Wow… It’s over.
For 10 years now, I have been dreaming and praying for a chance to be a part of Disney.
Since the 6th grade: I have not dyed my hair any color that doesn’t look natural. I have attempted to keep the length of my hair and fingernails conservative. I have refused to get any tattoos or more than one piercing. I have measured myself fairly often to make sure I was still the same character height.
To be fair, some of my dreams did not become a reality. I wanted to be a Disney Princess, and that clearly did not happen. But I am so glad I was blessed with Kilimanjaro Safaris.
Safaris was in some ways an answer to all of my deepest desires. 1. I love to talk. 2. I love to teach. 3. I love animals. 4. I love kids. 5. I love Disney.
However, as many of you know, it was not all a walk in park (see previous posts for reference).
I have been pulled, stretched, beat, and bruised. I have been mentally and physically exhausted. I have been filled with intense love and hate for guests and animals.
I have been so focused on showtimes that I have forgotten to thank my guests for coming. And I have been so invested in my guests that I have a 25 minute showtime even though no one was in front of me.
I have learned multiple new languages: phrases in Swahili, Portuguese, ASL, Spanish, and all the radio codes.
I have accumulated a strange knowledge of good and bad quality strollers and how to fold and/or put the parking breaks on said strollers (even the foreign ones).
I have heard elephants trumpet, lions roar, and hippos grunt.
I have seen giraffes sprint, okapis lick their eyeballs, and antelopes spar.
I have been on broken down trucks and have had to entertain 40+ guests for an extended period of time with only bushes for inspiration.
I have learned to sneakiest ways to tell a guest ‘no’ and still make them feel like I just won a new car.
This blog is not enough to tell all of the stories I have stored in my memory from this place. And these stories will last me for years and years.
Thank you- To those who have been by my side at Safaris. Kwaherini my friends. You made every day an adventure. From the times you danced with me at Departure to the times we panicked about the addax, you have made an imprint on my life and I will treasure you in my heart forever.
Thank you- To my sweet and wonderful roommates who were either there to sit and complain about a long day with me, or force me to go do fun things. We have been through so much together and you will all forever be in my prayers!
Thank you- To any of you who have followed this blog. Whether you are a family member, Sagebrush member, friend, or random internet user, thank you for caring about my life and reading the words I type. Sharing in these experiences with all of you has made it even more fun than I had expected!
Thank you- To my family who supported this dream, even though they didn’t fully understand it. I would never have gotten here without you!
Thank you- To Maddy Potter, who walked this entire journey with me, from beginning to end. From the application, to the audition, to Traditions, and to our final days here. We are going to need a support group when we get back to Virginia.
Thank you- To my best friend, Georgia Schaefer, who had the craziest schedule in the world when she came down here and yet still made time for me even though she clearly needed sleep more than another ride on Splash Mountain.
Thank you thank you thank you- To ALL who were part of this journey. I stepped into a fantasy when I first came here. A fantasy that became a nightmare that became a Happily Ever After.
On to new dreams and new adventures! Wherever God leads!
Love to you all,