Full Circle

Hello from Florida!!

This is the life!!

I have finally arrived after months of waiting and a marathon of driving.  And when I say “marathon,” that’s really what I mean.  I drove down myself (with plenty of music and books on tape!) in a car packed to the brim with swimsuits, flip flops, and (yes) the occasional work outfit.

The trip took three days so as not to get too much cabin fever.  I stopped in Lexington, KY the first night to see family there.  The city is, of course, in a mad rush to prepare for the World Equestrian Games in September and rumor on the street is they have a lot of work still to do.  It was a nice break in the trip after 8 hours in the car, though.

Still, as much as I love horse country, the looming 11 hour drive was calling, so I left early from for the next stop in Gainesville, FL ,where a close friend and fellow Albion alumna, Kelyn, is also down in the Sunshine State for an internship.  It was the first time I had seen her since just after graduation so the stop was a great excuse to catch up.

The last leg of the journey was a short (!) 3 and a half hour drive to the beautiful Sarasota/ Venice area.  I arranged to live in a cute little rental house with plenty of room for me and guests, with the possibility of getting another intern to room with.  The area is beautiful and I rolled into the driveway on a sunny day, ready to begin the process of moving in all the random things necessary for real life (at least for the next few months in Florida).

Needless to say, it’s a bit tedious.

Mom and I at the Mote Marine Lab - my new home away from home.

As I’ve started the process, it brings back memories of that first day at Albion and moving into Wesley Hall four years ago.  I have the same nervous, anxious feelings about the complete change of life ahead.  The main difference about this move-in experience, however, was that after unpacking got a bit old, I decided to go to the beach.

(By the way, said beach is at the end of my road – Wesley Hall was great, but it never had that.)

I spent most of the time in the water, which is the perfect temperature and, after a good soak in the Gulf of Mexico (oil free), I headed home to finish unpacking and make the house ready for the all-important Mom visit.  (Of course Mom had to check out the place where her baby was living.)  I picked her up from the airport and excitedly rushed off toe Sarasota to Mote Marine Lab where I will work for the next few months.

They have a beautiful aquarium there, which I highly recommend!  It was a nice treat for my mom to get to see where I will spend a majority of my time and next we cruised downtown Sarasota, with its cute cafes, shops, and galleries.  Then we needed some time at the beach.  (Can you sense a theme here?)  It was another great day, even though the heat and humidity are pretty toasty (around 95 degrees each day).  

This is a shot from Siesta Key beach. (Get ready for a LOT of beach pictures in upcoming blogs!)

We went to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Siesta Key Beach, which is miles and miles of the softest, finest, whitest sand you have ever seen.  The waves were perfect for body surfing too!  And, because in Florida, there is no such thing as too much beach, we then took another soak at the home beach.  Later that night, we ate seafood at the pier at a place called Sharkies.  (The name refers to the ease with which people find shark teeth just by shifting though the sand.)  It was a great day that was topped off by meeting some of my fellow interns out in Sarasota.  (More on them to come.)

The last day of the Mom visit was spent at Myakka State Park, which has walking trails, a tree top canopy walk, as well as canoeing and kayaking.  We had a great time climbing up way above the treetops of the park and going on a 2 hour canoe ride through the gator-infested water!  (We did spot a handful of gators all of which sunk below the water when we approached, more annoyed than threatened by our presence.)

Here I am in the canopy.

All in all, it has been a great few days and I anxiously await my first day of work tomorrow.  More pictures and updates to come soon!

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