The day dawned bright and clear, and we were ready to leave by 9:00, arriving at the Miami Metrozoo by a little after 9:30. It was already sweltering.

The Metrozoo was lovely. It was very reasonably priced ($11 for adults, I think?) and it was well worth it. Of course, landscaping with lots of color is a little easier in a climate like Florida’s. It was pleasant just walking along, and the exhibits were very well-done. Most of the animals were out, though we didn’t get to see the orangutans or some of the bears. I couldn’t blame the animals for sticking to the shady spots, though!

NestlingsBareback Rider

The boys were very fond of the climbable statues and the misting stations, and Chris and I took a great many very silly pictures. The coolest thing, I think, was the monkey exhibit (okay, I know they were specific kinds of monkeys, but I didn’t see the sign to tell me what kind), where the inhabitants were setting up quite a racket—I had never heard the like of their vocalization! It was awesome!

Warthog Crossing

Hungry Chick

The boys quickly grew tired of walking around and were glad to stop for lunch. I had the first Icee I had had in years, and it was very yummy. We finished our tour of the back part of the zoo and I convinced Chris to buy tickets for the monorail, thinking it would be quicker than walking all the way back to the front. The ticket taker told us that it would be a ten-minute wait, but it ended up being more like twenty minutes. We were, however, sharing the wait with an adorable little boy and his father. They were French-speaking, and the little boy was just awesome—his dad said that they had an expression “He’s happy to be happy,” and the little guy really was. And then once we were all laughing at his antics, that encouraged him to get up to more and more hijinks.

A Special Friend

The monorail finally arrived, and we rode back to the front, arriving just as a few drops of rain fell. We took cover in the shelter where we had eaten lunch. We hadn’t seen the Australian exhibits, so we decided to see them. Accordingly, whenever the rain would let up, we would hurry to another sheltered area, making forays out to see the animals. We saw the cutest koala bear ever and the singing dogs, but they weren’t singing; they just ran around in the rain silently.

Rain Dance

Finally, having seen all there was to see, we walked out to the car, getting pelted with rain the whole way. The trip back to the hotel was uneventful. Chris had a bad headache, so he took some Tylenol and rested while I puttered around. Eventually, we got dressed for the wedding and Chris went out to buy dinner for the boys from a Boston Market that was out of several things.

The boys ate and then we left. It was still raining outside and I thought of Michelle and Victor and their planned outside wedding, hoping that the rain would clear. We dropped the boys off and chatted with Jorge and Margarita, Cecilia’s children. Margarita and Cecilia would be coming to the wedding, so we left the boys in the capable hands of Cecilia’s mother and Jorge, who eased the transition by mentioning the magic word “GameCube.”

We arrived at the wedding a little early and were shooed away by the people who were setting up the chairs on the wrap-around porch of the clubhouse. The rain did finally clear, but the grass was soggy and far too wet for the wedding to take place on the lawn. Unfortunately, this meant that those of us who weren’t part of the immediate family were seated on the side, where we couldn’t see any of the processional. I did, however, have a good view of Michelle and Victor once they were under the canopy.

Happy Couple

It was a lovely ceremony, and the bride and groom were so happy. That is always a delight. Even more delightful was getting to be a part of a celebration by two families. Victor’s family was represented in larger numbers than Michelle’s, but both families were so joyful and happy about the marriage that we all felt as though we were really one family for that moment.

'Sisters'FriendsDancing With Tina

Another really neat thing is that the wedding guests tended to either be family or people all from our church, so at our table we were all able to chat about the Feast and different people we might know in common—it was so neat to be able to start on some common ground and then have that as a place to build from.

I can’t forget to mention the great joy in seeing Michelle’s family again. It’s so hard to keep up, with both of our families being busy, and theirs especially, with Michelle graduating and planning a wedding. But it was so wonderful to know that we could have talked away the entire evening if it had been seemly so to do. Jana (Michelle’s mother) and I already have many hopes for times when our families could get together again.

We danced and talked late into the evening and then pulled ourselves away with many hugs and promises to write and to stay in touch. The boys were reluctant to leave off playing games with Jorge, too. We could have stayed the rest of the evening there, even, talking with Cecilia and Margarita—but it was so late, and we had an important date the next day!