Here's one of my dad and stepmom at Animal Kingdom beginning the safari ride (a family favorite).
And me and my amazing big brother!!!
The trip home was great. I also have some really cute pictures of braiding challah with my mom and tickle wrestling with my big brother. My family is so incredible and loving and we laugh so much when we're together... it's such a blessing. And it was really amazing to see how everyone was so open and accepting of my new way of living my life. A lot of "liberal" families don't really keep with the whole philosophy... they're more concerned that you agree with them about their political views than that everyone has the right to their own. But, thank G-d, my family is just happy to see everyone doing whatever gives them meaning and joy.
I got back and in short order it was Rosh Chodesh Shvat (the first of the month of Shvat)! We had a beautiful little Rosh Chodesh breakfast in the Beit Midrash (study room/library/classroom). Rebbetzin Karlinsky gave a beautiful shiur about Shvat. She said that all winter we are working and working on ourselves and our faith and connection to G-d and not necessarily seeing the fruits of our labours. But in Shvat, which is generally a month where lots of rain has collected (unfortunately it has been a very dry winter so this didn't apply so much this year as it does usually) you don't have to go dipping so far into the well to gather water. And so it is with our spiritual lives. We have filled the "wells" with that work and now we can just skim off the surface and feel the spirituality permeate our lives and bring us joy and a deeper connection. She gave over the shiur with so much simcha and love that it was a really lovely morning.
Finally, my roommate Michelle had her vort (engagement party). The Rosh Yeshiva and Rosh Midrasha both spoke and we danced and had a great time. Here's a goofy picture of us doing a slow-mo dance because the boys were singing a really weird song.