I took a little mini-vacation down to Texas since I haven’t seen my family since I moved to Portland back in July. I considered being there for Thanksgiving for Christmas but in case you didn’t know, plane ticket prices are a bit overpriced for a broke college graduate. I’m not complaining though since I had early access to window seats and dodged a bit of the chaos that surrounds the big days.
Day One: Thursday, December 7
I flew into Texas all by my lonesome. This was actually the first time I’ve ever flown on a plane by myself. Even my little sister has done it. Needless to say, I survived, but I think I’ll always have airport jitters when I’m alone. Around 4pm I arrived in Austin, TX (again, since the tickets were even cheaper) and my sister picked me up. Then, we met up with my Aunt and Uncle who live in Kyle and had some delicious vegan pizza at Mod Pizza. (It’s pretty much a subway for pizza if you didn’t know). THEN, something absolutely miraculous happened- IT STARTED SNOWING!
I’ve lived in Texas my entire life of 23 years and I’ve seen little snow flurries that last a couple hours and barely coat the ground but I had NEVER seen snow flowing from the sky, flurries that stuck in my hair, little white confetti that blocked our vision when driving. My sister and I were supposed to drive back to San Antonio that night but my dad said, and these are his exact words, “Don’t you dare think about driving home.” Apparently San Antonio was getting the snow just as bad, and by bad I mean a few inches on the ground, but also bad enough that no one in Texas knows what the heck to do. Driving home would be the equivalent of driving home at 4am on New Years day after everyone was leaving their parties intoxicated. So, we had a fun little sleepover at my aunt and uncle’s and enjoyed our time together.
Day Two: Friday, December 8
If you bet me $100, I would’ve said the snow would surely not be there in the morning. And yet, I was wrong. Snow still clung to the trees and covered the ground and it was the most magical thing I have ever woken up to. My sister and I took a ton of photos in the snow (as you’ll see down below) and then headed down to San Antonio.
The first thing I did when I got home was cuddled and loved on all of my precious fur babies and THEN I caught up with my family :p It almost felt like I never left, but I appreciated every moment just a little bit more.
Later, my sister somehow caught me at a weak point because I refused to spend the tiniest second doing nothing, and dragged me to the gym. In case you didn’t know, I tend to stay away from gyms because I have not the slightest flippin idea of what I’m doing. I’ve never understood how anyone just miraculously knows how to work all the crazy machines. I tried getting away with running on the treadmill because I’m good at it but my sister made me do “leg day” with her. Pro-tip: don’t ever do leg day while on vacation, especially towards the beginning of it. Anyways, we’ll skip past how embarrassing it all was (though I felt pretty damn good after it all) and forget it ever happened. I’ll stick to running and hiking like once a month.
Afterwards, I met up with my friend Casey whom I’ve miraculously known for almost 7 years ever since we worked at not one, but two movie theatres together. We went to HuHot, which was our go-to spot when we were first friends and chatted about life as people do. I hadn’t been to a HuHot since I became vegetarian and then vegan, which was over three years ago, and wasn’t sure if there’d be much for me to eat but being that it is pretty much a buffet and happily seeing that they had tofu and endless other veggies, there was nothing to worry about. Then, we went to the Palladium which is the last place we both worked and checked out the new remodel that had been done. I’m not going to lie, but as sappy as this sounds, a part of me died inside knowing they completely changed where I worked for 4+ years. It was similar to when my sister took my old room even though I thought my life would be like a movie where I come home at age 35 and see everything all in its original place. Who am I kidding though, when my kids move out in the future, their room is being remodeled so I can Airbnb it out and make some extra cash. But even though the remodel was a bummer, I got to see a lot of other coworkers I’ve missed and had some great conversations.
Later that night I brought home some alcohol and I kid you not, (this is the best part), my family got drunk together while playing King’s Cup. If you don’t know what this game is, (and you’re old enough) look it up! We came up with rules during the game such as “You can’t touch your face” or “You can’t say drink, drank, drunk,” and it was hilarious. Highly recommend drinking with your family at least once haha 🙂
Day Three: Saturday, December 9
My sister and I went to my favorite place in the world- Half Price Books- and I picked up a new book which I’m currently reading “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir (which I’m already loving by the way) and then headed to a coffee shop in the area called Aspen’s Brew which is just a cozy little nook, and I helped my sister make some note cards for her upcoming finals. It’s her first semester in college and, God bless her, she hung out with me a majority of my trip while also having to think about yucky school.
