On Saturday, I met my friends Sue and Lisa at a bookstore and then went over to the Orlando Museum of Art to see a special Norman Rockwell exhibit. (I had originally planned to stop by the Norman Rockwell Museum on my trip to Massachusetts a couple years ago but wasn't able to make it. That made this especially nice to see.) The exhibit was superb and gave me new appreciation for Rockwell’s work and just how much of America’s history he chronicled.
I have always enjoyed the humor and optimism of Rockwell's work and it was great to see so much of it. The museum had copies of all 321 of his Saturday Evening Post magazine covers spanning nearly five decades. Rockwell’s work recorded the rise of aviation, America’s involvement in World War II, the Civil Rights movement, NASA’s landing on the moon, and much, much more. I agree with many that Rockwell’s work captured much of the essence of American life and culture in a uniquely American way. I would recommend taking a look at much of his work to any of my international friends trying to get a better grasp of American culture.
I can’t believe in all my years in Orlando that I never visited the art museum. It was a great museum and a reminder that I need to start taking advantage of living so close to the Smithsonian. (It’s only about 15-minutes away by subway.)
After the museum, Lisa, Sue, and I went over to Bennigan’s for dinner where Liz joined up with us. We had a good time catching up with lots of laughter. Hanging out with friends like this is what I most miss about Orlando.
On Sunday morning, I visited my old church and then went over to my friend Nathan’s house to celebrate his birthday. Nathan’s whole family was there. It was wonderful to see all of them again. Nathan’s family was like my adopted family in Orlando. Just about any holiday I spent in town, they would invite me over to join them. My friend, Brian (who I was staying with), Nathan, and another friend (Will) were roommates for years. I spent enough time at their place, a lot of people thought I was the “fourth roommate”. It was fantastic to be with such great friends again.
Nathan and I hung out for a few hours after everyone else left catching up on each other’s lives, trying to solve the world’s problems, and watching the kids. I headed back to Brian’s and Nichol’s afterwards where Nichol spoiled me again with dinner, I got packed up and we watched TV until Brian came home (he was at work). Brian and I stayed up until well past midnight before heading to bed.
I got up early this morning, returned my rental car, and successfully caught a standby flight back to DC (I’m typing this on the plane). This will get me back four hours earlier than originally planned and give me a little more time to get ready for class tomorrow. I’m looking forward to getting together with a few friends tonight.
I truly had a wonderful trip and it was great getting away from shool and homework for a week. While I am sad to leave Orlando, I am also excited to get back home to Virginia. That is how should be.