February 25, 2011

Disney - Wishes

I feel a little bit like I’m living in a dream. This week has been a whirlwind of information twirling around my head, a week of discovering a new reality in an almost fantasy world... new people, new opportunities, new choices, new bus routes, new…everything. I’m loving it. I really am. Before I left home I didn’t realize just how amazing this opportunity was, just how amazing it is…but now that I’m here in Orlando, here at Disney World, I’m realizing that this is the chance of a lifetime.

Monday I checked into the Vista Way apartments and met all of my roommates, who seem so awesome and we’ve all been getting along great, then I said my goodbyes to my mom. Tuesday we had the day off, so it was filled with unpacking and hanging out with the roomies, then there was a big welcome bash at the apartments down the street. The theme was "Down By The Bayou", so it was mardi-gras, Princess and the Frog inspired. Very fun. :)

Wednesday we started our Traditions class, which is the class that every person who has ever worked for Disney has to take, it definitely gets you pumped up about working for the Company. I even got my first glimpse of the "secret tunnels" that everyone always talks about under the Magic Kingdom as we went into the park for a whole...wait for it...nine minutes. Oh yes, you'd be amazed at what a Disney instructor can teach you in nine minutes before whisking you off back to the University building. Once we finished the class, Mickey Mouse came in and brought a box full of our name tags in it, and we became official Disney cast members.

Then, what else are new cast members to do for the rest of the day? Go to the parks of course! First stop? Epcot. It felt so crazy weird to be going in the back way, to be behind the scenes, and then, bam, you're in the parks. No lines. No tickets. You're a part of the production.

Next on the agenda was jumping over to the Magic Kingdom and having a blast. Everything just feels SO surreal. It's been pretty fun because two of the girls in our apartment (there are 6 of us living together) have never been to Disney before, so everything is completely new to them. Seeing Cinderella's castle still amazes me and gives me goosebumps, but getting to see someone else see it for the first time is priceless. I forgot how magical this place really is.

Just a few minutes after we walked into MK there was a show going on in front of the castle and Donald Duck was saving the day, asking the crowd, "Do you believe in dreams?" And this little boy with curly black hair was sitting on his dad's shoulders, whispering, "I believe in dreams! I believe in dreams!" It's the little moments like that when I think to myself, "This is so worth it. If I can be a part of the magic for little kids like him, no matter how hard some of the upcoming days will be, it's worth it." :) 

I have so much to write about, this feels more like an outline of the past few days then a story (and I definitely have a lot of stories!), but hopefully I'll be able to make more time for this blog in the upcoming days. Then again, I still need to ride Space Mountain...get a picture with Flynn Ryder...eat at Ohana... tour the World Showcase...go Soarin..and...well, you get the idea...

Disney - The Night Before

The night before is a very scary and exciting thing...

The night before Christmas.
The night before kindergarten.
The night before high school.
The night before a race.
The night before a big move.
The night before a birthday.
The night before a new job.

There's just something about "the night before" that fills your stomach up with butterflies and makes your head spin. And the cure for it? Waiting till morning.

Since that day in October when I found out that I'd be moving to Florida, I've been waiting for reality to catch up to me. I packed my bags, I said my goodbyes, and I drove halfway across the country...but honestly, reality didn't catch up to me until about 3 hours ago when me and mom drove past the place that I'll check into tomorrow. Driving past that place that's almost my new home helped reality rush into my head like a wave.

So I went running and pounded out some of the nerves...but now that I'm back into our hotel room for the night... those butterflies are filling up my stomach again. This is the night before my whole life changes.

In just a few days I'll be running errands, working at Disney World, paying bills, and trying to figure out how to operate without a car while my baby blue gets some body work done...and I'll be doing it alone.


Totally independent.

I have a thousand butterflies swirling around my stomach right now, on this night before Disney World, and honestly... it feels a lot like Christmas.

February 18, 2011

Disney - Deer Trouble

I'm on my way to Florida!! 
And my car is wrecked.
Woot! Woot! 
Or, umm...not really. 
Me and mom left yesterday morning at the bright and early time of 7 am, and made our way across Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi, which is where the scene of the crime happened. 

Literally, 20 miles away from our hotel for the night, we're driving along, I say, "Mom, deer!" Mom says, "Oh!" Deer jumps in road. Mom hits brakes. Mom honks at deer (my car has a little "beep beep" horn that apparently doesn't scare deer very well) and then, "BAM." Deer hits right front bumper and flips over backwards. 

The good news: The deer was small. The deer didn't go through the windshield. Nobody was hurt. And the car is still drivable. 

