“Be like tofu,” she said with a grandmotherly smile, “take on the flavor of Mayo (the hospital, not the food). Absorb its unique culture.” And just like my college days, I’ve been practicing taking on the flavor of Florida.
The culture here is quite the mix. I’ve been mistaken as Spanish speaking multiple times, with people speaking Spanish to me as if I must know the language. I do know a few phrases “Me gusta helado” (I like ice cream) and “Me llamo Laura” (my name is Laura). Both important phrases that have gotten me quite far in life and here in Florida.
This has been a week of firsts for us: Chad’s first nationals golf tournament, first alligator sighting (in the zoo), first dolphin sighting (at the beach, about 20 yards away from where we were swimming), and first time snorkeling in the ocean.
We spent 7 nights in Palm Beach while Chad played in his tournament. The girls and I explored the area while Chad played in the tournament:
- Manatee Lagoon – was a bust since it is not Manatee season. No manatees were spotted, but does look like a cool spot during manatee season. https://www.visitmanateelagoon.com/
- Palm Beach Zoo – we saw their “white alligator”- which is pretty much the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen and a normal alligator (also creepy due to how well it camouflaged into the pond). https://www.palmbeachzoo.org/
- Palm Beach Science Center – captivated us for hours. They had a lot of fun exhibits with my favorite being a neuroscience exhibit and the girl’s favorite being the kids area. https://www.sfsciencecenter.org/
- Loggerhead Marine Life Center— A turtle hospital that cares for injured adult sea turtles and also cares for baby sea turtles who had trouble making it out to sea. While we were there, we were able to watch them do an ultrasound on a sedated 290 lb turtle. I was fascinated by all of this… my sidekicks however, were not. https://marinelife.org/
- Juno beach – was gorgeous, but were unable to swim there due to big waves & “unsafe conditions”.
While we weren’t out exploring, we spent a lot of time at the resort hotel pool. The girls made a few “friends” who were fun at the beginning, but then turned into normal 3 & 4 year olds. As we tried to leave one day, 3 year old friend Gracie said, “NO! YOU CANNOT LEAVE!” And then I happily left her with her mom. There were sharing wars of course. But also fun things like the game of “let’s see how much water we can dump on mom’s head” and endless alligator rides. The childless women of the pool, luxuriously sunbathing in peace while sipping pina coladas, shot smiles of amusement as they watched me give endless alligator rides. Whenever I hopped out of the pool to reapply sunscreen or grab a drink of water (not vodka unfortunately), dictator Alice would yell (in a tone eerily similar to mine when they are in trouble), “MOM! GET IN THE POOL!” Jeepers, kid.
We came back a day early since Chad finished his golf round earlier than expected. After 7 days of hotel living, we were so ready to be back “home”. It feels lovely to be back in our Florida place, where we don’t all have to share one room. The girls don’t sleep well when we travel, so I’m enjoying full nights of sleep again.
On Saturday we went to the beach, where we saw the dolphin and a live sand dollar (which I learned is a living creature). To top off a lovely day, we stopped for ice cream on our way home at “Sweet Melissa’s”, where we are becoming regulars.
The past two days have been gloriously humidity free, making 90 degrees feel… might I say, cool? *** Of note, our AC is finally fixed- thank goodness. We are looking forward to 3 weeks of no travel and then will be heading back to Minnesota for my sister Amelia’s wedding!!!
Sending love back home,