I haven’t even left Florida yet and I’m already having withdrawals. Considering tonight is my last night here and we are spending it hanging out and watching the Badger basketball game, I decided I would spend some time reminiscing and reflecting back on all the great memories that were made these past few days while here in Florida with one of my great friends.

Just a little background on mine and Kate’s friendship; she moved here in second grade from Madison and we became friends right away. Me being the bubbly person I am, I went up and introduced myself to her and was that coveted person in the class that got to show the new kid around. Ever since then, Kate and I have always been really good friends and we both know that we always have each other to fall back on if we ever need anything, no matter what it is. Considering we both might be going to the same school next year and even might room together, this trip was a great way to relax and spend time together!

Our first two days consisted of relaxing in “The Villages” as her grandparents live here. It is the cutest cluster of villages that have many pools, golf courses, rec centers, etc. These villages consist mostly of old people that ride around on golf carts and anyone that knows me well knows that I am in love with old people and think they’re so cute and sweet (so I’m basically in heaven). We spent our few days here by the pool and driving the golf cart around while belting out old popular songs.

It just so happened that while Kate and I were here, some other family members of hers were in town as well. One of Kate’s cousins was participating in a dance competition in Orlando on Saturday so Saturday afternoon, Kate, her grandparents and I made our way to a hotel to stay a few nights. A few hours later, we made our way to the competition and boy, let me tell you, did that make me miss dancing more than anything. Dance competitions were always so stressful for me as you had to worry about when your dances were, having your hair right, making sure your makeup didn’t sweat off, etc. so being able to just sit down, watch and enjoy it was one of the best feelings.

The next day Kate, her grandparents, her family and I went to The Orlando Eye, a large ferris wheel that holds many people and allows for you to see all of Orlando. Even though it looks extremely big, it feels like you are barely moving and is extremely secure. Afterwards we went out to eat at a restaurant (that had cheese curds!!!) across the street. Kate and I both ordered the mac & cheese (mine without the mushrooms of course) and the “small” was DEFINITELY not small.

Later that evening, we made our way to Kate’s other cousin’s apartment to watch the (very) important Packer game and eat tacos. (By the way, the Cowboys suck.) With nothing to do afterwards, many of us went to an escape room, something I have always wanted to do! Basically it’s a few themed rooms that you need to use clues and communication to solve puzzles to escape in one hour. Our group decided to tackle “prison break” and we escaped with 8 minutes left! I’d say that is pretty damn successful if you ask me.

With never being given the chance to go to Disney, Universal Studios, or any other attractions Orlando has to offer before, I was very grateful and excited to be given the opportunity to go to Universal Studios for a day with Kate and her family! Although my stomach doesn’t quite enjoy rollercoasters, there were even a few rides I could tolerate as well as endless amazing sights to see.

There are two parks, Islands and Universal Studios. We decided to tackle Islands first and after a couple of hours there, we got on the Harry Potter train that brought us from that park over to Universal Studios to where we spent the other half of our time. All in all, it was a very successful day and let’s just say I slept HARD that night.

Last but not least, today we decided to spend our last full day here in Florida adventuring to a beach since we spent most of our time inland. Although cloudy here and there, it was definitely worth the drive to Daytona Beach. This beach is super cool as it is one in very few beaches that allows for you to drive your car onto the beach. Me being as white as snow, I attempted to tan (and succeeded a little bit!!) all while trying not to burn. And of course, it would not be a trip to the beach without all the basic beach pictures, am I right?

All in all, it was an extremely fun trip and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be able to come to Florida with Kate and be taken in by her family just like I was one of their own. Although I have my birthday ahead of me in a few days as well as going back to school for my second semester at college, I am so thankful that I was able to spend a week relaxing in the warm weather before. It gave me a much needed refresher as well as a break from all the cold and terrible weather that Wisconsin has been having lately. With this trip being able to clear my mind and reset my brain, I am ready to tackle my second semester at college and (weirdly enough) can’t wait for all the challenges to come!


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