The bad news: My parents officially gave me my little blue Honda a whole 5 days ago, and now it needs a whole new hood, front bumper, and front right side piece of the car. And I have to figure out some way to get around without a car for however long it takes to get it fixed...Disney has transport to and from work so I may have to use that, but I'm stressed because I want my car. Can you blame me? 

Anyway, my faithful car made it through another full day of driving, pulling us into Navarre right before sunset (the light is broken, so no night driving for us.) Tomorrow we should get to my grandparents house and then on Monday I'll make my way towards Orlando. Hopefully the rest of the drive will be a little less eventful!

It's been fun road tripping with Mom though! I'm getting crazy excited the more I realize, "Whoa. I've left my home. I'm in Florida. I live in this state now. This is crazy!" I'll tell you when reality totally catches up with me. :) Meanwhile, off to bed... the plan for tomorrow is to wake up early, walk down to the beach, and watch the sunrise before hitting the road. Have I ever mentioned that I love waking up to go walk on the beach and watch the sunrise? 

I think I'm going to love this state. 

February 15, 2011

Disney - Take Off

There's that moment when the plane is racing towards the end of the runway, getting faster and faster and faster, and you're sitting in your seat, with the tray up and your bags stowed away, and you think to yourself, "We're about to take off."
I love that moment.
I love the way your stomach drops just a little as the plane lifts up.
I love seeing the world fall beneath my feet.
But mostly, I like knowing that I am going somewhere.
In 33 hours exactly, if everything goes according to plan, my car will be loaded up with way too many clothes and a Florida SunPass sticker on the windshield, and I'll head south.
Take off.
A little bit of an adrenaline rush.
My familiar world will fall beneath my feet.
And I will be going somewhere.
This is it, the final countdown. The last few minutes of normality. A mixture of crazy excitement and bittersweet goodbyes.
This is the moment when my world is going faster and faster and faster and I'm sitting in my little seat, buckled in tightly, and I'm thinking to myself, "I'm about to take off." 
I'm scared, but I'm excited, because when it all comes down to it...
I love this moment.

February 13, 2011

Running - The Payoff

Pull on tennis shoes. 
Attach watch to wrist.
Strap cellphone to arm. 
Take one last sip of water. 
And run. 
Going the distance. Racing against my own times. Pushing myself to run longer than I want to, faster than I think I can run, and stronger than I believe myself to be. 
And the hardest part? That'd be putting on my tennis shoes and opening the front door.
It feels really good to have hard work pay off. 
Really great, actually. 
For the past year I've run for so any reasons. 
Sanity. To be strong. To eat carbs. To sweat. To pound out problems on pavement. To reach goals. I've run because I needed to run. 
It may not make sense, but it's really been a huge anchor in my life...when things feel overwhelming, you just run them out, and they shrink back into perspective. Maybe it's one of those scientific "endorphin high" things...who knows? But I've never run for pay off outside of my own personal goals, I've run for me. 
And somehow, that's working out into a pretty sweet deal. Scholarship money. A new team. A new experience come fall.
I'm so excited to have an opportunity to run in college. I feel so blessed to have people who have told me, "What have you got to lose? Just call the coach and see what he says." Sometimes I need that little extra boost of courage. 
But mostly, I am thankful that on those 5 out of 7 days a week when I felt like being lazy, I put on my watch and laced up my tennis shoes instead. 

February 5, 2011

Going Against The Grain

Sometimes I just shake my head at myself and have to laugh, because I can be a bit ridiculous. For two years, two whole years almost to the day, I have been planning to do something different with my life. For two years I have been working hard to graduate early and then go off and do something a little crazy in between finishing high school and beginning college. And I did it and I'm doing it...and I was so pre-occupied by the "What am I doing and how did this happen?" feelings that only in the past few weeks have I finally gone, "Whoa! I did it! I'm taking crazy chances and it's amazing."

I love the fact that I am starting off my "on my own" life going upstream. Doing something different. Doing something exciting. I'm not following the traditional path, I'm trying out something scary for me, something a little intimidating, but something worth pursuing. I am taking a chance, giving up some things that I really would have loved to hold on to, because in the end I don't think that I will ever regret doing things differently.

After feeling so overwhelmed with what I am about to jump into for the past few months, all of a sudden this rush of excitement and anticipation has flooded my head. I am daily growing more excited for everything that's happening in my life, so many little things and big things and in between things that are all so new for me. I'm going against the grain, fighting the norm, trying to do things differently because I am finding that I am most satisfied when I feel a rush of adrenaline facing the unknown. I feel like I am right where I am supposed to be right now, and I love it.