The trip was not an easy one at first. It all started off simple enough. We were early for our flight, settled into the tiny gate area (this airport only has two very small gates) and we were ready to go! Unfortunately, when the plane arrived, it was not. Not only was it a little behind schedule, it had a maintenance issue. There was an emergency slide that had its electronics detached. It was a simple, ten minute fix that took five hours. They had someone drive from a city around four hours away to sign off on it.
We were stuck, in an airport, with an already agitated toddler… for five hours. Did I mention there wasn’t even any food? And this would span the length of lunch time? Yeah. Luckily, the airline had pizza brought in but even that took a few hours. All in all, it was exhausting, but we made it through. Evangeline was a trooper. I’m still impressed with her. The people waiting on the flight were all very nice and helpful, too.
We had an incident where Evangeline was desperate for boob and screamed, “BOOBIE! BOOBIE!” in the middle of the very crowded gate. Sigh. I did end up breastfeeding her openly. It’s so funny how you just stop caring after awhile. I made sure my shirt covered me, though. I’m not a fan of folks seeing my boobs. We finally got on our plane to Tampa around 5 or so in the evening.
We arrived at Tampa around seven and were greeted by my Aunt. She took us to my grandfather’s ridiculously huge house. Seriously, our time there was like getting a glimpse at the good life. Their house had wings, we stayed in the upper floor of one of them! Everyone was so very nice and welcoming. What was originally very awkward soon become very comfortable and warm. We really enjoyed our time there.
Our first day, we hung around the house and chatted on the lanai while eating a Cuban breakfast. Then my aunt took us to my first ever outlet trip, which was amazing! When we came back, it was dinner at this awesome Greek restaurant! The husband got up and danced with the belly dancer, which was hilarious. Evangeline loved it, especially the part where they threw napkins. We went to bed late and even got to sleep in, as Eva wasn’t waking up until past eight… which she has never done before!
Our second day was spent around the house, meeting with extended family. I got to see one of two of my cousins on my dad’s side of the family for the first time in a decade and a half… which was pretty cool! We had lunch at a local Cuban place and then grilled burgers at home for dinner. It was a really awesome day. Evangeline and I napped while the husband went grocery shopping with my aunt for dinner. It was very relaxing and chill. Again, Eva slept in. She slept in the entire trip!
The third day, we went to the Zoo with my grandfather. We had a blast. Evangeline was obsessed with the flamingos, just like in Key West. She threw a fit when we tried to leave them. She also kept saying “maowww!” at the clouded leopard. It was adorable. We left there and then met my grandfather’s wife and my aunt at this really fancy Cuban restaurant. Our food took forever, but it was just so much fun. We got home super late that night and stayed up talking to my grandfather’s wife and her mother. Thankfully, Eva slept in again!
On our fourth and final day there, we just bummed around and hung out. We went to this really cool local market and got lunch. We then went to my aunt’s favorite beach, where it was super windy. Poor Evangeline was not a fan! We had no idea at the time, but she was coming down with the flu. She spent the entire time against me, wrapped in a towel. We went to a restaurant and then finally got home around 10. We packed and stayed up talking again until around 1. Our flight boarded at 6:45 am, so we had to be up early. We barely got any sleep. Evangeline refused to wake up. We said our goodbyes, rushed into my aunt’s car, and made it to the airport.
We were home well before noon and I called the doctor immediately to have Evangeline looked at. She was shaking, which is something I do when I have a high fever. They did a test and said that she had a flu, poor thing! So I stayed home the rest of the week caring for her and then trying to get better myself, as I came down with it. That’s what happens when you have to share everything with your toddler.
I’m just now recovering and I’m writing this like, three weeks later (but back-dating it.) Even so, it was worth it. We can’t wait to go again! I really did not expect to have so much fun or to be welcomed so warmly! The husband and I both agree that it was like getting swept up into a world where there are no stresses or worries.
I hadn’t even thought about all the things usually troubling me until the first weekend we returned. Sigh. It was so nice to forget about everything for awhile… and awesome to see a part of my family be so open and loving to Evangeline.