Next, we headed out to my grandparent’s house. I’ve been chatting with them on the phone ever since I moved (or rather they’ve been calling and I try my best to talk when I can), and I was so so happy to see them. My uncle came over as well and my dad stopped by after work for a few hours. Our visit was a mix of catching up, looking through some old baby photos (oh my goodness check out how cute my dad and uncle were below-my dad is the younger one by the way), talking about the future. I couldn’t help but be bothered by the fact that my grandparents didn’t have a tree up though because they’ve always put up a bunch of adorable decorations inside their house. I found out they gave their Christmas tree and ornaments to Goodwill and say NUH UH, WE ARE GETTING A TREE. An hour later, we are driving to a local general store and heading home with a mini 5 foot tree, some ornaments, and a santa hat as a tree topper. It was so much fun putting it all together with them and it probably made my entire trip so much more worthwile.
Later that night, I met up with my friends from the Wildlife Rescue I worked at and so dearly miss. I would do anything to hold a baby opossum or feed a tiny little squirrel again. Anyway, there happened to be a Christmas party going on for the company so I tagged along with Stephanie, Ivy, and Brittney, and got to see a bunch of ex-coworkers and had a really fun time and felt super lucky that I got to find friends with such similar interests and a tremendous love for animals.
Day 4: Sunday, December 10
Started the day off fairly early (and by early I mean 10am) and met up with Melanie, a friend from the movie theatre I worked at. She’s been telling me about the store Lush forever, and though I’ve been told such great things about it, I still had yet to go there. So she went with me to check it out and I was introduced to the nicest vegan goodies and a wonderful world of self-care through wondrous bath and beauty products. It was honestly dangerous because I was suddenly like, “I deserve this shit,” “Make me feel pretty,” “Glitter makes the world a better place-but only if it’s vegan and good for the environment because it’s made out of some seaweed stuff.” Y’all, make sure to pamper yourself sometimes! But we tried on all the glitter and lipsticks and lotions and walked out smelling nice and looking cute. I picked up some bath bombs that I plan on using in my tiny tub very soon. Next, we did a little clothes shopping and tried on a bunch of clothes, some that we thought looked ridiculous but that we also figured we could conquer anyways. Left the store with a couple items we probably didn’t NEED but hey, they were cute
Later that night, I met up with the friends I’ve had since I was in ELEMENTARY AND MIDDLE SCHOOL. Dear goodness, I’m so grateful we are still friends because they’re the most down to earth group of people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. We had plans of going to Olive Garden because I’ve been craving it for MONTHS but there was a 2 hour wait because of a 30 person party (what the heeeeck) and then we were going to go to another location and they had at least a 1 hour wait. Ended up going to one of my favorite vegan restaurants, Bok Choy, (and am so happy they are down to try vegan food) and we caught up on everything we’ve missed out on the past few months. It’s crazy how many directions we are going in, but it’s so comforting to see that we always come together and have plans to continue meeting up when we can 🙂 Afterwards, we piled into two cars and drove through a popular neighborhood known for the Christmas Lights-There is seriously an entire map of the neighborhood that shows 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners for a bunch of different categories. Some of those houses really went all out! Then we ended the night at someone’s house and continued chatting away.
Day 5: Monday, December 11
Last day 🙁 At the last minute, a few hours before my sister had to drive me back to the Austin airport, we were lucky to fit in lunch with Sandra, my mom’s best friend and also one of my best friend’s moms. We went to Chipotle (because vegans can’t be picky and also who are we kidding, it’s delicious). I always love meeting up with her because there’s always some mention of my mom and it’s really refreshing and just lovely. She’s also like a mother to my sister and I so I always feel a bit better about my adulting process when we chat and love catching up on each other’s lives.
Then, there was only the hour and a half drive left until I headed back to Portland.
I cannot believe how much I was able to fit into my 5 day trip. I didn’t have a single concrete plan with anyone before I came down and somehow everything fit perfectly into place. I honestly couldn’t ask for a single thing more. My Christmas present was getting to see all of the people (and animals) who make my life a little bit better and I’m happy to say that 2017 has ended with a bang. 2017 has probably been the most positive and kind year to me and I’m ready to go into 2018 with endless smiles and a warm heart 🙂
THANK YOU TO EVERYONE I GOT TO SEE FOR MAKING MY TRIP SO SPECIAL <3 And to all those I didn’t get to see (and to those I did), COME TO PORTLAND, or I’ll see you again 🙂