Friday, August 20, 2010

Where to Start?

I left for Florida on Tuesday morning, and I woke up kind of sad knowing that I would soon be leaving everything I knew behind for the next 5 months. I was flying down with my dad and our flight was at 11:13am. All morning I had been crying. Everything made me cry, I got text messages from my sisters as they were off to band, and a simple message from my sister Megan, "Thanks for the car", and I lost it. And then just knowing that I was going to have to say goodbye to my mom later in the morning had me crying all over again. The drive to the airport was so hard. But thank goodness, my parents thought to put a whole box of tissues in the backseat. I think I used a good handful of them up before we got the the airport. It seemed like every time I tried to talk, my tears were triggered. I couldn't help it and i couldn't stop myself either. It was a really good thing i wasn't wearing any makeup, it would have been a mess!

Once we were at the airport, it all started to sink in that I was really leaving home and I would be back until next year. I told my mom I felt like I was part of that ABCFamily movie "Picking Up & Dropping Off" because I was leaving her behind at the airport. I was so freaked out that our checked bags were going to be over the 50lb. limit, but when they were weighed, one came in at 43 lbs. and the other at 40 lbs. It really was amazing and all the credit goes to my parents. My mom for her talent of packing things in the best possible way, and my dad for the countless times he stood on the bathroom scale holding my suitcases!

As we were walking towards security we passed a gift shop and my mom went inside. When she came out, she handed me a shopping bag. Inside was a cute little orange monkey wearing a shirt that say "Hugs from Ohio" and when you hug her tight, she makes monkey noises. My mom told me that whenever I am really missing her, to hug that monkey and think of her. As you would be expecting, there were more tears involved for all of us. I knew it was going to be hard, I just didn't realize how hard until that moment. One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was go through security knowing it would be a really long time before I got to see my mom again. There was a little girl in line before us, maybe 2 or 3 years old. Her poor mother was trying to convince her daughter that she had to let go of her teddy because the nice man wanted to take its picture and when he was done, she could have it back. The little girl wanted no part of this plan, and she clung even tighter to that bear. In the end, her mom had to pull the bear out of the girl's hand. The little girl and I both began to sob at the same time. I felt like that little girl, only I wasn't being asked to let go of my bear, I was being told to let go of my mom and the safety and security she represents to me. My mom waited until we made it through security before she left, I know this because I kept turning around to see that she was still there. And when I looked from the other side, she was gone. (aka: More tears.) I know it sounds terrible, but at that moment, I was jealous of the little girl clinging to her teddy for dear life. But I have a part of mom with me in the shape of a very cute and cuddly monkey that I have decided to name Diamond.

Dad and I didn't really have long to wait for our flight. As I waited, I decided to text Michael, mom (she sent me a text that I responded back to), other family members and change my facebook status from my phone to let all my friends on there know my adventure had begun. While we were sitting at the gate waiting, across from us were two people about my age. As I was texting, I noticed the girl's shoes. They were crocks with MICKEY HEAD shaped holes on top! As I looked closer, I noticed she also had a Disney name plaque on her bag. And he was wearing a shirt with a bunch of vintage looking Mickeys on it. Got me wondering if they were just excited to A.) Be going to Disney on vacation or B.) Maybe they were Cast Members, too. I wish now that I would have asked. Oh, well.

Once on the plane, I started to cry again as we pulled out of the gate. I guess a wave of homesickness hit me as I thought "The next time I see this airport there could be snow on the ground." (I really hope not, that would be AWFUL!) Dad and I had the two seats closest to the window on the left-hand side of the plane (I was next to the window, he was in the middle seat and an elderly man was sitting in the aisle seat). As we took off, I had my camera at the ready to capture everything and then some as the ground disappeared beneath us. For most of the flight I was taking pictures out the window. I took over 100 pictures and I think I got some really great shots! I was a little disappointed though, dad and I knew our flight had wi-fi, however we didn't know that you had to pay for it, so I wasn't able to blog and facebook from the air like I was hoping to. Oh well, I sent a message out to the masses the moment we were told we could turn our phones back on once we were on the ground in Orlando. Oh, my gosh, coming into the Orlando airport was kind of freaky. We were really low in the air and we passed over a major road and it looked like we were going to hit a truck! I'll admit, I kind of freaked a bit.

Welcome to Orlando where it is 20 degrees hotter than home. I walked outside and felt like I had walked into a brick wall. That is going to take some getting use to. We had to wait a couple minutes before our Mears suttle to leave. It took us a little over a half hour to get from the airport to our hotel, Doubletree Guest Suites near Downtown Disney. Our room was so nice and I loved the "Sweet Dreams" little pillow on the beds. Dad and I stayed in our room for a little bit before venturing off to find something to eat for dinner. On our way, we stopped so Dad could take my picture in front of the Welcome to Walt Disney World sign. I also took pictures of the Mickey sign and the Minnie sign. Then we had to cross 5 or 6 lanes of traffic to get to our destination, the coolest McDonald's I have ever seen. I wasn't really hungry, but knowing I hadn't eaten anything filling all day, I forced myself to eat my hamburger and fries. While at the restaurant, I talked to mom on the phone for a little bit. Then dad and I braved that crosswalk one more time to get back to our hotel.

Dad told me that he wanted to get something to take home for my mom and sisters and because we are in Florida, there was a Disney store right inside our hotel. We ended up finding a Goofy for Megan, Mickey for Macayla and a Stitch for my mom (I started to cry [I know you are getting sick of hear that by now!] when I saw the Stitch because I immediately thought of the line Lilo says in the movie: "Ohana means family, and family means nobody gets left behind. Or forgotten.") I think they are going to love them.

Speaking of my family, I got to talk to them on Skye for a little bit the first night we were here. It worked almost perfectly. At first we couldn't hear them, but we soon fixed that problem. I'm so glad that even though I am so far away, with the click of one button, there they will be on my computer. Talking with me, face to face...almost. :)

Went to bed a little after midnight because I was posting pictures from the day on my facebook page for my friends and family back home to see. I am going to do my best to capture every stage for you all. You might not see it right away depending on my work schedule and the work load the classes I am planing on taking places on my time. But I can promise that I will capture and record as much as possible. I want you all to be a part of this journey with me. So come along for the ride.

As I crawled under the covered and hugged my new monkey from my mom, I kept reminding myself that this is the opportunity of a lifetime. I have a chance to be a part of the magic of Disney World, someone who helps to make the dreams of the guests come true. Someone who loves Disney and hopes to share that with many people while I am here. So ready or not, here I go. I am on my way to becoming a part of the magic that is Disney.


  1. Mariah, remember that as you help others dreams come true, yours will be coming true also. Love you Aunt Khris

  2. Sweet Mariah! You are going to be just fine!! Once you start having some fun that is!! So, have fun for all of us that never got such an awesome experience! Love you!