We Ventured to Epcot!

We Ventured to Epcot!

We ventured to Epcot today!

We thought about it for a while once we knew it was opening back up. We researched it by reading reviews, blogs, FB posts, etc. about what it was like in the various parks. Two  weeks ago we made our reservations for 8/4 knowing that at anytime should we feel uncomfortable about going we could back out.  

So this morning we headed out wondering exactly what we would encounter. We had in the back of our mind that at any time we felt it was too busy, too risky and too uncomfortable we would just turn around and head home.  Even if it meant that when we walked in the gate and we felt anything not right we were outta there!

We were greeted at the parking gate by the attendant with both a mask and face shield.  Cars were even being parked social distant from each other! It was nice to get out of the car and not have someone barreling in next to you. No trams were running. In and out of the park traffic was in 2 different directions. Cast members were standing outside of the park checking masks.  We even encountered one gentleman wearing a mask with a filter on it that he could not enter the park with that type of mask on. We had our temps taken before security and at security they do not even touch your bag.  They ask you to remove umbrellas and water bottles.  As we entered through the Passholder gate there were no fingerprints scans and I was even reminded that my mask had slipped below my nose a bit. 

Once inside the park we were amazed at how deserted it was!

We then headed Mouse Gear. As we passed Spaceship Earth there was only a 5 min. wait time, with markers on the ground spacing the folks waiting in line.  

As we entered Mouse Gear there obviously is a limit on the number of shoppers allowed as there was a cast member counting folks as they came in.  There are reminders everywhere to “keep the magic alive” by social distancing, wearing your mask and limiting handling the merchandise.  

There were times we needed to make sure we were keeping our distance, but it really was not any different than being in a grocery store.  In fact, I think at any one given time there may be more people in Walmart in one aisle that there were in Mouse Gear. 

Baby Yoda was keeping watch!

So we continued our trek around the park anxious to see what was open and what was not.  There were the normal booths for the Food and Wine festival, but just not the hype and excitement of being there in the midst of one of the biggest festivals. The main shops were open, but many shops in the different lands around the World Showcase were not.  The Fish and Chip shop in England was closed as was the pub section of Crown and Rose- which is sad because it is our favorite spot for a cold Guinness.  But, it is also VERY hard to social distance in there.  France was practically empty.  The shops were closed, the main restaurant closed but the ice-cream shop and bakery were open.  It was pretty sporadic like this throughout the park.  

Our choice for lunch was the Smokehouse over in the U.S. section.  No walk up ordering, but only order on your mobile.  One way in and one way out.  Social distancing required while waiting for your food and our cast member there was gracious enough to let us wait inside in the a.c.!  It was remarkably very well planned but also remarkably very empty.

As we continued our walk we saw no line at all at the Margarita stand in Mexico.  That is a first!  It was time for a Margarita and cerveza.  Does anyone know how hard it is to walk with a beer or margarita in your hand and not try to drink from it while wearing a mask.  We decided we needed to stop to finish our drinks and as we stood as a socially distanced table we noticed a lady walking by eating her Dole whip sans mask.  One of the cast members from the nearby Festival Market Place booth very nicely came over and asked her to go over to one of the table to finish her treat.  No walking and eating and drinking without your mask on.  

It was an interesting day.  No shows, no entertainment, not all food and drink places open and no crowds.

I will say we were surprised.  Pleasantly surprised at the care that has been taken to assure everyone’s well being.  Surprised at how we actually missed the hustle and bustle of the crowds and the energy that it brings when you are there.  It’s still a happy place, but now a very subdued happy place.

We are so glad we ventured there.  We felt safe at all times.  Would we go again.  Maybe not it the near future.  Oh- and if anyone is wondering.  It was hot, hot, hot walking around with a mask on!!!!  

We’re Grateful..

We’re Grateful..

We’re grateful, but we’ve got a list. A post Covid-19 list.

We’re grateful for masks, being healthy throughout the pandemic, being able to at least be out walking, take out, creative meals, the caring people out there that will put safety protocols into place to folks can be out and about enjoying life! But….

  • First and foremost we would love to visit our sons, daughter-in-laws and granddaughters. We are grateful for video chats, but it still isn’t the same as that physical time together.
  • We want to be able to spend time with our family that lives near and far, but we haven’t seen since this all started. We are grateful that we are all healthy, but we are also very cautious
  • We want to be able to hug people! I’m a hugger, this is hard.
  • We want to be able to get together with our new neighbors, have a beer, sit in the air conditioning and see each others faces.
  • We want to go to a several crowded local breweries, sit at the bar and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to me, not 6 feet away.
  • We want to get on a plane and go to Aruba, Jamaica, Akumal… you name it.
  • We want to go places, be with people, hug, visit, eat, drink, just be and not have to count down the next 2 weeks to make sure we are in the clear.
  • We want our families to be able to get back to a better normal life, not one as uneasy and hectic as this is.

