So…

Here we are:  in Titusville, Florida.  For those who have never heard of this place – firstly, let me assure you that Titusville is pronounced “tight”… not “tit” – as in boob!  I made the mistake of calling it the boob-version when I first visited in 1998.  I was speedily corrected.

To explain what we’re doing in Titusville is a long story that spans back a number of years to 1998… when I was still very young and very very Christian.  I was visiting a church in Titusville (where I performed my Christian song… which was later aired on Christian radio).  During my visit to the church… I met Theresa and her friend Phil – and we became firm friends.

We had dinner at Denny’s, we visited the hot springs together and we spent many hours chatting about God and worship music.  At the time, we were all single.

I'm on the left with the blond hair… Phil is sitting next to me. Theresa is in the red top sitting next to Nick. At the time, of course, Nick and I were still VERY platonic friends. We had no idea we'd eventually be married with kids!

I’m on the left with the blond hair… Phil is sitting next to me. Theresa is in the red top sitting next to Nick. At the time, of course, Nick and I were still VERY platonic friends. We had no idea we’d eventually be married… and we certainly never imagined we’d be back in Titusville – with kids in tow!

Nick and I at the Christian radio station in Titusville - 1998...

Nick and I at the Christian radio station in Titusville – 1998…

Later, in 1999, I returned to Titusville (during my solo US trip which included a stint in Nashville and a couple of weeks in Florida), I stayed with Theresa for about 3 weeks.  Again – we got on like a house on fire… and Phil, though super-intense… was a great friend.

Theresa and I in September 1999 when I stayed with her in Titusville for a few weeks...

Theresa and I in September 1999 when I stayed with her in Titusville for a few weeks…

The last time I saw Theresa and Phil was in 2000 when Theresa married Mark (whom she has since divorced).  Over past 13 years, we’ve kept in contact via Facebook and the occasional e-mail… but 13 years is a long time not to see… or truly connect… with a friend.

Titusville is about an hour’s drive out of Disney – so, when Theresa heard that we were going to be in the area, she generously offered us a room in her home (where we could base ourselves for a few days, especially since we planned to visit the Kennedy Space Centre – which is just down the road).

To be honest:  I was a teeny bit anxious about seeing Theresa and Phil again.  Nick and I have evolved a lot over the past 13 years – and our outlook (political, spiritual and philosophical) is very different now than to what it was 13 years ago.  In fact, I would venture to say that I have changed so drastically that I think the “old” me… and the current me… would lock horns and wouldn’t like each other very much at all!

But the truth is… I needn’t have worried.

Theresa is as warm, generous and open as she ever was.  She’s still a regular church attendee and conservative in her political views – but in spite of our differences, we have enjoyed many long, happy chats… and laughs… and it reminds me once again that you don’t have to agree with people’s viewpoints in order to enjoy their company or to get along.

I was worried that Theresa or Phil would try to “convert” us back to Christianity… or convince us that the path we’ve taken is “wrong”.  I was concerned that she might try and drag us to church… or try to pray us back into the fold.  But none of that has happened.  On the contrary, we’ve enjoyed some really deep discussions and debates – and I think we’ve all stretched one another’s thinking (which is always a healthy thing) – without pissing each other off.

So… we’re here in Titusville.

We even enjoyed our first American Thanksgiving at Theresa’s parents’ home… and that was an experience of it’s own!  Theresa jokingly referred to it as a “Hillbilly Thanksgiving” – and, indeed… when we arrived, most of the men were in the back yard, shooting squirrels… and the baby wore a hunting-camo jacket!

It was one of those cultural eye-opening moments… to say the least…

But everyone was very warm and very welcoming – and we ate lots and lots (and lots!) of food!  (And I sampled something called Dump-Cake which was divine).

Here's a photo of Theresa's family (you can see her head poking out at the back)… :-)

Here’s a photo of Theresa’s family (you can see her head poking out at the back)… 🙂

We’ve also been to Titusville Beach… and roamed around the Merritt Island Wildlife Reserve (and seen gators – which isn’t difficult, because there are gators everywhere around here!).  And we’ve eaten Pappa John’s pizza while feeding gulls and watching kite surfers on the Indian River…  and we’ve enjoyed big, Mexican meals with friends… and we’ve visited the Kennedy Space Centre… and we’ve searched for manatees… watched movies… browsed bookstores… and the kids have gone mall-jumping… and, of course, there was Thanksgiving…

Beach-time in Florida… :-)

Beach-time in Florida… 🙂

Joah feeding pizza to a gull at the Indian River (in the distance, you can see one of the kite surfers)...

Joah feeding pizza to a gull at the Indian River (in the distance, you can see one of the kite surfers)…

The Merritt Island Mall Jump...

The Merritt Island Mall Jump…

More beach time...

More beach time…

Beach bird… (is this a starling?)...

Beach bird… (is this a starling?)…

We searched and searched for manatees in their natural habitat… and finally, we found one! This was all we saw: a bump in the middle of the canal.

We searched and searched for manatees in their natural habitat… and finally, we found one! This was all we saw: a bump in the middle of the canal.

So – in all, we’ve had a lovely time in Titusville.

We’ve had time to recoup… relax… wash the clothes… download the photos… relax on the beach… and, importantly, re-connect with old friends.

In two more sleeps, we’ll be heading back to Orlando (to tackle Universal Studios)… and then, it’s on to Georgia!  🙂