Part 1: Josh Does Disney!
It has taken some time to get used to life on the road for both myself and the people in my life. One of the big questions that comes up a lot is “Where in the World is Josh?” So I’ve decided to add a fun segment to my blog every week that answers that question. I may blog more on the topic depending on where I am. I can’t promise much so for now I’ll promise that every Wednesday you can read this segment!
This week I am all over the place. As I sit typing this I am in my friend’s apartment (her name is Alicia) in Orlando, Florida. I took a little R&R time for myself and decided to get away to a warm destination. I landed late Sunday night and spent Monday at Disney World.
Now believe it or not I have never been to Disney World. Disneyland , yes. World, not so much. Because of my tight schedule we were forced to kind of shove the whole experience into one day. Our journey started at Animal Kingdom which was a lot of fun. We took the safari tour (our tour guild was from the South Shore so I felt at home) which was a lot of fun. I’m an animal nut so I was in heaven as we saw rhinos, hippos, lions, and giraffes. I was having too much fun to stop and take pictures- that and I had a bad seat for picture taking.
I will say this about picture taking. My sister has been giving me a hard time about travelling all over the country and never taking any pictures. I actually don’t even own a digital camera at the moment. Everything I do is with my phone. When it comes to some things I would much rather just take everything in rather than worrying about getting the perfect shot. It’s also why I’m so bad at blogging- I’d much rather be living in the moment than trying to think of fun things to blog about it. Both are things I’m working on solving this year.
Anyway- Animal Kingdom was a blast. We didn’t do too many rides (Safari, Expedition Everest, Dinosaur) but it was really fun to walk around. For the record, I spent a great deal of time on Expedition Everest screaming “Yeti!” every chance I had. I don’t think the people behind me enjoyed it. Anyway, since Alicia and I are both really anxious people when it comes to groups of people so standing in lines with sometimes whiny people for upwards of an hour in 90 degree heat wasn’t really high atop our agenda. I had a lot more fun just walking around and taking it all in. There is so much to see!
After spending a good part of the morning and early afternoon in Animal Kingdom we jumped on a bus to Epcot. This was something I was very excited about since I had always seen Epcot on travel shows but never have been myself.
The girl in the brown shirt would be Alicia and ahead of her, her boyfiend Josh (yeah that got confusing!). One we hit Epcot I went into annoying tourist mode and started taking pictures of EVERYTHING!
The first thing we did was hit up Spaceship Earth. A simple, somewhat dorky, ride but still fun. The wait was non-existent so it was perfect for everyone involved. I’m a history dork and since I work in technology it was fun to see the “history” of technology and communication. Stuff I knew, but really fun none-the-less.
Nemo, Dory, and Marlon! I’m happy this photo came out, the glare from the sun prevented me from seeing what I was doing. At this point I was pointing my phone places and hoping for the best.
Now, since I am a complete dork the next thing we did was The Seas with Nemo & Friends. When it comes to aquariums, I am a bit picky. I did my best to keep an open mind considering I was in the middle of a giant theme park. Overall there was very little to look at. The 5.7 million gallon tank was impressive but really nothing worth writing home about. The coral reef community within the tank was simple at best. Made up of a large number of lookdowns, jacks, and grunts the tank was massive yet a bit dull. Three turtles, a few sharks and rays also made up the community but were difficult to see as the tank was really dark.
Along with the massive coral reef community tank- smaller tanks contained some cool animals including cuttlefish and giant clams.
One part I really enjoyed was a talk about SCUBA gear with a really cool way of showing the audience. The diver went into a diver lock-out chamber which filled with water. The presenter showed the audience some hand signals used by divers to communicate underwater. She also worked in a really great conservation message about sea turtles. I was impressed to hear this as learning about conservation was the last thing I expected on my trip.
The diver (I wanna say his name was Sean…Seth…Steve? I’m gonna go with Scuba Steve) in the lock-out chamber showing us the air in his tank. I’m no diver but I’m pretty sure that thing is supposed to be in his mouth…silly Scuba Steve…
Now that I’m thinking about it I didn’t see a single clown fish. I should sue…
From here we made our way through the World Showcase, grabbing a drink in Mexico and wandering through the countries. Alicia introduced me to the Disney pins. I had seen both visitors and employees wearing the lanyards with pins and finally asked about them. People collect and trade them. We stopped by a pin booth and I began my collection. Since I’m a big fan of Stitch of Lilo & Stitch fame- he is a major part of my collection now. I can’t wait to come back and get more! Alicia has also been warned that she is to buy me one for all holidays and birthdays (she works at Disney by the way so she has no excuse!).
My new pin collection! As you can see, lots of Stitch as well as Tigger and a young Tramp from Lady & the Tramp!
Between the weather and our exhaustion we ended our Disney journey here. I certainly have a lot in mind for what I want to see and do for the next time I visit. Since this was all last minute (I literally booked my tickets to come visit Orlando on Thursday for a Sunday departure) Alicia didn’t have the advanced warning to hang out. Next time we will certainly plan and spend more time exploring all of the parks!
