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After a full month of road tripping in July, I was happy to be back in Florida, but the adventures slammed to a halt at the beginning of August when it was time to go back to school.

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I was given an unexpected promotion to team leader, which has meant a ton of extra work, though it’s been very rewarding so far, and I have really fallen in love with being a teacher this year.

From the time school started until early October, almost all of my days looked a little something like this:

  • 5:00am Wake up, get ready for the day, and drive to school.
  • 6:45am Arrive at school and get as much work done as possible before classes start.
  • 5:30pm Get kicked out of classroom by janitor, drive home, and keep working on lesson plans, grading, etc. for the rest of the evening.
  • 9:00 Shower, get ready for bed, and pass out the moment my head touches the pillow.

Since I had moved out of my Winter Haven condo in June (and left all my things in a storage unit down there), I was hoping to find a new place right away, but my packed schedule didn’t leave very much room for apartment hunting. I spent my first month back in the area living in cheap motels in Kissimmee.

Disaster struck at the end of August in the form of two flat tires in the middle of a tropical storm; I got my car to a gas station and got soaked in the downpour, trying to refill my tires before discovering they were beyond repair. My savings account took a hit from the ordeal, but after a day at the nearest Chevy location, Dory was all fixed up.

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A week into September, I’d had my fill of filthy motel living, and my workload had decreased enough that I finally had an afternoon that I was able to leave school around 3:30 to go apartment hunting. By the end of the day, I had made my decision. I filled out the application the following day, and I picked up the key the day after that.

The rest of September was pure bliss as I unpacked all the boxes of my beloved books and kitchen supplies and made myself at home here in Kissimmee. (I didn’t move my furniture in until a few weeks later, so I spent a while living on the floor.)

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I’m a 25-minute drive from work, and a 10-15 minute drive to all the Disney parks, so I couldn’t be happier with the location. (For anyone familiar with Kissimmee, I have a view of Old Town from my window.) The complex is wonderful with gated entry, a pool, fitness center, 24-maintenance, and valet trash service(!). My apartment is a one-bedroom with a nice open kitchen and living area, a washer/dryer in the unit, and a balcony.

Also, somewhere in all the craziness, I spent my birthday weekend at the Dolphin Resort at Disney, as pictured at the top of the post (though I didn’t really spend any time at the parks on that trip because of my aforementioned work schedule), I went to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom, and I went to my first Cirque du Soleil show in years when Ovo toured in Orlando.

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What I’ve Been Reading

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones: Finally got around to reading this fantasy novel after first watching the movie last fall. I loved that the book fleshed out more of the storyline that wasn’t fully explained in the movie!

Reader, I Married Him edited by Tracy Chevalier: Having read a Jane Eyre over the summer, I thought I might enjoy this anthology of short stories inspired by Jane Eyre. However, it just ended up reminding me that I don’t really like short stories. Or Jane Eyre.

What I’ve Been Listening To

Etiquette & Espionage and Imprudence by Gail Carriger: On my July road trip, I fell in love with the audiobook narrator of these two books, and the author weaves such a fun steampunk world in her books, so I got my hands (ears?) on 2 more of her audiobooks.

Bird Box by Josh Malerman: HOLY COW, IF POST-APOCALYPTIC HORROR SOUNDS LIKE YOUR CUP OF TEA, YOU NEED TO READ THIS! I listened to this on audio in the car, and I was so engrossed that I missed my exit on multiple car trips. Absolutely horrifying but so gripping from start to finish.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: I wasn’t particularly wowed by this YA fantasy novel, but it was another spooky-ish book to get me in the mood for the Halloween season.

What I’ve Been Watching

I finally finished all seasons of Dance Academy and it emotionally destroyed me but was so worth it. Such an amazing show for anyone interested in ballet and/or a show set in Sydney/Australia (once you get past some of the cringe-worthy preteen moments in the first few episodes).

And of course, I joined the Stranger Things club–it was very difficult to binge it while living in a hotel with spotty wifi, so my secret trick involved bringing my iPad and headphones over to Disney and connecting to their internet to watch this show.

On the Blog

Love, Elizabeth