Archive for the ‘General Life’ Category

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All Good Things…

January 17, 2010

Dear Reader,

Sometimes life gets crazy.  And preparing to leave the “Happiest Place on Earth” was definitely an opportunity for things to get full-tilt, go-for-broke insane.  After our week at Animal Kingdom, we did end up going back to Tomorrowland for the last week of the program.  It was nice to be back “home”, but everyone’s hours were insane because of the holidays.  We were working 11, 12, 13 hour days that often ended at 3:00 or 4:00 A.M.  And on top of that, I was also trying to cram in all of the things I wanted to do before the end of hte program.  I went to dinners with friends and roommates, picked up shifts at new locations, packed my things, celebrated the holidays, and just generally tried to enjoy the little down time I had.  So I apologize that I wasn’t able to document the end of my experience.  I genuinely wish I had had the time, for my own sake as much as for any readers out there who were hungering to find out how this grand adventure would end (I’m sure there was somebody out there who was at least curious). 

Looking back on it, though, my last weeks in Orlando weren’t really any more adventurous than the weeks before.  Life’s usually like that.  There really are no neat endings, tied up with a bow.  One story simply begins to bleed into the next.  There was no grand climax, no enormous moment of revelation and completion.  It just…ended.  I packed my car, said goodbye, and headed off for home.  It was difficult, but I was also ready to get back to school, work, and my family and friends.

This semester, though, was one of the best of my life (what little of it I’ve experienced so far, anyway).  I went out, had an adventure, lived in a new town, met new people, and did brand new things I never imagined I would get to do.  I was able to do all of it, and pick right back up where I left off when I returned home. 

So, thank you, Dear Reader, for following my adventures.  Whether you’re a person I see everyday in my real life, or someone who just checks in on my blog every now and then to see what the CP is like, I truly appreciate that there are people out there who were reading as I recorded my crazy adventures.  I really wrote it for myself, but without knowing that there were people out there interested in what I had to say, I would have given it up before I even began.

And now, almost one year after I began this blog, I am officially out of things to say.  This chapter is over, and it ends the way all good stories should…

And They Lived Happily, Ever After.

The End

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Drive-by Posting

December 16, 2009

In case you’re still unsure, this whole College Program thing is exhausting.  Fun, but exhausting.  So even though I love updating my blog, I just don’t seem to have the time anymore.  I’m hoping to sit down in the next few days and write some full-length catch-up posts, but just in case that doesn’t happen, here are a few thoughts and tidbits that I just feel the need to record.  I’m too tired for segues!

Today was our CP completion program, a.k.a. Graduation Day!  There was a huge picnic at Mickey’s Retreat, we all got graduation mouse ears and diplomas, and got our picture taken with the boss.  Tons of fun!  It lasted from 10:30 to 2:00, but we didn’t get there until around 12:30.  They had so much fun stuff to do, I wish we had gone earlier.  I went with all of my roommates, and we had a great time goofing off, taking pictures, and just hanging out.  I love these girls, and I got a little emotional about leaving for the first time today.

I’ve been working insane hours since I moved to Tomorrowland.  I almost never go in earlier than 5:00 pm, and if I get off before 1:15 am, that’s an early night.  Yesterday I worked for more than 14 hours, but I only have myself to blame.  One of the girls from work was trying to give away her shift because she had family in town, so I picked it up.  I already had a shift of my own that day, so I ended up working from 9:00 am to 11:45 pm.  It was exhausting, but I also have to admit that it was a little exhilarating.  As I clocked out, I really felt like if I could survive that, I could survive anything.  It was a really good day for it though, because I was working at Space Mountain, and it went down four times.  So it wasn’t a very busy day, and one of the times it went down I was at Preview so I just sat on the big comfy couches for almost an hour waiting for the ride to come back up.  I’m telling you, this can be a rough job. 🙂

The insanity is about to end, though, because all 6 of us who came to Tomorrowland after Food & Wine Festival are being sent back to Animal Kingdom.  I was really upset at first, because they weren’t sure if we would all be together.  But it turns out we’ll all be in Asia together, so at least I won’t be totally surrounded by strangers for my last couple of weeks.  Right now we’re only deployed there for the week of Christmas, but they may deploy us for the week of New Year, too.  We’ll just have to wait and see.  I’m definitely excited to have some normal hours!

