They say that planning a trip is just as exciting for the planner as it is to actually take the trip. Not sure I totally agree with that one, especially when it comes to visiting my kids. Being with my kids far outweighs "planning" to be with them. Absolutely no comparison. But you do anticipate, look forward to, and dream about the day when you'll get to see those faces, sitting two feet apart and literally talking face to face as I alluded to in my last post and then ending every conversation (or heated discussion, whichever the case may be!) with a hug and a "Well, what do you wanna do next?"
I always enjoy my trips to Houston, Texas. Just 800 miles from Atlanta, it might as well be another world. The culture is full of sausage kolacky, tex-mex finery, coffee snobs who would rather abstain than to drink a bad brew, Texas pride, a remarkable art scene, and a good dose of liberalism by most city dwellers. As much as my youngest daughter would probably disagree, I enjoy a well-rounded revelry where we banteringly discuss everything from why we think the world is in trouble to our many solutions for it. Even though (in my opinion) it shines a spotlight on our differences about love, friendship, and world peace and that can be a bit uncomfortable, no one ends up with their feelings hurt and it gives us each a much-needed glimpse into what is going on in each other's heart and our very different daily world. It's a necessary tool in understanding what makes the other one tick and how each person continues to grow, expand our horizons, and learn a little bit more about this world we live in and how we relate to its inhabitants. Visiting Houston is in some ways a culture shock but, the more I visit, the more it feels like home.
A visit to this crazy big city is always made better by two of my favorite places to eat while there -- Tout Suite and Chuy's (just this very moment Abbie texted to inform me she was eating my fish taco left in her fridge!). This time I got to visit both and also some new eateries which is always a fun thing to do. Why people go to a new city and eat at the same old places they eat at home is beyond me. Maybe it's fear of not liking the food or just a fear of new things, but to me exploring new places to eat and see is the joy of traveling. I do, however, conduct a bit of research before venturing out. I like to know what it is I'm gonna be offered, how much of my hard-earned cash I will give in exchange, and what others think of the place. The hubs likes to do it this way: When you're traveling, always go where the locals go. Look for the local car tags in the parking lot. The locals are not gonna patronize a place where the food and service stinks. Not bad advice, right?
As any proud mother, I take a lot of pride in the life my daughter has made in Houston. She is making a name for herself in the art world there, has never asked her parents for a dime, and continues to grow more beautiful both inside and out coming up on her 30th birthday -- physically because she takes great care of herself and inwardly because she is a lover of people and her life reflects that compassion. I get a chance to visit with some of her friends, and especially enjoy time spent in the presence of her main squeeze who, every chance I get to spend a little more time with him, steals a bit more of my heart. He too is making a name for himself as a budding film producer and a much-sought-after graphic designer. Together, they are a power couple and I see how their love for each other makes them each a better human being. I enjoy listening as they bounce design ideas off each other and give honest and constructive criticism when asked. They are helping each other to hone their skills and talents and obviously building a future together, which means my daughter will probably never return to Atlanta to live. Ahhhh...so sweet, but containing a hearty dose of bitter in that sweetness.
I guess I'd have to say my trips to Houston don't come around enough and they, always, always end too soon. The third night I was there, we drove to Galveston for the night (we are both beach lovers of the serious kind). We stayed in an adorable two-bedroom apartment behind a lovely historic home about a mile from the beach but steps away from the downtown shops and restaurants. I love visiting old towns and learning about the history and exploring the many architectural gems they offer. Unfortunately, this trip didn't afford us much time to do that. Galveston Beach has seen better days for sure, but work is presently being done to improve it. Our accommodations were great, and it was beyond joyful to get to walk the beach with my girl. A good, long beach walk is the answer for whatever is ailing you.
But, alas, my trip back to Atlanta left this gal longing for a good night's sleep. We didn't land till 11:00 and as I stood motionless on the plane train trying to get to baggage claim and hanging on for dear life, a female drill sergeant entered the car on the next-to-last concourse ordering all to evacuate the train, for it was shutting down for the night. The nerve of them! The entire flight had to walk to the last concourse and, as I grabbed my bag, and was heading out for my ride back to my car, I ran into my seat mate on the flight, a petite Asian woman with a sweet smile and who, like me, brought several snacks on board, tried to rest under her jacket, and stressfully closed her eyes tight during take-off and landing. She was frantically searching for baggage claim and was nowhere near the right place. She spoke broken English, but I believe I was able to convey to her the right direction and hopefully helped her in her quest (like me) to make it to her destination and get some much-needed shut-eye. We never know what little bit of help we can give a fellow human if we just open our eyes and heart and are willing. Little things sometimes mean so much.
So my fourth trip to Houston was, as always, fun and full of new faces and activities (I even got to throw on the potter's wheel for the first time!), and I came home tired as a dog, but happy as a lark. The down side of the trip was our beloved Falcons (or not), lost their quest for the Super Bowl gold and, unlike me, came home with heavy hearts and I'm sure a good dose of wounded pride. Can I return my overpriced spirit wear I purchased on a whim at a gas station headed to the airport? Probably not.
Me on the other hand? I made it home with joy in my heart, a heavy suitcase with three times the clothes I actually wore, and a boat load of new memories to cherish until my next pilgrimage westward.
Posted by CC
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