We are sure as time goes on and we continue to adjust to the new normal this list will expand. Again we are so grateful for all that we have. For all the people that keep us safe. Even for those that argue against the safety protocols and think this is all a hoax because as frustrating as they are to us, they do make us feel as if we are reading The Onion without having to pay for it. We are blessed, we are grateful… But…

So what’s on your post Covid list?

Why Do We? Why Don’t We?

Why Do We? Why Don’t We?

There are so many thoughts running through my mind right now I pray that I can do justice to what I am thinking in this post!

As we work our way through the Covid-19 quarantine and our new normal we are confronted with the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement. Protests, violence, the additional murder of Rayshard Brooks.

So yesterday morning I was listening to Don Lemon’s new Podcast “Silence Is Not An Option”. He starts the podcast off with an absolutely thought provoking statement…

We live in a society where it’s no longer enough to simply not be racist—we must proactively choose to be antiracist. And that choice means showing up and doing the work, every single day.

Don Lemon- Silence Is Not An Option

Questions throughout the podcast brought so many questions and thoughts to my already overloaded brain.

Let me start with a little bit of my history. I grew up in Parma, OH a white suburb of Cleveland. One day my husband asked me how many black kids we had in school. I laughed and replied back “Are you kidding me? We didn’t even have any black families living in Parma.” I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until the mid 1980’s that Parma was forced to integrate and that was not without a fight. I grew up in a prejudicial household, not only toward blacks, but toward any person of color. When I was in high school I took a class on Afro-American Literature (which by the way ended up being one of my favorite classes ever) and I thought my grandmother was going to disown me. “Why do you want to read those books” is what she would say. A black person would come on TV and she would turn the channel off. I loved my gran greatly and I never said anything. I kept silent. But, I continued throughout my growing up fighting the prejudice in my family and swore I or any children I would ever raise would not ever think this way. We are all God’s children and He loves us no matter whether we are red and yellow, black or white- we are precious in His sight. But was that enough? But, when I would hear someone make a racist comment or demean someone of color I didn’t always speak up. I was afraid to. I didn’t want to offend them or get into an argument or conflict with them.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Yesterday on FB one of my friends had posted she was fed up and working through it. The thread went on with lots of comments, but one struck me to the core. It mentioned that sometimes you just need to step away from the onslaught of insanity in order to save your own sanity and that is hard for the activist’s heart. We went on with commenting back and forth about stepping away, but it is also difficult to do because we just want to fight for what is right. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have commented on a post or posted something myself because I just feel it in my heart that I need to say something, it must be the Esther in me to say something, but then I find myself deleting it because I don’t want to offend someone, start a FB back and forth, tit for tat or make anyone mad at me, etc. So I delete the comment or post and continue on with my life.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Then last night we were watching Padma Lakshmi’s “Taste The Nation”. Her guest, Ali Wong, talked about her upbringing as a Chinese-American. She stated something to the effect that her Father lived by parables and one of them was to “worry about what your family thinks, but don’t worry about what others think”. Really? Tough to hear for someone that is a 1000% people pleaser!

Of course my mind then jumps to another question. In talking with Jon this morning I likened this to sharing our faith. I know this is a big jump, but hang in there with me. As life-long Lutherans we are, I think it’s safe to say, not always very vocal and comfortable in sharing our faith, our story, making disciples, telling people about Jesus or God or anything religious. . What’s even worse is that as a Pastoral family we tend to stay away from that conversation because of the difficulty of parishioners not knowing what we mean. Because of heavily imposed social standards we sit silently rather than witnessing to someone, maybe losing the chance of bringing them to Jesus and changing their life.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

This morning my first thought as I sat down to FB was…

I will not post… I will not comment… I will not post.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Then the wheels started turning and the puzzle pieces started coming together. I truly believe that God places situations, people, podcasts,tv show, whatever in front of us for a reason. There is a reason I listened to the podcast yesterday. There is a reason my friend had posted that she was fed up. There is a reason I heard what Ali Wong had to say.

Why do I step away? Why don’t I speak up? Why do I sit silently?

Stepping away, not speaking up, sitting silent is not an option.