It's been about 7 months since I last saw my youngest brother and was chomping at the bit to get out of work Thursday night. Don't get me wrong, I love my job but I was really ready to board that plane to Jacksonsville the next morning. That and my childhood best friend Tiffany was flying in from San Francisco at midnight and I was excited to see her too!!
I picked her up from the airport and we had a blast that night even though we only had a couple hours to hang out. Her mom still lives in the same house around the corner from the house I was born into (our moms were pregnant together) and coming back was totally surreal. Tiff and I always seem to pick up where we left off no matter how much time has passed and while sitting in the living room that night I thought about us as kids together, realizing we really haven't changed much. I'm a little taller, her hair is a different color but we still laugh the same and about the same things. I love how Bernie (her mom) still has the same bamboo glass top coffee table that as kids Tiffany drew cartoons on while I schemed TV show ideas. Wow, time flies.
I woke up early the next morning and got on a plane to Jacksonville. It's a sunny city and the people are incredibly friendly. I rode the city bus to our hotel right on the St. John River and called to let Andy know I was finally there. The meeting between us outside the hotel was totally a scene out of a movie, of course followed with apologies to those around us for being so dorky and emotional. I couldn't believe how much taller, handsome, tan and striking he was. I have seriously handsome brothers and they seem to become more and more stunning each time I see them. It's the life and passion within them, I'm convinced.
Andy took me to the boat and I realize right away how the photos I'd seen do this ship no justice. I was stunned and gasped at first sight. Trying to blend in and not act like the camera happy sister I am, I was warmly greeted by each of the crew members and soon thereafter was put to work, scrubbing the deck. "This weekend... it's kinda like a car show, but for historic ships", Andrew informed me and I scrubbed harder.
The rest of the day I was pretty much an honorary crew member, especially after Capt. Dwight the gave me a crew t-shirt. Whoa. So many tourists coming and going, asking questions and many wanting to know "where is the plank?" You laugh politely but roll your eyes because this is so NOT a pirate ship and anyone in the sailing world already knew that, gosh. It was so fun to watch Andrew in action, telling details about rigging and other sailing language I still have yet to google.
The buzz that day was about a party later that night down at the Pride of Baltimore, a remake of a fantastic wooden ship. So after dinner with the crew and a long chat at Starbuck's, Andy and I met up with some of his crew and headed down to the sailor's party. My stomach still hurts from laughing at all the things that happened!! What fun! (And might I add, the term "cussing like a sailor" was highly inaccurate in this crowd!) I had a blast meeting crew members from all other ships - of all ages, all from different places, all with incredible stories, all sharing this insane love of sailing. What a night to remember. And it ended with me, Andrew and crew running down the pier towards the live cover band on stage playing in the square, all of us dancing as the last song played... The Turtles, So Happy Together... "Ba ba ba ba badadadada da, for all my liiiiiiife!"
The next two days were spent doing pretty much the same thing, and somehow the time flew by as I learned more about sailing than I thought possible. Dad and Uncle Greg showed up late Saturday and ready to sail - they are currently en route to Bermuda on the ship as part of the crew. It was a great time to spend with Uncle Greg too - our family is so huge (my dad has 7 brothers) and I've never had long periods of time to sit and get to know him and about his life. We all had some great laughs and late Sunday afternoon, I big everyone farewell and drove away for Orlando. (I was flying standby and all the Jacksonville flights were full.)
The drive was amazing and it was a great time to reflect all the non-stop action from the previous 2 days. I did however get a little sidetracked by all the exit signs and information about the Kennedy Space Center and the closer I got to Orlando, the more determined I was to find the shuttle. I saw on the news earlier how they are wheeling it out for the June13 launch and I was dying for just a glimpse. Well, I never found it and ended up missing my flight. Awesome. So I found a cheap hotel and made it home the next morning. I was bushed!!I definitely have a travel bug lately too... and am ready to go again. Next trip will be Orlando again to see DK's best friends in from London (they are visiting family) then Mexico with friends, then San Francisco, then Halifax, then who knows. Now I'm just rambling and am hungry for the new taco place across the street. So, see ya.