Welcome to Miami

This is our first post to Jewcology.com, but not the first of our tour. To read our previous posts, go to topsyturvybus.org. But then come back here!

Welcome to Miami

The Sunshine State is no lie. Since we arrived in this tropical paradise both the weather and the people have been warm, bright, and sunny. In fact, this Topsy Turvy Educator, while clamboring over seven-foot-high-snow banks this winter back in New England, had forgotten how hot "hot" could be. So our pre-Shabbat plans last week required time for a stop at Macy's, where a friendly salesman named Marty – or Moshe Eliyahu – helped me pick out two nice, warm-weather shirts. Thanks Moshe! But I digress.

We've been living large in south Florida, with our sleeping quarters ranging from the convenience of a 24-hour IHOP parking lot (pancakes and coffee first thing in the morning!) to the comfort of air-conditioned bedrooms, home-cooked meals, and outdoor swimming pools. And when we haven't been enjoying sleeping, we've been taking advantage of the glorious weather and amazing attractions that exist in this corner of the country. We took a field trip to Homestead to visit Coral Castle, an impressive palace of coral bedrock stones cut, moved, and put into place by a single five-foot-tall man named Edward Leedskalnin. We also took a quick swing through the Everglades, buying some delicious fruit, milkshakes, and chips-and-salsa from Grandma's Garden fruit stand, and then visiting Royal Palm park, where Jo and Diane both saw their first alligators ever… and then their second, and third, and fourth… there were a lot of alligators.

We spent the night under the breathtaking starscape above the Long Pine Key campground, and parked next to some fellow adventurers who were traveling in the Baldwin Gypsy Caravan. This was also around the time that Jo and Diane learned that they had each been accepted to work with one of our sponsors, Eden Village Camp, and Jonathan and Elizabeth both found out that they had been accepted into grad school! An exciting time!

Of course, we worked a bit, too. We had a great time running a program with the students of Donna Klein Jewish Academy in South Palm Beach, and spent a wonderful weekend at Temple Beth Sholom in Miami Beach. We also visited the residents of "Vi" in Aventura, where we got to spend some quality time with Noah's (that's me) Sabba and Savta. Hi Sabba and Savta! The excitement continued with a surprise appearance – Laura Bellows, a fellow Teva-nik, duped us all by appearing on the bus mid-program!

All-in-all, a busy week, and one that's already come and gone and left us with another week, which has itself already begun passing by pretty quickly! We've had the great pleasure of running two programs this week – one with the Beth Am religious school of South Miami, and another with the preschoolers of Aventura's Tauber Academy. And so? We're taking the night off! As a great man once said, "Party in the city where the heat is on… welcome to Miami!"

But seriously, we'll probably just watch "Food, Inc."


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