My feelings on Walt Disney World’s Epcot are complicated. It’s the park geared toward adults with smaller crowds and more free space to wander. The pace was less frantic giving the illusion of being a tourist in a different country taking in architecture and food instead of a typical theme park. I didn’t feel pressured to hurry from place-to-place, which was a welcome break from other parks in Disney World, mainly Magic Kingdom. BUT, I would have enjoyed Epcot more... [Read More]Read more
Apparently, I’m a risk-taker.
Each summer, for seven years, we’ve welcomed a visiting Challenger Sports soccer coach in town for a British soccer camp. The coaches we’ve hosted are young men between the ages of 18-23. They need a place to call home for seven days. This week during camp, a mother I don’t know wanted to talk about hosting. More precisely, she wanted to talk about how negligent I was being.
I was asked if I thought I was being risky and didn’t I think it was dangerous to bring a strange man into my home with my family and how would I feel if something bad happened. For starters, no one has ever used the words risky and dangerous to describe me. Those who know me would have found the conversation laughable. I’m about as cautious as people come.
She raised valid points, but hosting a soccer coach from a reputable company who has to jump through numerous government hoops to work in this country is not akin to me stopping a strange man on the streets and offering him a room. We’re not reckless.
When we first decided to host seven years ago, we had three small boys under the age of six, and I was ginormously pregnant with our daughter. I researched Challenger Sports before checking the box on the registration form confirming we were interested in hosting a coach. The closer we became to camp, the more I worried. I never once thought I was putting us in danger or risking anything. Merriam-Webster defines risk as “possibility of loss or injury” and “someone or something that suggests a hazard.” I was concerned the coach wouldn’t like my cooking and quite frankly, wouldn’t like my family. I didn’t and don’t believe I have anything to lose.
If I’m going to be labeled a risk-taker, then I’m going to take those risks on people. Opening yourselves to people is risky. People can be disappointing, heartbreaking, infuriating, lazy and ignorant. People can also be up-lifting, responsible, caring, loving, funny and brilliant. Taking care of people I know isn’t risky. It’s easy to support a loved one. It’s much harder to take in those where there is no connection.
I want my children to understand the meaning of hospitality and be generous with what they have to give. I might one day need someone else to open their home and hearts to one of my children. Each of these coaches we’ve brought into our family is the son of someone. They have a mum across the ocean who hopes there are people taking care of her son.
This world needs more risk-taking. We need to take care of one another and reach out to other people because we have the common thread of being people who need relationship and love.
I didn’t think the humidity could get much worse than we had endured until the morning we walked into Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World. The sky was void of color, replaced with gray haze. I stepped off the bus and my glasses instantly fogged while dew collected on every service, including us. I feared the humidity would lead to a rough day in Animal Kingdom, but the kids were impervious to the weather once we were immersed in the... [Read More]Read more
A few years back, it came to my attention that Walt Disney World holds Star Wars Weekends annually in May and June. Our boys were obsessed with Star Wars at the time. I took Jedis to the grocery store with me and forced Stormtroopers to remove their helmets for lunch. Their book choices and LEGO sets revolved around Star Wars. I watched YouTube videos from Star Wars Weekends and knew if we were ever to visit Walt Disney World, it... [Read More]Read more
I answered the phone this afternoon and was greeted with, “Hi Mom. I missed you.” It was the first time in six days we had any communication from our oldest who was at Boy Scout summer camp, and he had missed me. He missed all of us, but let’s focus on the part where he missed ME. I had to keep myself from crying tears of joy and relief. I’m such an emotional sap. He was full of stories from... [Read More]Read more
I remember that last month of my first pregnancy 13 years ago. I checked and double-checked the lists of tasks to complete and items to buy. I told everyone who asked that I was ready to welcome that baby boy. I was a fool. I’ve thought about how unprepared I was for motherhood many times over the years. It’s apparent after this week, that my biggest hurdle to overcome is my inability to let go. Letting go is one of... [Read More]Read more
The magic at Walt Disney World Magic Kingdom begins before you enter the park. The promise of Disney magic can drag even the most reluctant child from bed. There are many benefits to arriving before the gates open at the parks in Disney World. We were greeted by the mayor and several characters made an appearance by train at the Main Street, U.S.A depot 20 minutes before the official gate opening of Magic Kingdom. There were thousands of people, even... [Read More]Read more
I have two words for potential visitors to Walt Disney World: be prepared. Seriously, don’t arrive in Orlando thinking everything will be magical without planning beforehand. There is a lot happening at Walt Disney World. It’s important to know your options and fit those with your family. Everyone’s trip to Disney World looks a little different, much like a fingerprint. Our visit was fast and furious. We’ve visited Disneyland in California twice and felt our experiences there would be helpful.... [Read More]Read more
Walking through the brick wall into Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida is magical in a way I didn’t know existed. Looking up the crooked narrow street leading to Gringotts Bank and the massive stone dragon perched on its roof stopped us in our tracks. It was the Diagon Alley I had envisioned all those years ago when I read the Harry Potter series the first time. Harry Potter and Ron Weasley could walk out of the Leaky Cauldron any minute. The air... [Read More]Read more
The main draw for us to visit Universal Orlando was the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter books captured my imagination in college and now I have my own muggles who wield wands and casts spells like their favorite Hogwarts characters. Universal Orlando consists of two parks: Universal Studios and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. In order to tour both parks, visitors need to purchase park-to-park tickets granting access to both parks. I’m going to discuss the parks separately,... [Read More]Read more