Monday, November 19, 2012

Orlando Field Trip 14.5

On September 24, 2012 I started my journey down to Orlando, Florida.  I had decided to go a few days early so that I would get to go out and experience some of the many attractions before the field trip.  On Tuesday, September 25, I got to Orlando and met up with a couple of friends at the airport who came from California.  We took a short cab over to the hotel.  Got settled in and then we decided to look around the hotel before getting something to eat.  We went to this restaurant where they have many items that you can choose from and decide which ones that you like best.  When I saw Alligator bites on the menu, I did not hesitate to order this.  I love trying out new foods, and this is something that you would never be able to get in Canada.  After dinner we went back up to our room and got into some hilarious discussions.  We realized very quickly that we were bonding and becoming great friends, especially with some of the funny/embarrassing stories that we were sharing that went on until the wee hours of the morning.

 The next day we found out that plans had changed for Field Trip 15.  My first reaction was hoping that everything was okay and understanding that sometimes things happen and there is no way around it.  But once I heard that most people were still coming, I started to realize that we would make this trip a once in a life time experience.  We truly bonded over the week and by the end of it we had all become even closer and did not want to go home. 

I was really excited to meet new people and reunite with friends that I had met at previous PRS events.  It felt more like a family reunion.  We all supported each other and no one was left out of anything.  Michelle Belanger and Tiffany did a great job getting some special locations set up so that we could all get together to socialize. 

Many of us stayed in Orlando for the full week, and we did a lot more things then I think any of us expected that we would.

We went to Island Paradise and went on the major rides which were the roller coasters.  The first roller coaster we went on was the "Incredible Hulk" It instantly took my breath away and I couldn't believe how fast it went but I loved it nonetheless. Whenever I go to an amusement park, my main goal is to go on every roller coaster possible.  I absolutely love them, and I was really excited that I was going on them with my friends.

While we were at the park, we met up with a few more people and they joined in with some of the rides.  By the afternoon, we decided to take a break and go to Margaritaville restaurant.  I was really excited that we were going here, as I had always heard good things about this place.

In the evenings for those of us who like to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, we would go to the hotel rooftop which was called the Moon.  It was a nice open space that looked over Orlando.  We would chat, play games, dance, and share stories.

For my birthday celebration we went to Senor Frogs.  I still don't know who arranged the VIP entrance and the birthday shots, so if you read this: thank you so much! It was an unforgettable experience.  It was one of the best birthday celebrations that I have ever had and I will never forget it.  Many field trippers as well as Michelle Belanger came out to celebrate, have drinks, listen to music, socialize and dance.  The waiters in the restaurant were really nice, and took good care of us.

When I was in Orlando I also had the opportunity to go go-karting with a couple of field trippers.  Go-karting is one of my favorite things to do.  We went to Fun Spot Attractions.  It was a small amusement park with a few rides and they had several go-kart tracks.  It was a lot of fun and I made friends with fraternal twins who worked for Fun Spot. They were really nice and let us stay after the park had closed to go on a couple more rides.  We went on the bumper cars, and decided to stay on there several times in a row, it was awesome! .

The day after go-karting I woke up with a horrible headache.  I was supposed to go to Disneyworld in the morning with a few of my Canadian friends.  I decided to go back to bed, and hoped that I could join them later on.  After getting a few more hours of sleep, I woke up and still had a really bad headache, but I thought to myself, "I'm in Orlando. Who knows when I will be back?" and I was dying to go to Disneyworld since I absolutely love Disney and I knew it would be a great day hanging out with some good friends.  So I got up, had a quick shower, took a cab and met them in the park.  We went to Magic Kingdom, and went on Space Mountain a couple times, Thunder Mountain, Astro Blasters, Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain.  I was really glad that I went, since I know I would've regretted it if I hadn't.  It was a great day of fun with some awesome friends!

In the evening I went to Horror Nights which is in Universal Studios with one of my Canadian friends.  It was a lot of fun, and I'm so glad that I went.  When we got to the park we immediately decided to go on the Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit Rollercoaster.  After the ride we walked around, and they have scare actors who are dressed up in costumes and if you don't pay attention to what your doing, or if you are talking to someone they will try to scare you.  I had this happen several times.  We also went into a couple of haunted houses.  They did a really good job putting in that scare factor.  I just wished the lines weren't so long, because it would've been nice to have more time to visit more of the haunted houses since they all had different themes.

