Monika’s Musings

miscellaneous tidbits on marketing, advertising, and life in general

Day 2 – Good morning, Florida, a game of Quidditch and some love

October2

You know in college you make friends and they are some of the most amazing people you’ve ever met? And then they move on with their lives, often in far-away lands and there they meet someone? And it is casual at first, then it becomes an I-think-this-may-be-getting-serious thing, and then one day you get a wedding invitation? And you’re happy, but you’re also a little nervous? Because your friend, the one getting married, is so awesome, but you don’t know the stranger they’re marrying… Does s/he deserve to baste in the awesomeness that is your bff? Could s/he possibly be remotely as cool as your gang? S/he couldn’t! Right?

And so you worry a little bit. And then the wedding day comes closer and you worry a lot. And then … Then you meet the person and they have you at “Hello”. And it’s like you’ve know each other forever. And they complete your friend’s awesomeness with their own. And they make your friend super happy. And even though you didn’t know them until like two minutes ago, you realize that they’re exactly what you have always wanted for your friend?

Yeah. That happened. A couple of times during the trip, actually, but twice on that glorious Thursday when we woke up in Florida for the first time.

After I got over the initial euphoria that I am waking up in Florida, still in bed, I messaged Tracy (the bride to be) and she said that her and Bobby had been driving all night and they had just arrived in St. Augustine. I thought they’d go have a rest and we’d meet later on, and she asked me if I were crazy. Of course they were coming to pick us up immediately and they were taking us for breakfast!

There’s something to be said about the emotions you feel when you see one of your closest people in the world for the first time in 10 years. That’s what made this already special trip even more so – it was a long overdue reunion with some of my dearest friends who ended up living thousands of miles away from me.

So there was a lot of hugging and kissing and squealing and holding hands and jumping up and down – and all that stuff that you do when you’re just plain happy. We went to breakfast to this place called Wildflower where I felt like I was in a scene from a movie.

First of all, we walked in, and I looked around and Oh my god. We were just about the only people under 75 there. But they were the coolest, most tan, happiest-looking octogenarians I’ve ever seen. Talk about a retirement heaven!

And then, just like in the movies, the waitress came over, holding a pitcher of coffee, she introduced herself and poured us some. To those of you based in the US this is just a regular morning, I guess, but this stuff I had only seen on Hollywood productions. In fact, I would often feel like I am in a movie over the next couple of weeks.

After breakfast we let Tracy and Bobby go take a nap and headed towards Orlando to visit the Universal Islands of Adventure. For my birthday, my super duper colleagues had given me a ticket to go visit the Harry Potter amusement park there. Now, laugh all you want, but this was a dream come true for me.

The Hogsmeade village is done so well, you feel like you’re on the actual set. IMG_0681

We did this amazing 4D immersion ride during which we flew on a broomstick throughout Hogwarts and even played Quidditch with Harry – unbelievable! While we were queuing for it, we saw the Sorting Hat looking more real than in the movies even, and also walking/talking portraits made out of LCD TV screens, but so well, you could not tell they weren’t really magical.

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We spent a good part of the day at Universal and then met up with Mikey and his lovely wife Katie for dinner. They took us to the Red Lobster which I had wanted to visit for ages – ever since in my junior year of college Jen was telling me how few things in life were tastier than the Red Lobster biscuit (It’s true. I later had dreams about the damn biscuit and was left with no choice, but to find the best rip-off recipe on the net and still… not the real thing).

We had a wonderful dinner, catching up with old and new friends. I loved the fact that I was ID’d (not as much when the waitress told me she has to, if I look anywhere under 40… whatever…) when ordering a pint of local beer, and then the jetlag hit. So we called it a night.

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