Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Waves and Braves

When I moved down to Florida almost two years ago, I had a small bucket list of things that I wanted to accomplish before I left the state. That list included the following:

- Visit Miami (check)
- See a wild alligator (check)
- Attend at least one major sporting event (check, check, and check - only missed out on the Heat)
- Work on my tan and maintain a constant bronzeness (check)
- Learn how to surf

As of last weekend, that last item was still unchecked. It's not hard to find places that offer free surf lessons. Normally, these lessons happen at the break of dawn on a Saturday morning and finding the motivation to get up and make it in time to partake in the lessons has been a challenge. However, I was finally able to check this off my Florida bucket list, thanks to a little motivation and determination.

One of the other members, Monica, has been persistent in tyring to organize a large trip for our members to take advantage of free surf lessons. There's a surf shop down in Deerfield Beach (about 30 minutes south of Boynton) that offers free lessons every Saturday morning from 7-9 am. After trying to organize two prior trips and having each one cancelled due to poor weather and/or rough water conditions, we were finally given the go ahead. 9 of us made our way south along A1A to embark on this new adventure for many of us.

When we got to the surf shop, we were split up into groups of three, given our boards, and headed to the beach. I was paired up with Leah and Jordan and after successfully passing "ground school" (practicing how to properly paddle and "pop" up on the board before hitting the water), we were released into the ocean to see what we could do. We probably spent about an hour in the water and I was able to stand up for a whole 3 seconds consecutively before face planting into the water! But hey - I STOOD UP!! I was pretty stoked! Leah was able to cruise all the way into the beach on her last attempt, which definitely put both Jordan and I to shame. But needless to say, this will not be my last attempt at this popular past time! I have plans to head back to the shop at the end of the month and go for 4 seconds!

Surfing wasn't the only thing on the docket for Saturday. After finishing up playing in the ocean, rinsing off the sand, and spitting out the gallons of salt water that I ingested, I headed back to Boynton and rested up for a bit in preparation for activity number two of the day - baseball down in Miami! The Atlanta Braves were in town taking on the Miami Marlins. Phetsada is a huge Braves fan and of course as soon as she found out that they were making the trip south, she started bugging me about going. Not one to turn down a sporting event, I of course said yes!

Nick and Ty ended up joining us for this excursion. We headed down to Miami around 1:30 for the 4:00 game. Once we got to the stadium and parked, we partook in some tail gating festivities in the parking garage (definitely not the most ideal setting, but it's what we had to work with so we made the best of it). We headed to the stadium, purchased the cheapest seats available, and then proceeded to ignore the seating instructions on the tickets and sat along the first baseline, about 15 rows from the field.

The game itself was pretty entertaining. I like to think of myself as a baseball good luck charm. Whenever I attend a baseball game, whatever team I'm cheering for has always won. This goes back to when I was a kid and we used to take family vacations to various ballparks around the country. The trend continued. Decked out in Braves gear, Atlanta came out on top 9-5. During the course of the game, we made friends with a family from Montana that lives in Key Large that was sitting in front of us.

This definitely made up for the result of the game that Phetsada, Skeeter, and I attended last year in which the Braves lost to the Marlins (obviously I was cheering for the Marlins) and made Phetsada a much happier camper at the end of the game. Following the game, we headed to Versailles, a Cuban restaurant near the stadium and enjoyed some delicious Cuban cuisine. It was a great way to end a busy, hectic, yet tremendous day!

Phetsada and I excited for the game!

The crew! (Myself, Phetsada, Ty, and Nick)

Customary, required picture for when we hang out

As if surfing and baseball wasn't enough for one weekend, on Sunday, Cathy, Cassie, and I headed up to Lake Worth to lend a hand to Anne, the AmeriCorps supervisor at the Boynton Beach City Library, where both Cassie and Cathy currently serve. She needed some help with her gardens around her house and we were more than willing to assist her with what she needed! Over the course of three hours, we laid down mulch, replaced her garden hose, trimmed her plants, and cleaned out the flower beds of leaves and annoying little twig like things. By the end, we had filled over 20 30-gallon garbage bags and had worked up quite a sweat! Anne is by far one of the nicest and most amazing people that I've met down here in Florida, so helping her out with this little project was the least that any of could do!
The end result of our labor!

Three tired, sweaty little helpers...

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