Monday, July 8, 2013

Happy Birthday, 'Murica!

The 4th of July is one of the most popular holidays in this country. Everyone looks forward to lighting the BBQ pits, enjoying the company of family and friends, and ending the day with spectacular fireworks. It has been a while since I last experienced this holiday in the United States. Between participating in Camp Adventure and teaching in Korea, I haven't been on American soil for Independence Day since 2006. Being in South Florida, I knew that I wanted to spend the fourth the right way and took full advantage of that this past weekend!

Having people with connections is always a great way to see a new area. Cathy has a friend that works at DisneyWorld and has an unlimited amount of park passes. With limited family and friends here in Florida, he had a few to spare. So Wednesday afternoon, Cathy and I headed up to Orlando for the night to take in the 4th of July fireworks that night. We watched them from the Polynesian resort, which provided us with a nice view of Cinderella's castle just across the lake. After the show was finished, we headed over to a dueling pianos bar in Downtown Disney and thoroughly enjoyed our time there. The guys playing were super talented and made the night very exciting!

The next day, Cathy and I were able to spend the day at both Epcot and Animal Kingdom. We are embarking on a road trip in a couple of weeks and will be visiting Disney again at the beginning and end of that trip. So this visit was more of a run around to see what we wanted to hit up when we come back. We did visit all 12 countries at Epcot and enjoyed the newest attraction at Animal Kingdom, Expedition Everest. It's been about 5 years since I've last been on a roller coaster, so that was a thrill in itself! Can't wait to get back in a couple of weeks!

After we left Disney, we hurried back to Boynton to take in another fireworks show. I've been dogsitting this week for my friend Sam and made the mistake of taking his dog, Mellow, to the fireworks show. He was not a fan of the display, so I walked him back to the high school that we parked at, which ended up being about a 2.5 mile walk. The fireworks that I was able to see were very impressive. One thing that threw me off though was the fact that EVERYONE was shooting off fireworks. The sale of fireworks is illegal in Iowa so on the 4th you have one main show in your hometown and that's it. Here, there were shows at every house, which was a change of pace for sure. These festivities lasted long into the night.

On Saturday, we had our final AmeriParty for the year. Jen, Phetsada, and Rebecca hosted a Red, White, and Blue extravaganza at their apartment. Lots of festive food and drinks were prepared for the occasion and it was great to have the majority of our group in the same place again. With graduation coming up Friday, our time together is winding down. This party was one last chance to make some memories together!

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