We spent the remainder of our time in Naples at the beach. It was so lovely there, and very casual. Because the house was so close to the beach, we could load up our bikes and head over to the beach. Down the middle of the beach, there was a pretty pier. We never went up to until the very last day.
We walked along, and looked over the side, and watched people fishing and such. It was a lovely view from there. It was great to spend some time with the Dornbusch family before Kara's wedding in the summer, and it was a great end to all my wedding related business in Florida!
We spent a lot of our time in Florida at the beach. I know a lot of people come to Florida for the beach, but most times when I visit, I rarely see a beach,and in this visit alone I had been 4 times, which, for me, must be some sort of record. I love the pretty sand, and searching for pebbles and shells and what not. Krista and Kara's cousins were over, and we made lots
of sand castles each day, until they got washed away. It was nice to spend some time with Kara and Krista before their weddings, as they are the first of our family friends where I will actually be able to go to their weddings and have met their fiances! It was beautiful weather the whole time we were there. With the beach not far away, we were there pretty much every day!
It was great that we could bring our own drinks and such down there too. We took lots of walks along the beach, especially racing down there in the evening to make sure we were in time to catch the sunset! Most days, we didn't make it for sunset, and instead went to get frozen yoghurt on our bikes instead! It was just a nice little slice of calm before I had to head back to the United Kingdom - and so much warmer than it would be when I went home!
After we had our week of wedding planning in central Florida, we headed down to Naples to visit our friends who have a house down there. They usually live in Michigan, but vacation down there. We had just a great time the whole week - riding around to get ice cream on
bikes, lounging at the pool, and walking down to the beach. It was so nice to finally relax after the whole stressful week! I mentioned to their Dad, that I have always wanted to visit the Everglades, and ride on one of those air boats like the main guy on the CSI: Miami show. I used
to watch it constantly, and it's kind of always been on my bucketlist! So he suggested we all go down to the Everglades - it wasn't nearly as far as I had thought! So after some convincing, we got Krista and Kara to go with us, and although we couldn't pull the Mom's off the beach - off we went. It was
a really nice boat ride, all along the mangrove trees, and then through the mangroves, and down all these little canals cut through the swarm of trees. We got to the middle of this huge water area, and we were allowed to drive the boat! It was super cool - and, while it looked easy - it felt harder than it looked - but I had a great time and felt super cool in my bright pink ear protectors! It was so hot and sunny in the Everglades - and while it seemed like such a "low key" activity on my bucketlist - I just so enjoyed it!
Coincidentally, the place where we got to ride the airboats also had a few baby alligators, for people to hold and have their photos with. To be honest, it was probably illegal for them to have them, as the people working there were a bit....strange....but it was exiting for us,
as well as for Krista and Kara's little cousins who came along with us! They were still quite cute at that size! On the way back from the Everglades, we stopped along the highway a couple times to see some alligators hanging out in the swamps nearby!
Not only was the airboat super fun, and the Everglades a really beautiful place, but I also got to drive the airboat too! It was easy, although I wasn't very good at it! It was super fun!We took turns driving it and snapping photos of each other too!
On our trip on our super cool air boat in the Everglades, our guide and driver pulled us up near some trees, and started sprinking this food near the trees and in the water. All these cute little racoons came out to eat it. They were literally everywhere. From not seeing them, to wham - they were all there! They weren't afraid of people at all, and climbed all over the trees and boat. They were super adorable, athough sadly did carry rabies. I snapped some quick pictures of them and their cute families as they nibbled on the food!
We stayed with Josh's parents after that, while we did some more bridesmaids dress shopping, and meeting with the wedding planner. I LOVE their cats, but Sokka the cat is the best of all the 5 they currently have at home. He's adorable, and likes to be right in with the action - jumping up on the table to get your attention! And he lets me hold him, which is always a surprise!
As soon as the Easter holidays started, I hopped on a plane with Mummy to Florida. I was meant to go with Shelby, but sadly, she was really, really ill, and couldn't make the trip. We spent the first few days in Orlando, going to dress shops, and wedding appointments -
our whole time was literally booked solid, althought I did get to go in the lazy river at the hotel a few times! I also got to make smores at the Hilton - they provided them for free, and I went down to the fire pit they had! It was great! Then we headed for Tampa and Sarasota,
to look at MORE bridal dresses. Eventually, I had to make a decision, and I went back to a little store in Tampa, with a lovely lady called Ashley, and the most beautiful dress ever! I love it. I am so glad that I waited outside the door, and emailed furiously so that I could go back and get it!
After that, we had the smaller things to sort out - the wedding cake, and the florist, and that stuff was much more fun, after getting the stress of the wedding dress found! I was so lucky that my parents flew Rachel in, from where she lives in LA. She came to stay with us in Sarasota, and along with her, and Josh's sisters, we all went and looked at bridesmaids dresses! We went to a LOT of shops too, and it became the next big decision! While we didn't pick any that day, I now know there are lots of options!
We spent a day at the top rated beach in America, Siesta Key. It was so lovely, even though all we did was walk along it. The sand is so lovely and just like sand. It was nice to relax after our stressful week, and enjoy some sun and sand!
After all of our classes at University finished, we only rarely had to go in to Uni, so a lot of our days were spent in a kind of lazy fashion. The summer weather started about April time - only days before, where I needed a coat, it was suddenly sunny.
Jasmeen, Rachel, Emma and I agreed to meet up in one of the parks in London. It was a little hard to find them, because everyone in London seemed to be out, sitting on the grass, enjoying the Summer sunshine! We were able to chat, and moan about our University classes, and work in general. But generally, it was just nice to be outside of the classroom! It was a nice day, and gave us time to relax before we all headed off on holiday for Easter!
Right at the end of term, before I went on holidays, I got a call from Josh's school saying I could interview for a job there. I was super excited, while, although it was extremely short notice, I did get to go see Josh at work! I got to sit in on some of his classes, and meet some of his collegues. The interview must have
gone well because I got the job there! A friend of his walked me to the train station so I didn't get lost and I took myself right back to the airport. I wasn't in Frankfurt very long, but it was nice to just be with Josh for a short time. It is exciting to think that this train commute will be my new commute come August!
We spent an entire week at the RAF base, using their altitude chambers for some research as part of our Masters degree. It was really nice to eat there, and live all together with my coursemates, but the work was INCREDIBLY boring! But in the evenings, we got to play pool, which I guess made up for this!
School continued on, and we had tons and tons of exams, and it was just a lot of days spent inside my room, and going back and forth to class. Some days, though, Sonia and I went into the local area, which was quite nice, with lots of nice restaurants and such,
to get an ice cream. On our nice long walks, as a break from studying, we would walk along the river, or down near the houses of Parliment. We took some really pretty photos of the shard as well too! I think I will miss that part of living in London - the beautiful blue skies and mine and Sonia's walks along the river!