Epcot was featuring an International Flower & Garden Show and I REFUSED to leave the park until we found Stitch! If I could have I totally would have taken it home with me!
There is certainly more going on for me this week. After a few days in Orlando I am heading to Arkansas to present at a school in Cotter. After that I am off to a conference in Memphis before heading home. As a matter of fact I am sitting in the airport now waiting to board my flight…there is a very scary man singing…
And that, ladies and gentleman, is where in the world I am this week!
Have you had a crazy adventure recently?
Part 2: Josh at Home!
I have neglected my duties as a blogger a lot this week because it’s my first full week of being at home. Despite not traveling this week I still have a lot on my plate so I’m trying to keep things simple for the time being. So what have I been up to?
First, I am overseeing the re-design of my web site. I’ve been very A.D.D. about how it looks and for those that have been around since I began- you’ve seen a lot of changes. I do the same thing with my furniture at home so I feel it’s normal. It’s not that I don’t like my web site now, I’m just bored with it and ready for something new. Certainly keep your eyes peeled and check it out when it sees the light of day.
Second, I am prepping for next year. A lot of work goes into doing what I do, so I have been spending hours on the computer compiling mailing lists for both e-mail and postcards to send out to schools to get started on work for the 2011-2012 school year. I’m excited about the work!
Third, I’m being a vegetable. While applying labels and postage to the postcards I’ve been catching up on A LOT of TV. It’s been fun. Burger has been helping. By helping I mean she has chewed on postcards. So for anyone that received a hole-filled postcard and are now reading this- Burger says ‘hi’.
That’s been about it. I promise next week will certainly be more exciting but for now, things are mellow and I’m 100% okay with it.
What did you do this week?
Josh Does A Whole Lotta Illinois…
Sorry this is a bit delayed. I wrote it out and never posted it…I fail!
Sunday was a travel day, heading from Boston to Chicago. It also marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. I can’t believe the time that has passed since that day. How much has happened! I was flying United and watched as members of the staff raised a flag over gate C-19 where Flight #175 had departed from that day. The mood in the terminal was subdued for the duration of my time waiting for my flight to leave. Other passengers and I sat and watched the memorial services on TV in almost silence. I spent a great deal of that time reliving that day- watching the towers fall as I sat in my social studies class my sophomore year in high school.
A bouquet of flowers resided on the gate of C-19 at Logan Airport in memoriam of Flight 175.
Monday and Tuesday were slightly uneventful. I spoke at my first school of the week on Monday and, still exhausted from the travel the day before, took to bed early. The next day, Tuesday, was the Premier Showcase in Lombard, Illinois where I spent the day meeting fellow performers and talking with school and PTA representatives from all over the state. It was a fun day all around but tiring all the same.
I became concerned for the birds of Illinois when one pooped on my car and it was REALLY green.
This was my table at the Premier Showcase. Not too bad I’d say!
Wednesday was a blast! Getting to sleep in is always my favorite thing during a busy week. I drove into the city (Chicago) and spent the better part of the day at the Shedd Aquarium. Shedd has always been one of my favorite aquariums. It was my visit there in summer 2010 that inspired my volunteering at the New England Aquarium. Best. Decision. Ever! I had a great day talking to educators, checking out the new Jellies exhibit, and catching the dolphin and sea lion show. I could have spent the entire day there if I didn’t have to get some work done.
The brand new Jellies Exhibit was amazing. I could have stayed in there forever!
I didn’t get to catch the dolphin session the first time I visited the Shedd so I was super excited to see it this time. The educator, Rachel, was a lot of fun. I had chatter with her prior to the start of the show.
Thursday and Friday were spent at schools having a great time! I am so thankful for Washington, Lincoln, Parkside and Shepherd schools for making the end of my week so much fun! There was even a fantastic article about how much fun we had!
Corn…that is all.
I managed to grab a couple movies this week which I was excited about because I haven’t seen too many this year. My favorite thing to is go to a theatre and get a ticket to whatever movie starts next. Sometimes this doesn’t end well but this week I grabbed some great films! The first was Contagion which made me paranoid about everything. I needed a shower afterwards. It was funny because a small part of the film takes place in Chicago so I spent a hunk of time thinking to myself “I was just there!” I was giddy when the shot of the Shedd Aquarium popped up.
The next movie I saw this week was Straw Dogs which was…interesting. Turns out that it is a remake of a 1971 film both based on a book. It was a great movie but honestly it made me uncomfortable. I can’t really explain it, you just have to see it. I just felt weird sitting there watching the events of the movie unfold. I would have to say the best way to describe the film is a mix of The Strangers, Last House on the Left, and Varsity Blues (this one’ll make sense when you see it). This isn’t a movie review blog in the slightest but I recommend both films.
All in all I’d say it was a great week and I look forward to the next adventure!
Be kind to one another!