I’m a member of a Toastmasters Club at my office. Twice a month we get together at lunch to brush up on our public speaking skills. People give organized speeches, we answer table topics, and share short stories centered around a theme.
This week we shared stories related to “March Madness”. I wrote something quickly on my commute into work that day and shared it with the group, and then I decided to publish it here on my blog! This is a little off-beat from my typical posts, but I thought it would be fun to shake things up. Let me know what you think!
When Andrew set the story theme for today’s meeting to “march madness”, the literal part of my brain thought: “Well, I don’t really care about sports, so I don’t have a story to tell.”
Then I remembered, wait... I just got back from Disney World... in March... and if anyone’s been there before then they know that it’s total madness.
There are multiple parks, fast passes, a Disney “app” where you can track your family plans... and from what I could tell, Disney does not limit the amount of people they let into the park each day. It’s true chaos in every sense of the word.
There are a lot of “mad” stories I could tell you about my time in Disney, but the craziest part of the trip actually happened before I even stepped foot in the Magic Kingdom.
It all started the morning I was leaving Chicago. I woke up to, not my alarm ringing, but my phone ringing. It was my mom. I answered, and she immediately says: “Sooooo... I have some bad news.”
Now, I don’t know about you, but when a phone conversation begins with that greeting, I immediately think, “Oh no. Someone’s dead.”
I believe the opposite is true whenever I start a conversation with: “I have good neeeeewsss!” People immediately think I’m pregnant. Which I’m not.
Anyway, no one died, but my oldest brother, sister-in-law, and niece all woke up with high fevers that morning. I later found out my niece had walking pneumonia. All of this to say, they weren’t coming to Disney World and had to cancel their vacation. It would now just be me, my husband, my other brother, his wife, their daughter, and my parents.
I then hopped on the phone with my dad who was cancelling the minivan rental... because my husband and I don’t need an entire minivan to ourselves... although... that actually would have been kind of fun. It would have been epicurean (Toastmasters word-of-the-day).
While on the phone with my dad swapping the minivan for a compact vehicle, my husband messaged me. Oh, did I mention he was in Canada for work? He was supposed to be meeting me in Orlando that afternoon, except he was texting me to say that his flight was four hours delayed.
I think fast and realize I land in Orlando 45 minutes after my other brother and his family. If I do a carry-on, I can run to catch up with them and hop in their minivan - leaving my husband to fend for himself.
With less than an hour before I have to leave for the airport, I quickly repacked my suitcase to meet all carry-on regulations. This meant transferring liquids into tiny, clear 3.4 oz. containers and removing that extra pair of shorts I don’t really need (I heard it was gonna rain a lot anyway).
I then ordered a Lyft (yep, I’m a Lyft gal, converted from Uber), and stepped outside to meet my driver at about 10:30 in the morning to find groups of people stumbling around, drunk outside my home. We live in Chicago, so this isn’t too crazy for a Saturday morning - except I realized everyone is wearing green.
I then remembered it’s the morning of the Saint Patrick’s Day parade.
Thankfully, this didn’t affect my commute. I even got a sweet glimpse of the green river as I was headed southbound on Lakeshore Drive toward Midway Airport.
It had been a mad morning for sure, but I just let it all go, and thought: “hakuna matata” - it means “no worries”.
This ultimately became the family motto for the entire week-long Disney World vacation.