"See ya real soon!" -Mickey Mouse (Voiced by Walt Disney)

Well July is almost over (literally, about a hour left folks!) and that means there are a lot of goodbyes on the near horizon. Some of them are good goodbyes, like goodbye to massive amounts of tour groups. But others are a bit sadder because now I am saying goodbye to my friends from the Spring Advantage program, and from the International College Program. So within the next few weeks I will be losing a roommate, as well as about five fellow Cast Members from Hollywood Hills.
Goodbyes are a strange thing to me. Some are only temporary, like when you say goodbye to your friends at the end of a school day or work day, or when you say goodbye to extended relatives. The nice thing about those kinds of goodbyes is that you're fairly certain you'll see them again, whether it's tomorrow in class/work, or maybe next month for another family gathering. So those are only temporary.
But then you have longer goodbyes. I've graduated twice now, and each time I've said goodbye to a lot of friends with the knowledge that, chances are, I wouldn't really see them again. I haven't seen many of my high school friends since we graduated and went our separate ways (though I recently reconnected with one, Megan, quite accidentally down here. SFHS representin' at Disney Internships Panel). At college it was even harder because those relationships were just so much deeper. Those people I lived with for four years and while I still talk to them, we've all spread out in different directions and it's hard to get together in person. That's where social networking has truly changed our world.
For the friends that I am saying goodbye to now, well who knows if we'll see each other again. I've done other internships in the past, and honestly haven't spoken a word to those people, except maybe the occasional "Like" on Facebook. I hope that these friends won't become like those friends. My hope is that a year, two years, or maybe even ten or twenty years from now we'll meet again. Maybe we'll all be working for Disney and our roles will bring us together again. Or maybe it'll be by serendipity, like it was with my friend from high school. It wouldn't be the first time I've made chance meetings down here. Disney World has this strange ability to bring people together, whether they live just ten minutes down the road (I met a family who did) or other sides of the world.
Well, I hope for the best. So to Jonathan, Denise, Sophie, Juliana, Barbara, Allison, Courtney, and all the other good friends I've made. We survived the freak rain storms, stifling heat, massive crowds, and guests who communicate in every language under the sun. Goodbye for now, and I'll see ya real soon!

"All cartoon characters and fables must be exaggeration, caricatures. It is the very nature of fantasy and fable." -Walt Disney

Why hello there everyone! I figured I'd just check in, give another update since we're half way through a new month. So here's what's up...
It's busy busy busy busy busy. Oh yeah, did I mention it's busy? If you asked me to describe my workplace in two words, I'd say Screams, because it's not Hollywood Hills unless a few guests are screaming their lungs out in Tower of Terror, and Portuguese. Yup. Anyone who's been down to Disney World in July and August knows what I'm talking about. The tour groups are out EN MASS!!! What does that mean for us Cast Members? Well it's very crowded, that's for sure. Kind of a bit more rambunctious than usual, and the Super Greeters and International Tell-A-Casts are our new best friends. But don't let the green shirts fool you. It's not just tour groups from Brazil. Last week we had groups from Uruguay and Paraguay, and this week we had lots of groups from Argentina. I'll just say, my High School Spanish is getting a work out! Whew!
Now that I've really begun to get my work schedule under control and almost down to a science, I've started to expand my focus a bit more and look to take advantage of some of the personal enrichment things that Disney has to offer it's Cast Members. Most people think that's just a bunch of meet and greets and networking events, and sure, some of them are. But wait! There's more!
Just this Monday, I took a Beginner's Puppetry Workshop. Yep, you read that right. Puppetry, as in The Muppets, Finding Nemo The Musical and Sesame Street. In fact, the very first song we learned in the Workshop was the Sesame Street Theme song! The one from 1998-2001 that all us nineties kids are familiar with. If you lived under a rock as a child (which is totally fine, I'm not about judging people's life choices or anything like that), then here it is.
Yup. It was actually really hard! Puppetry isn't just about opening and closing your hand to the words. You have to isolate your thumb, otherwise your puppet looks up every time you open its mouth! And then there are crazy things like dropped syllables and variation and inflection, AND THEN, after ALL THAT, they tell you that you have to make your puppet act. With EMOTIONS!!!! I took this class with a friend of mine, Jonathan from England. We ended up having a mix up with the class times, so we went to the same workshop twice. Let me tell you, it was worth it because there's so much that has to go into puppetry and making a puppet seem real! But it was so much fun. Me and Jonathan did a duet of "Tonight" from West Side Story (not our choice), and then we were in a quartet of "I'm Yours" by Jason Miraz. And to finish things off, the whole class did "Don't Stop Believin" (the Glee Cast version). It was so much fun and our instructors, Chris and Jason, were so...well...animated! I'm on the look out for another workshop. If I can get the basics of the first one down, I might be able to move up to the Intermediate workshop where you start learning about things like eye-blinks and how to use an actual puppet. In the beginners class you get two googly eyes that you wrap around your fingers with a rubber band, but you'd be surprised how your hand takes on a life of its own once it has eyes. If you don't believe me, just ask Jerry, Jonathan's new friend. =D
In addition to the Puppetry workshop, I've also enrolled in a Sign Language course. I'm on week two of ten and boy is my brain stuffed! The class is just so much fun though! It's taught by Michelle, who is Deaf, though the rest of the class is all Hearing. I've tried books before, but nothing beats an actual class. Not only do you learn to sign, but you also learn how to interact with Deaf and Hard of Hearing people. They have so many different ways to get their points across and the class has definitely already given me pointers of how to interact with Deaf and Hard of Hearing guests. It is a bit tricky, though, because everyone in the class is at different levels. A few of us came in only knowing the alphabet (and even then, only SORT OF knowing the alphabet), while others came in having taken courses before and one lady has been signing for over a year! But we still muddle through it, and if we don't know, well like I said, Michelle has ways of getting her point across. The class is really fun and extremely informative. I'm hoping that by the end of the ten weeks, I'll be able to test for my language pin. I really want to become proficient enough. It's a really great skill to have. For next week, my homework is to practice, but also to write about what we think it's like being Deaf. I think that I'm going to take some ear-plugs and go about my day. Go play in the parks, go to the grocery store, just try and get an idea.
So that's what's up with me! I'm starting to get more shifts in the shops now. It was really fun picking up hours at Storybook Circus, so I'm back there tomorrow evening. Also, as we come to the end of July, my International College Program friends are winding down their programs. It's sad and I'm going to miss them, but I know that a few have plans of returning for PIs or various other reasons. No matter what, before they leave we're all going to get "The Kitchen Sink" from the Boardwalk. It's an enormous ice cream sundae that is LITERALLY in a basin. Should be AWESOME!
See ya real soon!