I was filled with such foreboding about the band trip that I decided I needed an attitude change. Modeled after the idea in the book One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (great concept; couldn't stand the writing style), I challenged myself to find 100 gifts during the 6 days of the trip.
That list is below, with a few comments. This is perhaps not interesting to anyone but myself. I might wish to read this when I am older and more decrepit, to remind myself that I was able (barely) to do this trip.
By far the most enjoyable part of the trip for me was at Universal Studios parks, in the Harry Potter worlds. They have recreated Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley in an utterly charming, if expensive, way. A wand costs $48, people. That's a lot of galleons. The sales staff refer to a credit card as Muggle Money, although I was so lacking in sleep I thought they were saying “bubble money.” That made sense to me, because going to an amusement park is like being in a bubble. The music in the Harry Potter worlds is vastly superior to the usual amusement park music pablum.
I also enjoyed seeing the dance team workshop. These young women have a remarkable ability to quickly learn a physical move, remember it, and repeat it gracefully. Their workshop was a huge intellectual and physical endeavor and they excelled.
|Hogwarts at Universal Studios park. I did not enter;|
it was enough for me to admire it from the outside.
|The entrance to the village of Hogsmeade|
|Over in the other Universal Studios park,|
|A very fine mode of transportation. I rode this train three times.|
Band trip Tuesday
Riding this bus is like living with a newborn baby. You wake up every two hours whether you want to or not.
1 Younger Daughter very helpful during check-in procedure.
2 YD cheerful & enthusiastic!
3 I brought extra water which was needed for students
4 my travel pillow
5 bus has seat belts. Which I am using
6 grapes from fellow chaperone
7 my blanket
8 the chaperone jacket
9 my sweatshirt
Band trip Wednesday
Total steps walked today: at least 20,000
730 am breakfast stop at a McDonald's at Exit 57 off of I95 in Walterboro, SC. Left at 8:35. About 100 people in that McD's all at once (2 buses worth). And that's only 1/3 of the band.
Arrive Univ Studios park 2:30 PM
Met up with Sandy B (orch chaperone) and walked with her for a while.
Bought choc frog
Arrived at hotel 10:30 PM
10 got extra water from band medic
11 bladder holding up well
12 short legs are better for this type trip. I have short legs
13 breakfast with egg mcmuffin, oj (no caffeine!) and grapefruit
14 so glad I had a shower before leaving home.
18 Husband added more minutes on YD’s phone
19 rather short wait times at the rides at Univ Studios
20 the train between Hogwarts and Diagon Alley
21 Diagon Alley
23 roommate with congenial personality
24 music in the Harry Potter worlds.
|Every few minutes that dragon spews actual fire.|
I was not able to catch it with my camera.
Band trip Thurs
Total steps 12,800 - a lazy day
In bed at approx 12:30 AM
Did not sleep one wink
Today I spent most of the day being photographer for the dance team and flag team. Fun!
26 I am still alive
27 comfortable bed
28 did not have to spend $10 on a rain poncho yesterday
29 in Lahore Pakistan it is 100 degrees and I am not there
30 Younger Daughter!
31 YD got up on time and ate a healthy hearty breakfast.
32 smoked salmon at breakfast.
33 water bottle. Spill-proof (as long as the lid is closed!)
34 granola bars and cereal snack bags I packed at home
35 flexible Disney auditions staff
36 Air conditioned audition studios
37 blessed time alone, completely alone, while waiting for second dance group to arrive.
38 knee functioning okay
39 someone in our group found my lost hotel key in magic Kingdom
40 electrical outlets on the bus for recharging phone
41 ice cream
42 I only had to spend 2 hours in Magic Kingdom
43 got to see the dance team in action
44 the Peoplemover ride
45 cough medicine and antihistamine to help me sleep
|Dance team photos involve lots of flying ponytails|
|Apparently this guy is a member of the Disney empire|
Band trip Friday
JB (student) missing pair very expensive dress shoes.
About 10:30 AM entered Epcot
11:30 call time for Band
12:00 departed on bus from Epcot to concert venue
2:30 left to return to Epcot
By 9 pm had walked 16,300 steps
Total steps probably 25,000 for Friday.
46 bus drivers who know their job and do it well
47 dedicated and competent band parents - all volunteers
48 my fanny pack.
49 kids tolerant, cooperative, and even sometimes enthusiastic about me taking their photo
50 athletic bra
51 peanut butter biscuit for lunch
52 Younger Daughter's henna art
53 news from Older Daughter
54 that my roommate did not drown when she fell asleep in the bathtub and that I was able to wake her up so she could go to bed
55 that sharing a bed with someone I didn't know isn't too bad.
|The Happiest Iconic Golf-Ball|
|The hotel pool at 5:30 AM. There was no time for chaperones|
to enter this paradise.
Band trip Saturday
Left hotel at 10:05 am
Today is at Hollywood studios park
impressive live show about stunts in Indiana Jones.
Left that park at 5 pm to go to our 5th amusement park in 4 days.
swim party and awards ceremony at Typhoon Lagoon.
Feeling totally drained. Sciatic nerve pain when walking. Every muscle hurts.
Left TL at 10:20 pm to head for Pgh
Total steps for the day 16,000
56 pleasant lunch in sitdown resto with other chaps
57 Star Wars music
58 Indiana jones stunt show was cool
59 I didn't get blisters
60 apparently I am still alive
61 ice cream bar in iconic Mickey Mouse shape with dark chocolate
62 no mosquitos until Sat evening.
63 wore long pants today - good choice
64 did not get shoes wet at water park
65 did not get a sinus infection
66 did not get any stomach ailment
67 Did not get a virus.
68 weather was reasonable
70 Younger Daughter
71 camera seemed to function okay
73 my new water bottle
74 there was not a nuclear bomb
75 nothing was stolen (except perhaps JB's dress shoes)
76 that labor and childbirth doesn't last as long as this band trip
77 my travel pillow
78 granolA bars
79 gorgeous day for traveling
80 prayers of friends and family
81 that sciatica did not appear until today.
|Errant marching band shoe found at the hotel breakfast venue.|
Not JB's dress shoe
|The Happiest and Largest Wave Pool on Earth|
at Typhoon Lagoon
Band trip Sunday
82 chance to brush teeth for 20 seconds
83 at breakfast stop. we are 6.5 hours drive away from high school (if we could drive straight through without stopping. Which we can't.
84 I am told it is promising to be a beautiful day in Pgh today
86 beautiful mountain scenery of southwestern Virginia
87 saw the New River Gorge in WV
88 thought of Bil Lepp
89 a lovely thank you text from a student
90 the only thing I lost was one cheap earring and I had three of those so now I still have two.
91 there were no traffic accidents. The only bus breakdown was before we even started the trip
92 I did not hear or read one word about the election campaign during this entire trip. Not. One. Word. Hallelujah!
93 We did not leave anyone behind.
94 If there was any illness among the students, it didn't get passed around.
95 JB found one of his shoes.
So I didn’t quite list 100 gifts. But I was 1000 times grateful at making it home.
The student who lost his shoes ended up finding one of his own and someone else’s shoe. He went home with two right shoes.
|I was explosively happy to arrive home|