So on Tuesday the 28th I did a spot of shopping at cast connection and then spent the early afternoon with Charlotte in MK, avoiding the rain and having a magical time, as you always do in the magic kingdom :). It wasn't a late finish as I finished work at 9.15pm but I think this was always the worst time to finish as it meant I didn't get home until about 10.30pm....then I decided it was about time I started to organise stuff and start to pack for my removal from vista on the friday... which was starting to loom like an unwelcome house guest. So I did some washing and packing and just chilled out. Wednesday was my last day working at ATT, it was so sad to leave, but I had a really bad day in roles, got my most hated roles all day, didn't even operate the main console at aladdin all day and well we also had some rain down time. But I did get to close the tiki room and I also was closing Aladdin, so I got that joy just once more. Overall it wasn't a bad day, but it was sad to say goodbye to so many people! As I closed I didn't get a chance to do anything other than work on my last day either, so that wasn't a favourite but hey ho, I still worked in the Happiest Place on Earth again this summer and it was so so worth all the heartache it's causing me now!
Thursday was my last day with all of my group of UK friends, we spent the day in MK, joined throughout the day by various friends who had to pop in and out of plans due to other commitments. I got to go back to the carpets to see those people who weren't there on my last day, got to ride again and see the tiki show one last time. I also got some amazing pictures, we also did some random things, got my memory book thing signed by them all and we had a wonderful dinner over at beaches and cream. The plan was to do the kitchen sink but we had real food instead, which was good and fun times were had, such as Amy deciding she was ham eyes and scaring a fellow brit to the point of worrying about her sanity I think. Good memories. The night ended with Wishes and crying of course, parting is such sweet sorrow lol. But we have to believe that we will see each other soon!
Friday held initial travelling to South Carolina, Hilton Head Island to visit my friend who is living and working there for the year. It took us about 6 hours on the greyhound bus to get there with a layover in Jacksonville, Florida. It was a fairly smooth ride, but was so tired, having been up late packing, and having slept really badly the night before, long travelling did not go down well with a tired Laura. But once we were there it was so nice, we stayed with Kate's friends, saw the hotel she worked at, which was very nice, we had dinner there which was so yummy and then we went back to hers to have a big old catch up and natter about life and what's been going on in our lives. It was so good to see her again! I hadn't seen her since February! Then we got some much needed sleep ready for the next day, we went to the beach (where I proceeded to get very sunburned), had an experience for dinner at a diner where the staff are rude to you as part if the show as Disney would say. It was fun, bit odd, but an experience nonetheless...after this Kate had to go to work so me and Sarah headed down the road for a spot of mini golf - I lost as usual - I always lose mini-golf. It was fun and we managed to get a bit of shade which was nice too, who knew it could be so hot elsewhere in the states as it is in Florida. Not to mention that there seemed to be more bugs in South Carolina than in Florida...Anyways we had fun, then we went to chill out at the apartment, we watched some movies and packed everything up again! Ready for our 1am greyhound bus to DC. The coach trip itself was reasonably uneventful, but it was so tiring and long (it took nearly 12 hours I think to get there) and we had 2 layovers which was crazy and a bit stressful really. But we finally got there about 1pm on Sunday and made our way to the hostel we were staying at. It was a great hostel, really good value, very clean, friendly staff, free wifi (had we taken a laptop) and even a free breakfast.... what more can you want. Plus it was really central so we could get almost anywhere. We did the museum of natural history on sunday afternoon and ended the day with dinner at Ruby Tuesdays, before there was a torrential rain storm which forced us to go back to the hostel to take cover, re-print my e ticket for the flight back to florida, which I had lost somehow somewhere between vista and DC...it could be anywhere, but hey its invalid now and I don't think it had anything important on it... I hope. Anyways after this we got some sleep and then the next day we were up bright and early for breakfast and then off to explore DC. We went to the space and plane museum, sneakily eating chips in their restaurant...oh dear lol and then the memorials and mall all around DC. We were also looking around the botanical gardens near the capitol. Was much fun and we also had a brief look in another museum, but Sarah's camera battery ran out so we went back to put that on charge too. We finished the day off with dinner at Nando's before collapsing into bed that night - exhausted. The following day we checked out the rest of the memorials we hadn't got around to until then, we also went to the holocaust museum, it was very sobering and very real, it was good but it made me feel really sad, which I suppose is the point, but I would recommend it if you want to learn lots about the holocaust. We also saw the white house and wandered around the momuments at night, after finding a random place to have dinner where we struggled to understand what was going on, but the food was good :D And once again we collapsed into a deep slumber, but not after having to pack everything away again for checkout the next day.