In honor of leaving Tomorrowland, here’s a picture I should have posted a long time ago:

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‘Tis the Season…for Homesickness!

December 4, 2009

In the four months since I got here, I haven’t had too much trouble with homesickness.  But I have to be honest:  it’s gotten a lot harder ever since my family left.  And with the holidays coming up, it’s been even more difficult. I’m definitely still glad to be here, but I have to keep reminding myself to not wish the days away between now and January 2nd.

Part of my restlessness has been unhappiness with my work schedule.  The transition to working evenings/nights at Magic Kingdom has been easier physically than I expected, but harder mentally.  I don’t feel physically exhausted anymore when 1:00 AM starts to roll around, but I don’t feel like my usual sunny, perky self when I have to sleep in until 11:00 the next day and then don’t have time to do anything fun before my next shift starts.  All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t have to keep this schedule the entire program.  I just don’t know if I could have made it.

But not all is doom and gloom in this magical kingdom I call home.  Although my roommates and I didn’t get to go home for the holidays, we did get to have a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner together.  And even if we’re not related, we’re definitely a family.  Melissa had to work, but the rest of us didn’t have to go in until late afternoon, so Traci cooked us a delicious  meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, and all of the other traditional Turkey day dishes.  We watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and then sat around the table, taking turns sharing our “thankfuls.”  We all agreed our “Florida family” was definitely something to be thankful for!

There’s a lot of exciting stuff coming up.  My grandparents should be landing in just a few minutes at the airport.  Two of my grandma’s sisters and their husbands are coming to meet them, so the six of them are going to have a wonderful Disney vacation, and I’ll be spending most of my time off with them over the next week.  There’s also a trip with people from work to see the Candlelight Processional narrated by Anika Noni Rose, the College Program Winter Formal, the midnight showing of “The Princess and the Frog”, the College Program Completion Ceremony, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party to look forward to.  Hopefully the old adage about time flying and fun-having will prove true, and all of these goings-on will distract me until after the difficult holiday season is over.

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Food Tastes Better When It’s Free!

November 20, 2009

It’s 2:00 in the morning, and I just walked in the door from work.  It was a good day: we had a Christmas party, I got two more Great Service Fanatic Cards, and had more great guests than usual.  I didn’t get off until 1:15 though, so I was exhausted by the end of the night.  The only thing keeping me going was the thought that Burger King was on the way home, and I was gonna stop and get a Whopper.  Yum!

I called Erik as I was leaving work.  It was late, but he knew I was getting off late and wanted to stay up late enough to talk to me. (Aww!)  So I was on the phone with him as I pulled in to Burger King.  It was 1:57 by the time I got there, but all of the lights were on, so I decided they must still be open.  I pulled in to the drive-thru, rolled down my window, and started to ask for a Whopper with the works when that crackly voice said, “Sorry, we’re closed!”  I was flabbergasted.  I asked if he was serious, and of course he was.  Dejected, I began to pull around.  But as I was telling Erik they were closed, I decided to use my secret weapon: my feminine wiles.  I drove up to the window, waited for someone to come over, and pointed out (with a big, sweet smile) that it was still two minutes until 2:00.  He smiled, sighed, and asked me what kind of burger I wanted.  As I told him I would take whatever they had ready, I began to get out my wallet.  “Don’t worry about it,” he said.  When he turned around to get my burger, I picked up my phone and laughed as I told Erik that this guy was going to give me a burger.  Then I notice that the guy is also scooping up an order of fries!  As I drove away with my burger, yes, I felt a little pathetic in a “Liz Lemon” sort of way (Click here if you have no idea who Liz Lemon is).  But I also felt triumphant.  Erik could only stammer furiously about how girls get whatever they want.  And he’s right!  Ah, it’s good to be a female.

In other news, I had my Campus Rep interview today, which just may have been the most successful interview ever: she offered me a slot on the team right then and there.  After she’d asked me a few questions about my CP experience, she said it sounded like I had some great ideas for promoting the program, and that I would be a valuable addition to the team.  She said she’d like to offer me the spot, and I said I’d like to accept the spot!  That makes this my first post as a Campus Rep.  Yay!

