So I got back yesterday from my trip to Florida. This was planned before Grandma E's fatal heart attack, but I was definitely waxing sentimental on the ride down. I associate most of my memories of travel to Florida with visiting her and Grandpa E before he died about ten years ago. I felt that there is some connection with travelling to Florida for vacations as a young'un, the last journey I took over the holidays in 2002-3 with Nik for the death of his grandfather (he stayed in NC and I went on to Fla with family to visit the triplets for the first time), and my most recent journey in light of recent life events. Travel south punctuates the significant events of my life; I suspect this last one will be my final memories of Grandma Mars--my last living grandparent. We celebrated her 85th birthday on Friday (to the right is Mars and Mom waiting outside Carrabbas for dinner).
I took a Greyhound bus from DC to Orlando. Although 18 hours of travel is very stressful in tiny seats and dirty bus stations with questionable preparation of adequate numbers of buses available for passengers with "reservations," I had a lot of fun meeting interesting people and finishing two whole books. I met a pregnant girl from Hyattsville visiting family in Georgia, two young men who were fashion plates for the hip hop scene from New England, a hispanic/black family going to a cousin's wedding with one of the most adorable children I saw on this trip (and trust me, that was a mighty competition, as you can see from the pictures at left of Katy and at right of Sam, yes he is building a sand castle with no pants), and a hottie from Israel who was raised on a kibbutz and needed help practicing his English and figuring out American denominations for his change on his way to work as a laborer for a Florida-based film company (only too happy to do my American duty...and drool over him later). Too bad I didn't take pictures of him.
My parents and sister picked me up at the bus station in Orlando, coming up from camping in the Keys for the last week--Sarah's break was a week before mine. We checked into a hotel in Cocoa Beach, near Merritt Island where my favorite uncle, Tom (at left, with Joe who took a special liking to me), and aunt, Ginny, live with their three 5 year old children, Joe, Katy, and Sam. Across the street from this hotel was a bar that highly amused Sarah and me by its unusual choice of name:
On Saturday, the kiddies blew off a friend's birthday party to join us at the beach. It was a beautiful, perfect day (and where I took most of the photos I put up for this entry). I swam for a couple hours until the wind picked up and cooled the beach off too much to stay.
<--Sarah, sexy at sixteen, but still my goofball little sister, with the Atlantic ocean in the background.
Ginny cooked dinner on the grill for us that night while I frantically tried to help out (though rather superfluously) and we talked about my plans for Korea and grad school while my cousins watched Happy Feet with my mom.
The drive home was generally pleasant, but I don't feel much like doing much right now. I think I'm feeling a lot of things that I can't put into words right now. I took a long walk this afternoon just to get out of this apartment--3x around the lake. I meant to work on school stuff. I might need more time to process the death of grandma and the depressing shroud of death in my living grandma's nursing home...
Book reviews on finished books will be forthcoming.