The next day we lugged our cases onto the metro (underground train - subway) over to arlington cemetery to see the tomb of the unknown soldier and the changing of the guard, before hopping back on the metro to get over to the airport for our 2 hour short haul flight to orlando. It was a short flight and it had some weird A/C going on, it kinda looked like the plane was on fire, disconcerting I know, but I survived to tell the tale :) We got back to Orlando in good time and then went and found a mears cab to take us over to the commons area so we could walk over to our friends apartment where we were staying for the next few days. We met her there and got help getting and taking our stuff to her apartment. She and the other flat mates had only just moved in too, it is such a nice apartment, so homely even in its not-quite-finished state. We felt at home there :) That night we watched spice world, because we're cool and did some chatting and seeing lots of people, but there were a few goodbyes too :(. The next day we slept for a long time, being so tired from the travelling, then we got up and chilled around the apartment and were chatting to Mary Ann, Briana, Rachael and Amber before we went over to the outlet mall for a spot of shopping. Then we went to dinner night to see even more people and have good times, played a card game and chatted about random things, that happen on dinner night, so once again, a fairly late night. Then on Friday we were again chatting to people in the morning and having a good time, then we had our 'tea party' with Rocky, who we taught how to drink tea the english way. The day was also followed with a viewing and singalong/dance along to aladdin and then an epic kitchen sink endeavor. There were 7 of us, but we finished that beast! It was a fun night, but sad as it held even more goodbyes, there were a lot that night, but I held it together somehow. It turned into another late night as always. The next day we were heading over to boardwalk inn to stay the night and go to night of Joy, we stayed at the apartment until late afternoon, watching the holiday, because it's clearly christmas soon lol and just making the most of having our friends around. Then Briana and Rocky took us over to the boardwalk and we checked in. However this is where my composure breaks and there were a lot of tears.. I'm not ashamed but still. Then we saw our room, the boardwalk Inn is amazing! It had the best beds and furniture and decorations and it had a balcony and a garden view and just wow. Then we went off to find food and book the magical express for the next day. We ate at the ESPN club, short wait, good food, shame about the amount of sport going on lol, that is kinda the point I know, and I had never eaten in there before. So we had dinner and then went off to MK for night of joy, which was so much fun, we met up with two of our other friends Reed and Andrea for most of the night and had a whale of a time, got to seem some wonderful ATTers and ride the carpets one last time, saw some awesome performances, a real high for the end of the program. It did mean a late night though, we got back to the hotel about 2am and went straight to sleep. We had to be out of the room by 11am the next day, but we kept our bags at the front desk. It was rainy and cold-ish typically for our last day which was sad, but we did some last minute shopping and ate breakfast and ice cream at boardwalk. It was a nice but bittersweet morning before the magical express arrived to whisk us off to the airport. Once we were on that the video typically made us sad and we were not exactly happy to be leaving. Then at the airport spot of last last minute shopping and chilling lol. We saw Manisha at the airport with her family, as they were on the same flight as us. The flight itself was uneventful to be honest, it was only 7 and a half hours, and again i cried. But then I got back to England and it was cold and miserable and yeah. My parents were late again, the satnav this time, they just can't make it there on time lol. Then more tears before a long car ride home, where I slept.
And that's about it I guess, the end of my magical summer 2012 and the second college program. Maybe I'll blog some more later but for now TTFN!