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Festival Finality, Family, and Floor Fries

November 9, 2009

It’s 8:30, and even though I’m usually a pretty early riser,  here I am: still laying in bed.  (BTW, it’s hard to type lying down.)  It’s one of those mornings where I’m almost lying here in protest.  I’m sweating under the covers, I can’t go back to sleep, and yet I’m not about to get up, because that would mean conceding victory to my internal clock which decided to wake me up way before my alarm went off.  And today of all mornings!  I worked until 10:30 last night tearing down after the last night of Food and Wine Festival.  So I was thinking that I would sleep in a bit and get really well rested before my family arrives today.  Alas, my body had other ideas, so here I am blogging instead of sleeping.

I realize I’m being a big baby. 7:30 isn’t all that early to wake up and it is a very exciting day.  It’s been three months since I’ve seen my family and I really can’t wait.  I’m going to buy their park tickets this morning, and I’m going to swing by the Pop Century to see if I can check in a little early before I go pick them up.  I’m also going to try to find a different way to the Sanford Airport than the way I went last time: it cost me 15 bucks in tolls!

They came at a perfect time.  Like I said, I was on the tear down crew last night for Food and Wine Festival.  I will have to do training at the Magic Kingdom on Thursday and Saturday, as those weren’t days I was originally approved to take off and I couldn’t get out of it.  But otherwise I will have the entire time they’re here off.  Erik will fly in on Friday, and they’ll all leave together next Monday (I’m trying not to think about it already!)

It’s been a real revolving door of roommates here this week.  Traci and Holly have both been back home all this week and are both coming back tomorrow.  The rest of us are all taking our turns going to stay in the hotels: I’m leaving today for a week, Melissa’s leaving tomorrow, Kat’s been staying at a resort with friends for the last couple of days, and Brit will be doing the same later this week.  It’s really amazing how much I miss these girls while they’re gone.  Sure, it’s nice to have the apartment to myself, but it’s just too quiet!  Luckily, Kat got us reservations months ago for dinner at 1900 Park Fare at the Grand Floridian.  It’s a character dinner buffet with the characters from Cinderella.  We’re all going to get dressed up and go together next Monday, the night my family is flying back to Missouri.  The timing is just perfect because it will be a great way for us all to get back together, compare vacation notes, and then go back to regular apartment life.  It will also help distract me from what I’m sure will be an emotional night with a slight risk of homesickness relapse.

I’ve still got to finish packing and clean out my car so all five of us can fit in.  I really need to go get it vacuumed, because I spilled fries under the seat when I was taking Tiffany and Brett to the airport a few days ago.  Floor fries don’t really smell, but they’re still gross!  I don’t think I’m going to get it done, though.  Oh, well.  At least I’ll have a snack for the long drive out to Sanford! 🙂

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A Ferris Bueller Day

October 29, 2009

Today was a Wednesday: the day my Exploring Marketing class meets.  I, however, did not go to Exploring Marketing.  When it came time to get ready to go, I thought of Ferris Bueller: “How could I possibly be expected to handle school on a day like this?”  For the Exploration Series classes, you’re automatically dropped after on your second absence.  So I haven’t actually dropped the class yet, and I may not for a couple of weeks.  But I decided today that there is just no point in making myself go to a class that I don’t want to take.  I’m not getting any credit for the class, and even though my instructor is entertaining and energetic, I just didn’t feel like I was going to learn anything that would really help me in life.

So it’s looking like I may never get my Mouseters degree. 😦   But that’s okay!  Plenty of great stuff happened today to distract me from my crushing sense of failure: I went shopping at Downtown Disney, where I experienced the awesome life-changing taste that is the Holiday Dinner Sandwich at Earl of Sandwich.  This unbelievable creation is turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mayonnaise, and gravy, all squeezed between two toasted pieces of bread.  I washed this down with a glass of the Earl’s Grey Lemonade, which is lemonade mixed with Earl Grey tea.  I think this meal may be a new addiction, but luckily the price is reasonable enough that I can satisfy the cravings without busting the bank: the sandwich and drink cost less than $8.

Later, I got the chance to see the newest show at Magic Kingdom, Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee.

