On August 9, 2017, my sixteen-year-old granddaughter and I left behind what seems like another world in Virginia Beach to come to Lake Nona, Florida. As with any move, it is hard to weigh the rights from the wrongs.
My Granddaughter has high functioning Autism, so this move was difficult for her. She will be the first to tell anyone change is “beyond stressful and puts her anxiety through the charts.” Three things keep her connected — music, art and tennis.
We were fortunate to find the USTA National Campus when we were still in the air above Orlando. I believe we checked into the USTA before we officially went apartment hunting. It was an instant love affair with the tennis program and private coach David Hernandez. His interpersonal skills with Kauri are special.
Lake Nona High School, on the other hand, was both a culture and size shock that my granddaughter couldn’t adjust to, but she also didn’t understand the teaching style. In Virginia Beach where we lived, she attended a very small magnet IB High School with a class size of 12 scholars.
All the kids at her Virginia Beach school were gifted and a little “quirky.” They were all friends and supported each other. The school worked hard to promote student friendship within the classroom. This one fact made all the difference in student success. The high school in Lake Nona was too much of a change. My granddaughter failed to thrive. She is currently taking academic classes on FVLS and an art class at the high school.
We are starting to make a few friends here in Lake Nona which is a blessing. And, we have a wonderful church family at Bethesda Church which is an Episcopal Church in Lake Nona. It is a new planting church, and I am grateful to have found them literally by the grace of God.
I was on the sidewalk at a medical plaza on Lake Underhill Road in Orlando waiting for my Transportation provided by the VA. I struck up a conversation with a Priest who also happened to be there. After a conversation of pleasantries, I discovered he was an Episcopal Priest. I told him about my “church hopping” efforts to find a church where my granddaughter and I are comfortable. Big ask!
He was curious about what the issues were, and we talked. Then he said, “I believe I have a solution.” The best part about his solution was it was the church right down the street in Lake Nona — Bethany Church. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing so told him enthusiastically, I would check it out.
As he started to walk to his car I told him thank you, then I stood in amazement. Was this Priest standing on the sidewalk waiting for me to solve my problem? That certainly would be a miracle. The following Tuesday I went to a Lake Nona Rotary meeting and was introduced to Reverend Father Nick of Bethany Church. Was it a coincidence? “Must be Providence I thought.” We love the church and Reverend Nick is incredible.
We are living in the Dwell Nona Place Apartments. It is a fabulous community with lots of amenities which is great for us as I don’t drive. It is often difficult to get out. It is nice to sit in the lobby of our building and chat with friends or barbecue by the pool, Last week my son, whose family also lived in Lake Nona, brought my grandchildren over for a visit and swim. We had a lot of fun.
Speaking of the VA, many blessings have come my way. I can sincerely say that the specialists VA Hospital in Hampton, Virginia saved my life. Now with the great continuation of care that I have had here in at the Lake Nona VA, I am very impressed.
I look forward to continuing my journey in Lake Nona.