After a long, full year of surprises, tears, excitement, happiness, travel, and diving, I finally returned home for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I have more than one home.  I’m not sure when these other homes weasled their way into my heart, but they are there and I call many places home. It’s more of a feeling if nothing else.  I was fortunate enough to visit two homes on this vacation. Who knew people took vacations away from Hawaii when they live there?  

I started out visiting my dive family in Florida. After a 3 hour delay for maintenance, I had a feeling my trip was not going to go as smoothly as planned.  Once we finally pushed back and were on our way, I happily slept for the 8 hour flight before getting to Atlanta to learn I had missed my connection.  Shocker.  Approaching the gate agent, I was ready to bargain all sorts of deals to get me to my destination without too much delay. It was 9:30 in the morning. And my flight had been rescheduled for 10PM. Completely unacceptable!  The agent, however, quickly rescheduled me for the 10:15AM flight.  Whew!  After landing safely in Florida,  I picked up my rental car.  What another hassle that was!  It took FOREVER!  And they gave me a beetle. Not exactly my idea of dive friendly, but it worked. Off I was,  reaching no other hurdles on my way to Ginnie Springs.

The weekend was a blast from there. Seeing my dive buddies, getting some tech diving in,  and of course,  the annual Turkey Day meal and prizes put on by Spruce Creek Scuba, the dive shop I used to work at! That night,  my brother,  his girlfriend, and I went to dinner at his favorite restaurant and I got my fix of Dunkin Donuts’ vanilla chai in.   On Monday, I visited many friends who don’t dive (I’m still working on them and their misguided ways there), my school,  walked along Daytona Beach with my original ROOMIE, and had a fantastic dinner with a group of people I care dearly about. Tuesday was more seeing of awesome people and heading to Orlando to stay at a Disney Vacation Club resort with my study abroad roommate!  And Chipotle! We had a splendid time catching up (as always), before I headed up to NY for Thanksgiving celebrations on Wednesday.

NY WAS COLD!   OK. It was actually only 55-60 degrees. But I was cold! We went to my favorite restaurant the night I got in. I was beyond ecstatic that the waiters there actually remembered my order even though I literally hadn’t been there in over a year!   Thanksgiving was wonderful. My brother had come up as well and it was definitely a full house. And my aunts mashed potatoes!  Om nom nom.  Friday was Friendsgiving and I found myself surrounded by my high school fencing team ladies from my year. Quite a glorious reunion.

We were going to attempt to see a show on Saturday, but laziness prevailed and instead mom and I hung out at the house and cleaned out some things in my room and I read a lot. I miss reading. That evening I had dinner with my second family before calling it a night and the horror that I would be leaving soon kicked in. Sunday we went to church and I saw some choir people’s before heading out to a late lunch with my grandfather, aunt, and the rest of my immediate family. SO MUCH FOOD!   Mom,  brothers girlfriend, and I then went for mani/pedis.  My second ever. They were rolling at my ticklishness. Sigh. Good times though. I think I sufficiently got my fill of pizza and vanilla chais before packing the mess that was my belongings.

In going home and seeing most of the people I hold near and dear to me, I am reminded how fortunate I am to have these people in my life. The family I have created for myself, to include actual relatives and those who don’t share my heritage but certainly have my love,  is one in which I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’ve lived some pretty awesome experiences, but none compare to that feeling of home when you’re reunited with those you love (ok,  I promise my next post won’t be so sappy).  Happy Thanksgiving!!

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