Tiana, Naveen, and Louis the Alligator from “The Princess and the Frog” have taken over the Liberty Belle riverboat, and now perform songs from the movie as they and their friends sail down the river.  In between shows, the new royal couple do meet-and-greets behind the Christmas Shop in Liberty Square.  The whole thing premiered on Monday, and Tiana rode in a special procession down Main Street to the castle, where she was greeted by all of the other princesses.  I wasn’t able to go to any of the opening day festivities, but the show was so awesome that I wish I could have seen it all.  They’re really starting to get me excited about this movie.  When I had seen the previews, I was a little unsure of how I felt about Naveen.  He seemed a little too cartoonish, with his outrageous accent, almost more like the funny sidekick than the leading man.  But after seeing the character on the showboat today, I got a little bit better idea of his personality, and he just seems fun.  All I can say is that this movie better live up to my ever-growing expectations or I will be a sad, sad, girl.

After Magic Kingdom, I met up with some friends from work for another trip to Epcot.  We got to see Boyz II Men perform at the Eat to the Beat concert series.  Boyz II Men was a little before my time, so I wasn’t really all that excited about going to see them.  But when they actually started singing, I was surprised at how many of the songs I knew.  And, I have to admit, I really liked it.  We had a blast, and the crowd was just great.  We stayed for Illuminations, and it was fun to actually get to see the fireworks.  Lately, I’ve gotten to hear them so much, but I’m always inside the World Showcase Tent counting the drawers and closing up shop during them.  Seriously, it’s really, really hard to count when giant explosives are going off every few seconds.  It was nice to be on the other side of those tent flaps tonight.

I don’t know if I’m going to go ahead and drop my class, or if I will wait and see if I feel like playing hooky again later.  I really didn’t dislike the class, but I also realized today that I’m probably not going to get any lasting memories or unforgettable experiences out of it, either.  So who knows if I’ll go next week or not.  But I’m definitely glad I decided to go with my gut and just let myself have a fun-filled day the Ferris Bueller way.

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If You Need to Send Me A Message, Better Get Out the Carrier Pigeon!

October 25, 2009

I’m not the most tech-dependent person on the planet.  Sure, I love my computer and iPod as much as anyone else, and I send and receive text messages all throughout the day.  But if I don’t have my phone with me every second of the day, it really doesn’t bother me.  At least, it didn’t bother me.  And then today I lost my phone.

It all started this morning: I was at the bus stop, and I was checking Facebook on my phone.  Later, as soon as I had walked backstage at work, I reached into my pocket to check the time, but all I found was my iPod.  No big deal, I thought. Must have stuck it in my backpack. So as soon as I got to the break room, I began digging for my phone.  It quickly became clear, though, that I wasn’t going to find my phone, because it most definitely was not in my bag.  But it was time to clock in, so I had no choice but to go on stage, still uncertain of my phone’s whereabouts.  It bothered me all day, and so I stayed on the bus this evening until it went to Vista Way, where the bus office is located.  The guy there told me that they hadn’t found the phone, but that they would look again tonight.  (Actually, he said, “We don’t got your phone, sweeetheart.  Call tomorrow.”  I’m not the kind of girl who is usually bothered by being called “sweetheart”, but his patronizing tone just irked me.)

So there is still hope that it will turn up tomorrow, but I”m not holding my breath.  The stupid thing was on vibrate, so even if it the battery hadn’t been dead by the time someone called me, no one probably would have heard it.  I don’t know if it’s still stuck between the seats of the “C” bus that I took this morning, or if someone decided that they would really like to have a (very) used LG.

It’s amazing to me how much this has upset me, though.  I was almost in tears this evening when I got home, and, after one last cursory glance around the apartment and through my bag, decided that it really wasn’t going to turn up tonight.  My entire life is on that phone: I had pictures that I will be heartbroken to lose, not to mention the hundreds of phone numbers that I have gathered over the years.  Seriously, I don’t know anyone’s number anymore:  not my little brother’s, not my grandparents’, not my best friends.  I never actually dial them!  I just scroll through my phone book and hit “call”.  Even the numbers I know don’t do me much good, because the phone in our apartment only makes local calls.

It almost makes me feel bad that I’m so torn up over my phone’s disappearance.  Am I that wrapped up in technology, that I can’t just deal with being a little disconnected for a few days?  After all, I still have Facebook and Skype when I come home, and I have a landline to make any local calls I need.  It’s really not that bad.  I’m just going to keep telling myself this, and hopefully it will get me through the next few cell-free days.  If I don’t post in the next week or so…well, you’ll know that it really wasn’t an exaggeration to say that I couldn’t live without technology.