This blog update is mostly just a personal update. This close after the holidays, I want to take some time and document some of the things I did while I visited my family and enjoy some of the new memories that I have. Quickly though, I want to acknowledge that I was privileged enough to be able to safely travel to see my family through access to lots testing, a lot of preventative measures, and the luck of leaving before things got even worse.
First on the list of events when I got home was that I spent all day my first day there baking banana bread. My mom wanted to follow a tradition of her mother’s (my grandmother’s) and give banana bread to her work colleagues and our neighbor. Unfortunately for me, my mother is not what she considers to be a great baker, so I was relegated to the task of baking all 6 loaves of banana bread. We’re already rethinking how to do it better next year, as 6 loaves in a day was too many. But take a look at them here!
I think the next most relevant part of my trip was my flight and trip down to Florida to see my grandparents. I captured a beautiful sunset on the plane in the picture below.
It was fantastic to see my grandparents, whom I hadn’t seen in over 2 years, and we did some cool things while we were there. We were making it a point to mostly be at the house or outside in order to avoid all other people, but this meant that we spent a lot of time at a local preserve called the Circle B Bar Reserve. The park is a known alligator or “gator” reserve as well as a hot spot for a lot of birds, including eagles. I haven’t made Jahnavi sit and identify all of them for me yet, but here are a bunch of pictures of birds for you all to see! And a couple with turtles!
And here are a bunch of pictures of gators!
And here's a wild pig that surprised us in the parking lot!
We also went to a local manatee hang-out spot. These are harder to see, but I got a couple pictures of them near the surface in the cove. You can see a bunch of them gathered under the water in the far ground of the left image.
One of the other highlights of the trip was a jaunt over to Kennedy Space Center. I was probably the most excited out of anyone in the family, but I had pretty much no idea what to expect. In hind sight, it makes a lot of sense that the space center in Florida, home to many famous theme parks, would be the most like a theme park that a space center could possibly be. While sort of like a science museum focused on space, the ”exhibits” are more like experiences. Sort of the “3D” or “4D” experience types of attractions at the more major parks. There was a whole building on the Atlantis Space Shuttle and a whole bus ride to a separate facility holding the “exhibits” related to Apollo and the Saturn V rocket. The whole things was very very cool, and I’ve collected some of my photos below for you all to see. There’s the Apollo 8 mission control center, the bottom of the Saturn V, an Apollo capsule, the Atlantis shuttle, and some rockets in the rocket garden!
Finally, I’ve included this picture of 8 cool birds just walking through my grandparents' neighborhood.
We also took a trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, but the only pictures I took there were actually of a piece of art that I kind of hate, to document it, so I didn’t bother to include that here.
Hope everyone else had a safe, healthy, and relaxing winter break!