My Spring Break

Happy Monday, Readers!

I hope you all enjoyed your Spring Break and feel relaxed and rejuvenated as we enter this last sprint before the school year ends. As a senior, it felt like this Spring Break was needed more than ever before. Here’s a little glimpse into what I did!

For my break, I headed down to sunny Florida with my family. It was so nice to be able to spend one final break with them before my sister and I graduate. We had been to Florida before, but this break was different. This break was needed, and it didn’t feel long enough. We didn’t want to come home!

When we boarded our plane Thursday afternoon heading to Florida, we were cold and ready for the sun. I can say with confidence that we didn’t leave the sun for 10 straight days. We spent every day on the beach reading books, taking much-needed naps, and dipping our toes in the warm Gulf Coast water. We had some different excursions during the evenings, like going to a play, exploring the surrounding Naples area, and going on a sunset boat ride, but other than that, we played many games of cards and read a lot of books. It was blissful! Leaving Florida’s 75 degree weather and coming back to Michigan’s 30 degree weather was a wake-up call, but I’m glad to be back with my friends for these final weeks until graduation.

A view of the sunset from the boat tour we went on!
It was so much fun being able to go on Spring Break with my best friend!

I hope you all had a great break and are ready to push through these next few weeks!

Until next time!

Memorable Spring Break (Part II)

I thought it would be nice to split up my Spring Break adventures into two separate posts, since I had so much going on. Here’s Part II:

Wednesday

On Wednesday, Audrey and I decided to go back downtown to tour the Castillo de San Marcos fort, which was awesome! Going through all of the different rooms and sleeping quarters was really interesting. Plus, when walking through, some people carved their names into the walls and we saw a couple who dated their names in 1883!! After walking around the fort and getting some good pictures, we were craving some Mexican food and stumbled upon Fiesta Jack’s, which had great burritos. We chowed down and headed back to our condo and read for a while on the porch and just enjoyed the rest of the afternoon. Since it was St. Patrick’s Day, we decided to celebrate by making some puppy chow and watching some TV to end our eventful day.

Thursday

It happened to be raining on Thursday, so what better thing to do than get pedicures! Audrey, her mom and I got pampered for an hour in those massage chairs while we got our nails done. We then ran a few errands and later enjoyed listening to the rain while reading. There’s nothing better than snuggling in a blanket and reading while it’s pouring outside! We read for a while (followed by napping) and decided to watch “What a Girl Wants” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2.” Audrey had never seen either of the “Sisterhood” movies prior to this break, so I made her experience them both! Once the movies were done, the sky had cleared up and we were able to look up at the stars and just hang out and chat before heading to bed.

Friday

This was probably the most eventful day yet! Audrey and I woke up early and went zip lining over crocodiles and various other creatures. It was my first time zip lining and I had such a blast because the instructor was on the ground watching both of us, so we were completely on our own. Luckily we survived the snarling albino crocodiles and didn’t make complete fools of ourselves while people below us were watching. Following this adventure, we decided to go back to the outlet malls and buy a few things that we both had our eyes on—maybe spent more than we needed to, but it was SO worth it. I’m pretty sure we got back to the apartment and took a nap before we headed back downtown to a cute pizza place and enjoyed one last meal all together.

Saturday and Sunday

Sadly, I had to fly back to Michigan on Saturday after such a warm and fun week in Florida. My flight landed in Grand Rapids that afternoon and I was fortunate enough to stay at my friend Connor’s house for the remaining of the weekend and get acclimated to the cold weather. Since it’s March Madness, we watched countless hours of basketball, played some ping pong and just relaxed before having to back to school on Sunday.

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Well there you have it! That was my awesome Spring Break in Florida, filled with so many good times and long talks with my close friend. I couldn’t have asked for a better break to end out my senior year!

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Memorable Spring Break (Part I)

I’m beyond relieved that spring is finally among us! I was getting pretty tired of this winter and the ever-present snow that accumulated on every sidewalk. Since I traveled down to Florida for Spring Break this past week, it was nice coming back to Holland with hardly any snow on the ground. I thought I would dedicate this blog post to my adventures I had in Florida with my friend Audrey and her parents!

