When deciding how to start our trip, it was easy to say that we were going to get out of the cold, dreary Minnesota spring; but it was even easier to decide on Texas for four very important reasons. We knew that starting out by spending time with four of the most important people to us would make the lifestyle change a little easier. Knowing full well that I would tear up when taking off from Minnesota, we waited until my folks were well on their way to a fun adventure themselves (there were still tears). So… we started our drive to Texas.
Stop #1 – Steph and Guy
On their way to starting their own, awesome new adventure, we caught them in Texas just in time. For the last 21 years, Steph has been my best friend and as close to a sister I will ever get. She and her husband, Guy, are about to move to New Zealand to live out their dream and have amazing new adventures of their own.
While hanging with these two for a few days, we caught up on what’s been happening since we’d seen each other last. We peppered them with all sorts of questions about the move with excited anticipation of hearing about their adventures and simply spent time with them before we wouldn’t have the chance for the foreseeable future.
Being mindful of the fact that they had to pack, in the world’s most meticulous way possible (seriously, it was crazy), we didn’t want to put pressure on them to feel like we needed “entertainment”. That, and we know that we will do more Texas touring this coming winter. The goal was simply to spend time with them, and we did just that. For the first time, I was able to attend one of Steph’s yoga classes and it was excellent. And since most of you reading this know that I am type A and have a tough time relaxing my mind, completing a yoga class on my best behavior was quite the achievement. And having known Steph for as long as I have and always having a goofy time when together, it was really a stretch to keep from giggling the whole time or making faces at her while teaching… it didn’t stop me from being my typical five-year-old self after the class was over.
The next day brought quite the new experience for me… a Float session. That’s right, a giant space ship looking bathtub filled with warm water and a LOT of medical grade epsom salt. After floating in the tub (let’s be honest, I was totally bouncing from side to side while trying to defy physics the entire time) I had crystallized salt all over my face and in my ears. The whole point of these things are to relax and I can see how some may relax, but I think I will still to massages for now.
Then came Friday, departure day, and we were packing up our guest room and getting ready to head down to Houston. As many of you know, I hate goodbyes and much prefer see-you-laters so we did a total Minnesotan long see you later. Knowing that it will likely be a year before we see them next, I couldn’t help but tear up while driving down the road. We are so excited to hear about their amazing New Zealand adventures via FaceTime and smother them with hugs when we see them again!!
Stop #2 – Craig and Rae Anne
After navigating through lovely Dallas traffic, we were on our way down to the Houston area. That’s right, we were driving right into a flood zone – smart, right? Well, fortunately for us, Craig and Rae Anne live north of all the high water and concrete jungle so we didn’t have to turn the Winnie into a pontoon.
We first met this awesome couple while at Scholastica and quickly became friends. They have been close to our heart despite living far apart since leaving Duluth and we are always excited to get together with them for our next adventure. They were by our side for the start of our marriage with Craig officiating it in his awesome Texan accent and Rae Anne standing with me while I married the love of my life. We have even traveled to Ireland with them and they were even the first friends to visit us in Colorado.
While staying with Craig and Rae Anne, we have been spoiled rotten from a gorgeous southern Texas setting to amazing food and best of all, wonderful company. It is crazy how much time has gone by since we were here last – 7 whole years – eek! We have, of course, seen each other in between but it is so much fun to get to spend this much low key time with them.
Saturday night was spent at an awesome little Greek restaurant complete with belly dancers. I tried to get Shea to put a dollar in her outfit, but even the thought of it had him blushing! We had the opportunity to join them for church service on Sunday and it was just as great as the last time we were here. The vocalist was so good it sent goosebumps all over.
As always, there is plenty of entertaining conversation – from movie quotes to just plain randomness we always have a few good belly laughs. Staying true to professor form, Rae Anne had some valuable zombie apocalypse advice… in order to keep from crazy brain eating disorders from creating zombies, the human race should not have sex with ants – ha!!
The fun part is; we get to see them again when we roll through Texas this winter – I can’t wait to make them go to all sorts of tourist sites!
We are so thankful that we have such amazing friends that we could spend time with on this early portion of our journey. Thank you so much for your hospitality – you are the best!! Anyone who knows me knows that I rarely use the word ‘blessed’ but we are just that. We have great families and so many people out there who love and care about us. Can’t wait to see more of you along the way!
P.S. – Have you had a beaver nugget?