I have the most incredible Grandparents in the world. Their love for one another is the most spectacular example I have ever experienced and I aspire to be as in love as they are after 55+ years of marriage. They also have an incredible love for their family. The caring, kind spirit they share is humbling. The way my Grandma lights up when I talk to her about Disney or school or whatever I'm doing really - it makes me feel so unbelievably good inside. It's as if she really cares about how many doombuggies are in the Haunted Mansion or what exactly they are doing with the newest expansion - and I know she does care because she loves Disney as well, but I also know part of it is that she cares about me and loves to see and encourage the passion to pour out of me about these things. The amount of times both my grandparents have told me to follow my heart and do what makes me happy and pursue my dreams - I couldn't do any of it without them. And I am so eternally grateful and thankful to have been blessed with them as my Grandparents.
You should hear what my Grandma is going to do to any boy who breaks my heart - watch out!!
I could go on for pages about how incredible my Grandparents are, however I started this post with another goal...to discuss New Years Eve. I emailed my Grandparents my best account of New Years and being the uninspired typist I am thought I would pull a couple segments from my email to share with everyone else. So Grandpa and Grandma, if you read this, I'm sorry it's about to get a bit repetitive!!
New Years Eve was amazing! My boyfriend Francel planned out the whole day and completely spoiled me! I got to get my nails, hair and makeup done and then went to Epcot around 3. [The hairdresser was interesting to say the least!! She really liked going to haunted places and exploring and told me stories all about this old hospital for a disease they didn't have a cure for at the time and many patients passed away in. She had spent the night in it twice and had weird stories of people 'not there' in her photographs and hearing talking and such. Not what you usually expect to discuss with the hairdresser, but it was entertaining nonetheless.]
I spent a couple hours with my friend Rebecca who I hadn't seen since April and we went to a funny dance party in the american pavilion. The DJ was leading some pretty hilarious/ridiculous dance moves and we were laughing so much! Then Rebecca left to have dinner with her family and I met up with Francel and we changed into our outfits for dinner.
We walked around the world and took silly pictures in all the countries such as me in a sombrero in Mexico, and him wearing a Panda Bear hat in China and us both in berets in France - things like that. We had a blast! A few of the different countries had music and laser lights and fire that shot up to the beat of the music (China), it was pretty amazing!
Then we went to dinner at Le Cellier Steakhouse. It was a four course meal with my favourite wine! Francel loved it because for the courses that were only meat he got both! So he had a potted pork amuse busche, lobster bisque, scallops with caviar, filet mignon with HUGE prawns, steak tartar and a trio of desserts. I had a salad and a butternut squash ravioli (that was delicious) and pink champagne sorbet for dessert. (the perks of being a meat eater eh? hehe). Then we went outside and had special firework viewing for the midnight illuminations and New Years fireworks with Champagne! It was amazing!
They went through the countries as a countdown celebrating who had their new years first (for example They lit up Japan, and then played Japanese inspired music and set off fireworks behind their pavilion) and went through the countries until Canada, Mexico and the US were left. Then they did a big countdown with shooting star fireworks until midnight and then just lit up the entire sky! It was breathtaking!
We had such an incredible night, I've never had such an extravagant New Years Eve before!
[I also started school again and here is a bit of a run down of my first week of classes and what I'm taking:]
Last week was my first week of classes. I love them so far! I have theme park management with Ron Logan who was the Vice President of Disney Entertainment Worldwide and is a Disney legend with a window on Main Street (it's pretty much the highest Disney honour). He tells magnificent stories and clearly knows a ton about the business. The neatest thing I learned last week (relevant because fireworks have been on my mind) is that Disney has a patent on Airlaunch technology for fireworks. That most fireworks are launched by gun powder off the ground. Disney has technology where a computer chip is embedded in each firework. They airlaunch the firework and it won't ignite until a button is pressed on the computer. He said that the firework could fall back to the ground if it isn't activated by the computer and you could bounce it around and it wouldn't go off because the technology makes it so safe! This technology also allows them to launch fireworks sideways and that is how they do all their shooting star effect fireworks. I thought it was pretty neat.
I also am taking English 1102 which is the second half of the year of English it is mandatory to take. I have the same professor as first semester and she seems to like me and I understand her teaching style so it will be fine. The subject doesn't really excite me, but it has to be done. The main premise of the semester is an ongoing academic argument and inquiry where we will end up writing a 20 page paper for the end of the semester.
