Seth L. †
Last night we had our first group gathering this trip. It was Hannah’s birthday, and one heck of an experience.
Names and faces went by in a blur. The food was good, but nearly as overwhelming as the restaurant is a giant buffet with likely over 100 different dishes. We hugged and smiled, shook hands and waved from across the room. Periodically we’d have a Disney Character descend on our group which triggered impromptu photo-shoots. The good news for me is that I had the chance to sit and talk at some length with Marco, Georgia, Jenny and of course the bday girl, Hannah. They’re a great crew. Fun loving, smiling, and full of hope. Food was eaten, cupcakes were shoved into noses, and in general all was a good time. An excellent beginning.
As dinner wrapped, up, more of the above people arrived until everyone was accounted for. I found myself trapped in a corner being bombarded with solicitations for focused attention from multiple directions and while I’m generally able to handle incoming inquiries from every side and to respond with grace to those who might not be collecting social queues, I found that just after the room cleared my eyes filled with tears from the intensity of it all. I don’t think it’s that I was sad or hurt, or angry or another emotion. Maybe it was just being full. Maybe it was a lack of sleep and a woeful attempt at being hydrated with the gross California water. The experience is both surreal and overwhelming. We had 30 people in a busy room with periodic dance parties (a feature of the restaurant), visits from toons, and of course the gallery of people I’m somehow related to.
After the dinner, we found ourselves in the next room over, a lounge of some sort. Conversations ensued, and it was fun to get to know people with a little bit of a quieter atmosphere, but still hours of massive sponging of information. No notes or videos, but we did get a picture of the group with Goofy, which at some point I’ll post. We’ve got more group time later today, but first Heather & I start with a spa treatment of a manicure/pedicure. That is nearly the best activity I could think of after an evening like that. Maybe I’ll schedule the whole enchilada for later!
Needless to say, it may take me a while to really get a grasp of this whole situation.
* people I had met prior to the trip.
† people I had met during the trip.