While we were in Orlando, we also did a NOH8 photo shoot.  Before the field trip Betsy had messaged me and asked me what I thought of the idea since this was something that she wanted to do that had a lot of meaning to her and she thought maybe we could also show our support for Ryan as well.  It was a huge honor that she had asked me to help out.  We had no problem with field trippers wanting to show their support and were more then willing to wear tattoos and have their photos taken.  Everyone played a huge role, for example getting a special card for all of us to sign, taking photos, applying tattoos, lighting candles, and coming up with ideas.  We all worked really well together as a team and I know this meant a lot to Betsy since she really wanted this for a special member of her own family, and for all of us who were so willing to show our support for Ryan.  Even though we all took this seriously, we were able to have fun with it as well.  Once we all got home from the field trip we got together online and discussed the NOH8 book that Betsy wanted to put together for Ryan.  The book was presented and given to him by Ewa and I at the Halloween Trick or Retreat as a gift from Betsy, and the rest of us who participated.

I couldn't believe how fast that week went by and that it was now time to say goodbye.  I always find the last day so hard to say goodbye to all of my friends that have become a huge part of my life.  Overall, I had a really good time in Orlando.  I made some new friends on the field trip and at Fun Spot, I learned a lot about myself, I had an awesome birthday celebration that I will never forget, I was open to trying out new food and drinks, I went on all of the major roller coasters, and I went go-karting. It will definitely be one of those holidays that I will look back on and think that was one of the best experiences of my life and I will never forget it. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

My Halloween Trick or Retreat Experience!

Some of you may have been at the Halloween retreat that took place this past weekend in North Carolina. For those of you who could not be there I wanted to share my experience so that you can get an idea of what it was like through my eyes. I have to say with all of the stuff going on with Hurricane Sandy, we managed to have an awesome time at the retreat! We had a great bunch of people show up, made lots of new friends and reunited with friends we had met at past events. We truly have become a PRS Family.  This was my second retreat that I have attended.  My first retreat was for Bureau members only and this was held in Pennsylvania in July 2012 for Ryan's Birthday.  The video link for the PA retreat is posted below:  

The retreats are usually capped at 30 people so it is a smaller, intimate group which gives you a lot more opportunity to get to know one another. There is a schedule but it is a lot more relaxed, which I am totally happy with because sometimes I do like to have my own time or go off and create my own adventures.

New Hope Camp was a beautiful location. Lots of room with plenty of space for gathering, and sleeping. I just signed up for Camp Paranormal which is at the same location as the retreat. I'm very excited to go back!

We had three awesome volunteers that do an awesome job cooking for all of us. I can't imagine how difficult it must be to make sure there is plenty of food to go around, but they have proved to us over several events now that they make sure that everyone is well fed, even with some left overs.

It is  helpful to have lodging and food all paid for since traveling alone can cost a lot of money, especially if you live out as far as I do in Canada. I'm not constantly worrying about having a budget about how much money I can spend on food etc.

We had a HUGE Halloween party. Thanks to those who were able to bring some Halloween decorations, candies, drinks, and food to share. It was A LOT of fun! I still can't believe I wore my Tinker Bell and Boxing Girl costume! I'm not really into dressing up, but I'm glad that I went ahead and joined in with everyone. I really hope that PRS will hold another Halloween retreat next year! Be sure to come, you won't regret it!

Here are some of the things we did:
  • Went for walks at night
  • Watched horror movies and episodes of X-Files
  • Had a costume contest
  • Halloween party
  • Costume photo shoot
  • Decorated our cabins
  • Decorated the main hall
  • I-ching with Sergey
  • Binural beats
  • Played board games
  • Danced to music

I really hope that this gives you a good idea of what went on at the Halloween retreat.  I have also posted a link to a video that I made with the help of fellow retreaters who were nice enough to share their photos.

I wanted to thank Ryan, Sergey, Chris, Eilfie and our volunteers  for an awesome weekend! You guys all did an amazing job of making this a memorable event for me and everyone else. I am looking forward to going back to New Hope Camp for Camp Paranormal in March. Looking forward to seeing all of you then. It was a great bonding experience and I made a lot of new friends. There were lots of laughs, smiles, and a great experience all around!