My next class is Guest Service Management and it seems pretty interesting! My professor is very eccentric but very smart. He has a ton of experience but many funny quirks. Efficiency and time management are extremely important to him, so much so that he said since he lives alone he sometimes eats his dinner at the grocery store instead of spending all the time getting home to have it. He has serviced in some extremely fine dining restaurants and has a doctorate in guest service. He is quite the entertainer and there is no way you can't take in what he is saying because he presents it in such a dynamic way. We are going to explore our leadership styles, our personality types and how that relates to service and that sort of thing in class as well so it should be interesting. I love guest service and creating experiences - all that stuff - so it is an exciting class to be in.
My last class is probably my favourite mainly because I feel like I'm waiting on every word the professor says because I want to take absolutely everything in. It's Lodging Management and the more I learn about it the more I feel like it's probably what I want to go into. My professor is originally from Holland but has worked in over 40 countries and was a corporate trainer for Intercontinental for many years. He was in the hotel business when it was booming - when brands were diversifying and a lot of interesting things were happening in the industry so his stories are wonderful. I feel like I can learn a ton from him and I'm very excited to.
So overall classes are going well. Of course it's only the beginning of the second week so if they weren't going well we would have a problem. :)
[Okay so we had an epic date day that first week as well. Bowling, mini-golf, yummy treats, fireworks. It's almost as if I live in the happiest place on earth***]
***I say almost because we all know the actual happiest place on earth is Disneyland, California. ;)
On my day off last week (Friday!) Francel and I had so much fun! We started the day bowling at the new bowling alley/restaurant at Downtown Disney called Splitsville! It's this huge two story, 30 lane bowling alley with bars and a restaurant. We bowled 4.5 games in an hour and a half for $20 total so it seemed like a good deal! He won by a lot overall but I did manage to win one game. Apparently he was in a bowling league when he was little, whereas we only had 5 pin bowling growing up so I think I did alright!
We then took a stroll around downtown disney looking in the shops and just people watching for a bit!
Then we competed again but this time at Mini golf! For Christmas Disney gives it's cast members a bunch of free or discounted activities an one of them was a couple rounds of mini golf. We went about a week ago as well and I won! I won this round too! (Thanks to your excellent teaching I'm sure Grandpa ;) ). The course was called Winter-Summerland so the first 18 were as if Santa and the elves went on vacation so the holes are all sand and surf boards. The second course was all snow castles and Frosty the Snowman, it was pretty cute!
Last week when we mini golfed it was Fantasia themed so there were dancing hippos and alligators, Sorcerer Mickey and bigs waves of water over the course, music started randomly - it was super neat!
After mini golf we shared some ice cream (it was the winning prize! mint chocolate chip with caramel sauce and whipped cream from Ghiradelli's! Did I mention our day off is also our cheat day on our healthy eating plan? hehe).
After ice cream we went home for a little bit, walked Francel's dog, and got ready for dinner! We went to California Grill for wine and cheese in the lounge. It was so much fun! It was really casual because we were just in the lounge so we shared a cheese plate (they have 5 cheeses with accompaniments) and they give you a sheet with a description of the cheeses so we were reading them and trying to pick out the 'flavour profiles' they describe. It was pretty funny - not always easy to pick up the floral hints in cheese. [California Grill is our favourite restaurant and it's going down for refurb until something crazy like September so we wanted to get in one last visit before the closure]
At 8 o'clock the Magic Kingdom has it's fireworks, and the California Grill happens to be on the 15th floor of the Contemporary Resort which is right beside Magic Kingdom. So we went out on the observation deck and watched the fireworks as they played the music!
Can you believe that was all the same day?! It was absolutely incredible!
Yup. We do fun things sometimes. Rereading that made me feel pretty charmed and lucky. Which I am. I am trying to learn to not stress out about situations that are out of my control - visa requirements, jobs, student loans etc. It just so happens all the big things are the ones that I can't control! And I love life planning. I like to know what i'll be doing over the next week, month, 6 months, year, 5 years, 10 years. I love plans. I don't always follow plans, but I've always had direction. Breathing easy about things I can't control is not something I'm used to. It's not something that comes easy and it's something I have to actively remind myself of each day. Little goals. I have an incredible support system and I am very thankful for having them.
In all honesty, It's been a little tough lately wishing my friends and family from home were here. Or i could somehow meld the two worlds together. I know everyone is just a phone call or text message or email away. But when I was sick last week I wanted my Mum so much, or when I was trying to figure out a situation I wanted nothing more than to grab a tea with my best friend and talk it over. Face to face contact is important. We all are able to pick up where we left off and have an incredible time together, which the holidays at home clearly proved once more. But I miss my girlfriends, I miss my family, I miss my puppies, I miss my mountains and oceans. Homesickness comes in varying waves over the times I'm away, and its been a rather strong tide lately.