Friday

Audrey and I woke up at 3:30 AM or so and hit the road by 4:30 AM with her parents and all of our luggage. It was quite a sight having blankets, pillows, snacks and luggage all piled into one car! The first leg of the trip consisted of a lot of sleeping as well as a few pit stops at gas stations, Starbucks, Cracker Barrel, and Subway. It’s an understatement to say that my butt was sore after sitting in the car for 14 hours until we called it a day when we reached Atlanta. A horizontal surface never felt so good when I collapsed on the hotel room’s queen-sized bed after being hunched in the most awkward positions in the car. After we settled in, we quickly got some food at Applebee’s and watched some HGTV before falling asleep before the next day of car riding.

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Saturday

This car ride felt much shorter since we were almost in warm, sunny Florida. After riding for another handful of hours, we finally arrived in St. Augustine, FL, where we immediately dropped our stuff off and went to the grocery store for some necessities and staple food items. The rest of the day consisted of exploring the area, going down to the beach and simply relaxing!

Sunday

This particular Sunday was very special because it was the 125th anniversary of the St. Augustine Memorial Presbyterian Church in downtown St. Augustine. The inside of the church was absolutely beautiful and you’d never guess who Audrey and I ran into there! We happened to meet a lady that graduated from Hope in 1950!!! After the service, we toured around Flagler College and the surrounding area, which was a ton of fun. Once we got back to our condo, Audrey and I thought we would take advantage of the warmth and lay out near the pool and soak up some sun… little did we realize, the sun was a lot stronger than we thought, so we got some pretty terrible burns. That night was very interesting in regards to putting soothing lotion all over our bodies and struggling to get comfortable in our beds while trying to avoid the burnt areas on ourselves.

Monday

Day one of shopping at the outlet malls! The whole day was dedicated to shopping and getting great deals at stores such as The Loft, Kate Spade, Saks Fifth Avenue, Gap, Nike and others that I cannot recall right now! After a busy day of trying things on, we went out to dinner at a place called Salt Water Cowboys, where the “restaurant” is literally a shack in a swamp! This is Audrey’s all-time favorite restaurant, so we obviously had to go. I was surprised by how many people knew about this place because once we finished our meal, the line was out the door and down the dock, all waiting to be seated at the next available table.

Tuesday

After still recovering from our nasty sunburns from Sunday, Audrey and I thought we should try to stay out of the sun another day. We ended up meeting up with Audrey’s mom and aunt and headed to downtown St. Augustine to look at the Lightner Museum. What was really cool was the koi pond, but also an building that use to house an indoor swimming pool but was converted to a restaurant. We ate some lunch there and it was really fun to say we were eating in “the deep end.” Afterwards, we wandered down St. George street going in and out of various shops and eventually getting some ice cream at Kilwins.

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This sums up the first part of my trip. Stay tuned for the second part to my Florida excursion.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @hopeleslie15.

Sun, Fun, & Florida!

Life is good. As I sit here and reflect upon the past week, I feel so incredibly blessed with the opportunities God has blessed with at Hope College. First of all, thanks to the kindness of our parents, Grace and I were able to spend winter break in Marco Island, Florida. We left on Thursday for Chicago and woke up at 4 am to fly to Florida on Friday morning. We arrived in Florida with the sun beaming down and palm trees lining the sidewalks.

We stayed at the Marco Island resort and spa. Our room was incredible, because we overlooked the pool and viewed the ocean. A typical day for us included waking up naturally around 10 am, working out in the fitness room, laying out reading some great books, swimming in the pools, meeting new people in the hot tubs, walking along the beach at sunset, cleaning up for the evening, enjoying a nice dinner together, walking around outside, then coming back to the room and chilling out before we fell asleep around 11:30 pm. Yes, the vacation was absolutely amazing. It was a great time to reflect, rest, and rejuvenate. Grace and I spent quite a bit of quality time together, and I really enjoyed every minute of the vacation.

During break I read a book called Kisses from Katie, and it is definitely opening my eyes. The book talks about Katie, who graduates from high school and ends up living in Uganda. She adopts 14 children while in Uganda and learns to rely on God for every need. I want to also learn to completely rely on God and serve His people. Hope College has been a great place for me to grow as a person and experience new opportunities and challenges. There are no words to describe the love and support from the people in the community here. I’m thankful to be here and am excited for new opportunities to arise.

Have a great day!  

***CoLLeeN***

 Drazing in the sand

On our sunset walk

The view from our hotel room