Have you ever had one of those “life comes around full circle” moments? Add a dash of “deja-vu” and a pinch of whimsy, . . . and there you have it.
Ten years ago, this coming Thursday (11/04/11), I married my Finnish Viking in Northern Virginia along the banks of the Potomac River, near Mt. Vernon. We had a small wedding ceremony, with a wonderful larger party that followed. It was filled with Beatles music from a friend’s tribute band, a scotch and cigar bar, international tasting menu, and a fun photo booth.
My Viking’s “clan” had come over from Finland and it was their first time to America, so we decided to take them along for part of our honeymoon. Now here’s where you might ask “Why the heck would you bring 14 people with you on your honeymoon?” – well, we were both middle-aged when we got married, and there were children involved. I was also just getting to know my new foreign family on a deeper level. My folks had both passed and so it was important to start the next chapter of my new life on the right foot.
The day after the wedding, all 14 of us boarded a train bound for Savannah. We picked up our rented vehicles, introduced the Finns to Southern cuisine for lunch, and spent the day sightseeing. Divided into two passenger vans, we headed for Orlando.
We had booked two vacation houses in order to accommodate the large group and split up – older folks in one house and teens with parents in the other. Lovely 4-BR houses including pools that overlooked open fields with plenty of birds and wildlife. The Finns were amazed at the sizes of everything in America, especially the houses.
Being their first time in the U.S. and Florida, we had to educate everyone on cultural differences and safety issues. The family had to be set up with SIM cards for local calling and kids were instructed to never go anywhere alone without telling someone; this is significantly different than life in Finland. Safety is not a necessity to the same degree there; in Finland, young children use mass transit for school and take the Metro unaccompanied. It’s just different.
The whimsy of this trip was watching them acclimate to American culture. Our first trip to Walmart was amusing to say the least, watching my MIL and her elderly cousin navigate the electrical carts through the store. They got in them and took off, and we had no idea where they were until we heard – “clean up on Aisle 12.” They were amazed at how cheap things were, and bags and bags filled the vans.
The next learning curve were the toll booths. My husband returned one day with the rental van missing its rear bumper, which was located inside the trunk. Apparently the “Exact Change” lane was confusing to him, and he learned quickly that it meant coins and not a credit card. When he tried to back out of the lane, the van and a pylon had a disagreement, and the toll booth won.
We did the parks – all of Disney and then Universal too, as the teens were in search of the holy grail of scary rides that would thrill them. Their vote was for Universal over Disney, and so, that was that. I had purchased Disney passes for a week, Park Hopper option, no expiration. Ten years later, we still have days left on our passes, and the kids, who are now in their 20’s can still use their days left, if they come visit from Finland.
Fast forward to 10 years later, and here we are in Four Corners/Davenport. We landed here from South Carolina for work and because we have friends in Clermont.
The other day, thanks to Facebook Memories, old posts started to appear memorializing our wedding and honeymoon plans. It was then I realized our “full circle moment.”
The houses that we rented for the Viking Clan and our honeymoon, are literally 10 minutes away, in the Orange Tree development, and were on Egret Hill St. and Blossom Hills Loop – both in Clermont. What a long, strange trip it’s been to be back in the vicinity of that location when we arrived in the dark that night, November 5, 2011.
The other flip side to this deja vu is that our friends in Clermont who I mentioned above, would have been living just up the road from Orange Tree, and yet we did not know them at the time in 2011. We met on a Viking riverboat cruise in Germany, four years later in 2015. We’ve been fast friends ever since.
We have come FULL CIRCLE.