No place I’d rather be: to my mother’s father

There’s no place I’d rather live than Orlando. Yesterday was yet another day that solidified this sentiment. I spent the day at Universal Orlando, at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, with a friend who is the bigger “Potterhead” I know. It was magic!

In the middle of the day I headed to the other side of Orlando to attend my best friend’s daughter’s birthday party. A pool party, in fact, which is a long standing Floridian’s way of celebrating practically any occasion.  Life, especially in Summer, is spent by the pool when you live in the Sunshine State.

Landshark frame and chair

After some time celebrating, listening for the thunder to be distant enough to resume splashing in the pool, I returned to Universal Orlando to cap off the night. We geeked out at the sight of the Gringott’s Dragon, the crowning glory perched atop the soon-to-open Diagon Alley.

We headed to Nascar Sports Grille to watch England vs. Italia in the 2014 World Cup. It was gratifying to see so many visitors from all over the world gathered in this sports bar at Universal CityWalk. The place erupted with cheers throughout the match.

When husband had all he could take of futbol, he and I headed back to Islands of Adventure, to go to our favorite Harry Potter pub, Hog’s Head pub. We chatted with the bartender only to hear that Hugh Jackman had visited the day prior and had stopped in to Hog’s Head to grab a drink and some Butterbeer for his kids. Hearing about a celebrity visiting the Orlando theme parks is not a rare occurrence, and I love knowing that my hometown is the vacation destination of so many, including the rich and famous.

The evening was capped off with an unexpected viewing  of the filming of The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Jimmy will be here for the next few days. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon is taping in Orlando this week. I watched for about 30 minutes, getting some fun video and even had the courage to yell “Jimmy!!!” like a fool and thus earned a wave and a big smile back from Jimmy Fallon himself.

So why am I writing all this, today on Father’s Day? Why after a month of not writing anything on my own blog, do I pick today to return? Last night I had a thought that although I have entertained this notion before, it seemed to really hit home last night. I am here as an Orlando Native mainly because of my mother’s father as well as my father’s heritage. I never met my maternal grandfather. He passed away before I was born. But my mother speaks of him as a very warm, kind, hard-working, compassionate man.

My grandfather packed up his family and moved from Baltimore, MD. He came here to Central Florida to work for Martin Marietta (now also known as Lockheed Martin). My mother met my father in high school. My dad is a Native Floridian, and that lineage goes back many generations. Were it not for my mother’s father coming here for such a great work opportunity, and my mother meeting my Native Floridian father, I would not be here.

 

I am so thankful for all that lead up to me being here. A wonderful, fun filled day is practically the norm for someone like me. A day spent at the theme parks, making amazing memories, enjoying the place where celebrities visit and big TV shows film, or perhaps a day by the pool or the beach, is normal living in Orlando.

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