It's been a while since my program ended at Disney World. Long enough that the next intake group is currently on their way home. This is a very humbling thought because it truly is the end of anyone I knew still being on the program. Last night, after 3 months of planning, a former colleague, hosted a reunion party for any South Africans that wanted to attend. This actually lead to 3 programs worth of representatives being reunited for the first time after Disney.
The evening was completely magical with American themes so sort of like a Thanksgiving potluck in May. The reason I compare it to Thanksgiving is that anyone from Africa who has been on the Cultural Representative program knows that the other Africans are almost your family for the year so getting everyone together means lots of different characters bunched around a meal, much like a regular family reunion during the holiday season. One even flew in for the occasion.
Just like most reunions many tales were told and gossip about who is still in the US, who's coming home, who's staying a how or why were told. Everyone was in a great jovial mood and we all reminisced about the year gone by. Everyone agreed we would do another program however not everyone agreed that they wanted different roles. We did all eventually come to the conclusion that if all of us were given another program simultaneously that we would want the same year again in a heartbeat.
Other fellow cast members were video called into moments of the reunion, especially important for me as I was the only one attending who had worked at Animal Kingdom and not the lodge and my team mates had only just arrived home, weren't attending or weren't from South Africa.
Many hours of laughter were had. We all played some Disney trivia and eventually ended up watching Celebrate the Magic, Wishes and Happily Ever After in a row and then crashed at about 2 this morning. We woke to a very proudly South African pot of coffee, rusks and leftovers.
Thank you to our fantastic host family for throwing such an incredible reunion night for all of us. I know for some with the very real Post Disney Depression (PDP), it meant a great deal to see everyone and bond one more time on our "off" day.
Hopefully we do this again and next time we document more of the journeys and tales.