We leave beautiful and cold Chicago behind us and head to warm sunny Florida to stay with my brother and his girlfriend Bella. We took two quick flights, having a nice layover in Georgia to watch a quick show. Elli and are not the best flyers might I add and these two flights were very very bumpy making them a little less fun. You may ask why we are doing all this traveling if we don't like to fly... and that is very valid. For me I simply just get airsick yet I can sleep very easily anywhere and planes are no exception. So the only way for me to avoid these feelings are by closing my eyes and pretending I am indeed not on a plane and just having a nice snooze safely on a bed. For my lovely Elli she has flown all over the world but one rough 15 hour flight from Dubai left her an anxious flyer. Thankfully we have each other to stay distracted and hold hands for take off and landing. We are finding our balance of her needing a distraction like watching a film, playing a game or embroidering. Where as I tend to feel worse when I do anything but sleep. Maybe all these travels will make us feel better about flying.
Back to our adventures in Florida... We were very happy to finally be on the ground and greeted warmly by Dane and Bella. There was s short drive to their house where Tsuki their dog, and their two cats Tula and Grim waited patiently for us. Bella so nicely made us rice and curry for dinner which is exactly what we needed. Something delicious and warm in our belly. As we ate we caught up with each other and watched a show or two. It was so strange to be in the freezing cold to 65-75 degree weather in just a few short hours. It would have taken us days to drive, oh the technology that exists is amazing. With no real set plan we were excited to see where the next 9 days took us.
After waking up and realizing this is not a dream, we are actually spending 3 months traveling we were ready to start our day. First stop was of course thrifting! They took us to their favorite, plato's closet, even though Elli and I continue to say we are NOT in the market for buying things. Since we only have 2 backpacks and carry-ons that were already packed full to the brim. And an apartment full of boxes waiting to be unpacked when we return.. I got a shirt and we ended up getting two things for her brothers. We then headed to grab some lunch where we sat outside and continued to catch up now that we were a little less tired from a travel day. We also had a lovely walk on a board walk. We ended up going to a beautiful beach that was covered in piles and piles of seashells. For anyone who knows I am not a fan of the beach, I am not one to go lay down and tan for hours on end. Though I love a good sunrise, sunset and collecting shells moment. So I was all for it! We walked for awhile all jumping from pile to pile comparing shells, deciding which were pretty or cool enough to come home with us. Dane and Bella have so many amazing shells I had never seen before in person all around their home. After a few hours we decided to turn back.
Since the four of us all love to cook we had so much fun bouncing ideas and recipes off one an other. We also got really into making fun mocktails that went along with what we were making. Some of my personal favorites included Danes frozen strawberry with fresh pineapple that we ate with Mexican food. Dane made fresh pico and Bella made homemade tortillas. Another night was fresh orange juice and grapefruit juice with a raspberry tarragon compote we enjoyed with Elli's steak and beet salad with my roasted sweet potatoes. Finally, a moscow mule with three homemade pizzas, one with pineapple and feta, a margarita, and the last had onions, peppers and pepperoni. Dane made the dough and Bella made the sauce. All hit the spot perfectly. We enjoyed lots of wonderful home cooked meals where some nights we sat together in silence because the food was so good, others we talked and even some we had a show on in the background. They would show us something and we would show them another. It was fun to bounce suggestions off one another. My personal favorite was Wild Babies which simply was a documentary series that followed along a few animals as they grew up like lions, elephants, seals, etc. Baby wild animals I mean come on.. you cannot beat that!
We also enjoyed lots of yummy food out of the house like Taco Bell! If you know anything about Elli and me, we went more times than we would like to admit in Maine. Simply because there was one halfway between the Inne and where we lived. Plus it was the only one we had found with frozen baja blasts. Which is the best reason for going to Taco Bell. We did also enjoy some nicer cuisine at an asian restaurant and a farm to table place that had nothing on The Waterford Inne. Truly in comparison, my sisters food is the best far and wide. Lastly we went to my lovely grandmothers house where she and Charlie cooked us a nice lunch.
To list some fun activities we got up to I will start with my personal favorite which consisted of us with full bellies sitting at home in the living room with switch controllers in hand teaming up playing overcooked. Which is a silly little game where you are a chef that has horrible coordination and mobility trying to cook meals like sushi, burgers, donuts, etc. all to please the Onion King. Such a fun game, if you have a switch I strongly recommend. You can play alone but boy is it more fun and more chaotic with 3 loved ones. Continuing on we went to two different beaches than the one talked about earlier of course to collect shells and to enjoy the sun and water. Elli told me I had poor beach etiquette because I was digging a hole and the sand was blowing into her face. I apologized, laughed and agreed. Another reason to dislike the beach I guess. I cannot sit still and would much rather be burying or building something. Moving along we brought many more shells home. We went to plato's closet again where I got two more shirts and Elli got one as well this time. But it's okay because we are not in the business of buying things. So it worked out perfectly. We stayed strong... Elli got a tattoo of a flower that neither of us know the kind of. So if you see it and ask her she will say "I don't know." We went mini golfing at Tiger Woods' course where Elli got two holes in one and Dane got one! I was very impressed by the two of them. Bell and I tried we did very hard on 36 holes but sadly we came short. Dane won both rounds which was sad. We all gave it our best and a run for his money in the end he went home a champion and I sunburnt. The last adventure I will mention is the botanical garden we went to on our way to grandmas house. We got to walk around, see stunning flowers and plants, a great hall full of the history of the facility and the best thing was the children's section. I mean talk about a child's dream. There was an waterpark splash pad, a rope bridge crossing a river, a huge pirate ship playground, a fairy garden and honestly so much more. My grandmother said we had to check it out while we were here and boy am I glad we did. The whole experience over all was exactly what Elli and I needed for our last day. A walk in the fresh air and a space to take fun photos of one another. The day was not over though, we got to go home, pack and play overcooked!! Yet we had to wake up at 4 am and head to the airport.
Sadly our time with Dane, Bella and their furry kiddos came to and end. We are forever grateful for them hosting Elli and I. We enjoyed every second with them and cannot wait for them to be back up in the east coast. With our Florida travels coming to an end we prepare for 2 more flights onward to see Elli's family in Utah. Check in soon to hear about meeting the pilots on both flights! One for a good reason and the other for a not so good...
Greta Ann Vanderblue.