Gulf Coast Parasailing, by Makayla Mason
As LEAP Ambassadors, we contribute to the travel costs of our own trips. This contribution is an investment in our own education, and while part of our money goes for trip t-shirts, conference registration and museums, our money also goes to fun activities that we engaged in on trips. And that applied today, when we had a chance to go parasailing!
Only one member of our group had ever experienced parasailing and the rest of us were excited to embark on this new adventure. While making our way to deep waters (in every sense of the phrase), one of our tour guides helped the first pair into their harnesses. First up were Christina and Makayla, followed by Ryan and Beatriz, and ending with Mike and Stephanie. With the sun shining down on us, we were anxious for the adrenaline rush the thrill of parasailing elicited. The release from the boat was very smooth…
…and as we climbed higher into the Biloxi sky we began to understand why people love to parasail. It was a very peaceful 10 minutes, with a breeze and even sightings of dolphins!
While a pair was up in the sky, the other four took advantage and enjoyed the boat ride filled with music and the occasional splash of salty water. Probably the happiest of the para-sailors were Beatriz and Ryan, both of whom were productive while air-sailing.
Ryan filmed the entire 10-minute ride…
…while Beatriz waved her arms and kicked her feet in excitement!
The view from the sky was amazing, with the boat looking tiny.
It’s amazing to have these opportunities as undergraduates, and we had a great time in our rarefied adventure!
Hibachi Dinner, by Makayla Mason
For dinner, we decided on going to Kyoto Japanese Cuisine. Beatriz had never experienced a Hibachi style dinner so we happily made our way to the flat top grill. We made our decisions quickly with Beatriz and Makayla sharing the Hibachi Chicken and Shrimp, Ryan and Christina shared the Rock’N Roll Sushi and noodles, and Stephanie and Mike split the Hibachi Chicken and Lobster. We told our Chef, who was a very humorous man, that Beatriz had never experienced a Hibachi Grill, so he invited her up to cook for us. Beatriz did not last long as our Chef. We experienced an onion train with fire, steam, and sound effects, and then we watched our dinner being skillfully cooked. Beatrix also tried lobster for the first time, she enjoyed it! We left Kyoto with full stomachs ready to dance it all off at the conference’s “Missouri Night” gathering.
Missouri Kick-Off Party, by Christina Perez
After dinner, we headed to the 2018 Missouri Kick-off reception. Each year, the state who is hosting the following year (in this case, 2018’s Conference) gives a preview of the conference by hosting a night full of their state favorites. Although the states work together, there is no doubt they are a bit competitive, and the states try to provide as much fun as possible to “show off” their state.
When we arrived, we were greeted with goody bags which contained goodies from Missouri companies, and an entry way that was clearly Missouri made!
We took a group photo and headed for the dance floor. Although some of us were too shy to show off our groovy moves (Ryan), others did not waste a minute. We danced to hit songs from famous artists such as Michael Jackson, Gloria Gaynor, The Isley Brothers, and many more–alongside legislators from 15 states, including at least one Speaker of the House! Makayla expressed her enthusiasm of how she had enjoyed dancing to one of her favorite songs, Uptown Funk by Mark Ronson. Interestingly, for the first time ever, the LEAP Center Ambassadors are on tape “dancing”….
But this was not the last time! As a special treat, we also danced in a conga line while holding onto the mascot for the St. Louis Blues.
According to Missouri’s Speaker of the House (Todd Richardson), the purpose of the event was to allow everyone a great time, and we think the “show-me” state did its job well!
See you next year St. Louis!