cinderella’s castle which was BRILLIANT. We even ended up with our own personal photographer in the form of a Disney photo man who just stuck with us the whole time taking pictures. Later on in the trip we went back to do this parade again with Mr Incredible but unfortunately there were too many little kids for us to get any attention and so we just had to dance with ourselves.

– We stayed at the Hard Rock in Universal cause you get unlimited front of line access to all the rides with a hotel room key. There were 11 of us and 3 hotel rooms which works out fairly well but for some reason it was declared that the most logical way to organise the group would be to put all 6 girls in one room. This meant that Sophie and I ended up having to make nests on the floor out of spare bedding which was not the most comfortable. Ivan called us at 1am for some reason and then, despite the fact that we had to be up at some ungodly hour to get early access into Harry Potter land, I decided to stay up till 2:30 reminiscing about school with Georgie

– We ate at Margaritaville where, as I have mentioned, there was a live band and a British waiter and we requested Chicken Fried. We were really very lairy but not as sloppy as the very very drunk middle aged woman who was flailing about on the dance floor giving sultry glances to the unsuspecting band. There was also a hilarious man with the hips of a snake doing samba dancing with random girls which entertained me for quite a while.

– We also made a friend in Universal in the line for one of the water rides – he was about sixteen and still had braces but we chatted away and it even transpired that he was staying in the same hotel as us…sadly we did not see him again that night

– On Thursday evening we introduced everybody to Beer Pong and Flip Cup which went down brilliantly. At first us girls won but as soon as the boys got the hang of it they basically thrashed us…given that there were probably 6 girls to their 3 boys this is pretty shameful, BUT Sophie and I have definitely improved a lot and even made some actual shots! Everyone got VERY into it and we have literally never seen anyone be so excited as the boys when they kept winning. For the real authentic experience we’d even forced my parents to buy us a case of Natty which went down with varying degrees of success…

– IT RAINED. And rained and rained and rained. After 2 days of typically sunny weather it then proceeded to rain ALL THE TIME for basically three days solid which warranted the purchase of Disney ponchos. I am not even joking. We wandered about wearing what is essentially a glorified bin bag for three days and we loved it. We’d all bought animal themed Mickey ears and not to be deterred, we wore them over our ponchos in a show of great British spirit.

– We ate dinner with Cinderella, Prince Charming, the Wicked Stepmother and the Ugly Stepsisters who were hilarious and witnessed them all waltzing with guests which made my life

– Although we had been due to leave on Saturday morning, given the weather and the fact that we love Disney, we decided to extend our stay by a night; we weren’t trying to spend a day in Miami in the rain. In theory this was a brilliant plan but in fact it only led to to more disasters. That comes later though. As it was supposed to be our last night we ate at a place called Whispering Canyon Cafe which is one of my favourites, it’s in one of my favourite hotels and you get a skillet of all our favourite barbeque food and my brother got put in ‘canyon jail’ and so on and we all had a great time. UNTIL we went to leave. The others had all gone on ahead to the fun bus so it was just Sophie, Lindsay, my mum and I and as mum went up the kerb her knee dislocated and popped back in but then started to swell up crazily. None of us were really sure what to do but Lindsay (the 15 year old in this situation) took charge and ordered Sophie and I to go tell a Disney man. The first man we saw asked us if we were okay and how we were or whatever and we were like FINE and then proceeded to tell his friend about the incident, and so they all came like running down and then went off to get a wheelchair. There was some discussion about whether to call an ambulance (or as Lindsay called it an ambu-LANCE) but eventually they did and so while we were waiting for it basically my mum was sitting in this wheelchair in the pouring rain with an umbrella, just outside the hotel lobby, while Sophie and I chatted away with the manager guy who had come out to look after us. He was very sarcastic and funny and we were all making largely inappropriate jokes given the situation…anyway in the end it was decided that hospital was unnecessary so we said goodbye to our new friend and jumped into the fun bus and returned home.

– We got a private audience with Mickey & Minnie and we are pretty sure that Minnie was a Theta in another life cause while Mickey was completely baffled when we asked to kite him, Minnie knew exactly what was going on! They were too tall to actually kite so we made individual kites with them…we had such banter with the two of them and their photographer that he told us we were all awesome as we left which was sweet. Did I mention I LOVE MEETING CHARACTERS?

– Georgie and I spent a very long time finding out the etymology behind both of our last names and looking up our coats of arms…

– At one point, everything we went on immediately broke down on us. We spent twenty minutes sitting in the loading bit of Pirates of the Caribbean, broken down, waving at the woman supposed to be sending off. We spent ten minutes sitting in Nemo listening to the same song over and over again. We broke down briefly on Haunted Mansion. We broke down on Buzz, which actually ended up being very good for our scores as our guns still worked, especially for Georgie.

– And finally, the epic disaster that was today/leaving Orlando. After we decided to stay in Orlando an extra day, we decided it was probably about time to book our transport to Miami. This was directly after the knee incident so I wasn’t really thinking properly and accidentally booked the shuttle for the 11th. We needed it for the 10th. We emailed immediately after but got no reply, so the next day when we were at Typhoon Lagoon, Sophie spent a considerable amount of time on the phone trying to get them to change it. Various people were telling us different things and in the end she shouted at them a bit and they agreed to change it and told us they’d give us a confirmation, which we never got. We were becoming increasingly worried and so this morning, still confirmation less, called them and we were told that it was fine and the reservation had been changed. So, we all piled into the fun bus and set off for the glamorous pick up location of the Holiday Inn parking lot.

The people in the hotel claimed to have no idea where this shuttle company picked up from and so we waited there for LITERALLY TWO HOURS, during which time my parents took Faryl & Georgie to the airport for their flight and returned, before eventually giving up. We went to the airport and went through various options – a flight to Miami, changing our flight to London to come out of Orlando tonight – before eventually discovering a bus company that ran from Orlando for $60 each, at 7pm. By this point it was about 3 so we had some time to kill but so did my parents and everyone so that was gonna be fine. THEN we discovered that Faryl & Georgie’s flight was delayed so much that they were going to miss their connection (sound familiar?) so everyone went to kick off at the US Airways people. After initially being told they would have to go home via Paris, they have ended up doing this route home: Orlando –> Philadelphia –> Manchester –> London/home.

Anyway eventually we composed an email to the initial shuttle company and have been told we are getting a refund – yay – and the bus we ended up on was VERY luxurious with enough leg room for like a giraffe and wifi and so on. We arrived in Miami fine and arrived at our hotel, which is hilarious and run/populated entirely by guidos, but even though Miami looks SUPER fun we figured we were too tired/underage to bother going out so following the trend of this month we basically just went to bed.

In summary, I LOVE DISNEY WORLD (and thanks mum and dad for taking us and everyone on the trip with us/the J team!!) and I cannot believe that this is our last day ever ever of our year abroad. We are literally leaving TONIGHT. Expect a reflective post some time very soon!

B

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