Full Disclaimer: I am writing this at 35,000 feet courtesy of FLY-FI on JetBlue Airlines which is seriously the greatest airline around… No that isn’t an ad. They are truly
Its sort or surreal being in a warmer climate during the holidays, because you’re laying by the pool in a bikini or walking around in a tank top, but looking at holiday
decorations and Christmas lights.
This year my parents, who aren’t yet retired, are giving it a go living in Florida for 4 months, renting a gorgeous house right outside of West Palm Beach, and living it up in the warmth. My dad ABSOLUTELY HATES the cold, and becomes incredibly depressed every winter and with all of us able to some what adult on our own, they packed up the car & the dog and headed south for the winter right after thanksgiving!
Initially, I questioned how my mom would do since she is a knitter by profession and
designer by trade, so living in a warmer climate isn’t completely ideal for business. She also left behind her store, friends and knitting groups that she loves so much, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen her happier, more relaxed or seen my parents more connected. She’s even found a NEW store in town to work at for these winter months and was able to work it out to come back north to visit and teach once a month. Its basically the best situation for everyone and that Florida sunshine is being pretty sweet to them.
So this year, for Hanukkah, my parents gifted us (A & I) and my sisters, plane tickets and a week in Florida with all the activities.
It was funny, everyone that lived there kept saying how “cold” it was and was bundled up like it was about to snow… My sisters and I? bikini clad and in & out of the pool for 4 days.
Yea… It was freezing….
So, we all came down between Monday and Wednesday… Dad got REALLY good driving to and from the airport. We ate, drank, lit the candles, said all the prayers, and celebrated the first night of Hanukkah as a family!
Thursday, once A finally got into town, we drove 2 hours to Orlando and went to Universal Studios!!
We haven’t done Disney or Universal since we were young teenagers and it was FREAKING awesome! I think my youngest sister probably had the best time, since the last time we were there she was too young to ride the rides or remember. It was so much fun seeing her have the best time!
We rode ALL the rides, shopped for our wands a Olivanders, got all our books for our semester at Hogwarts, had Butter Beer, battled the mummy in Revenge of the Mummy, rode the roller coasters, ate Krusty Burgers in Simpsons Land and had an absolutely incredible time.
By far our favorite place was Diagon Alley, in Harry Potter World, the attention to detail, really made you feel like you were actually there and stepped into the movie.
What was absolutely incredible was seeing grown men & women walking around in full robes WITH wands as if they were students at Hogwarts.
Another cool aspect was they had interactive wands that came with a map so that kids (& adults) could pretend they were wizards practicing magic.
The Escape from Gringotts was MY FAVORITE RIDE. The 3D animation looked so real, it made the whole experience that much better.
Friday Night, we celebrated Hanukkah (our big night as we call it), this is the night where we exchange gifts, have a big dinner and make Latkas (potato pancakes). This year was extra special because my maternal grandparents, who now live down the street from my parents, were able to come and celebrate with us!
This trip was truly one of our best in a long time, and as I sit here next to my dozing Fiancé, I am fully relaxed, recharged and refreshed. Family dynamics can be tricky as we get older and bring spouses & children into the mix but when finding time to all get together is fleeting having had such a great trip, where nobody fought, everyone played nicely enjoying each others company is something truly special and like a rare unicorn!
And that my friends, is all. Time to get back to reality, my furbies, time to clean my house and get my life in order before I start the new week and detox my body from ALL the food and booze consumed this week! And now that we’re about to descend into Boston, I need to return my laptop to my bag and put my tray table in the upright position!