We've been planning a visit Texas for years and finally got the chance to go back for Christmas. I can't begin to say how excited I was to leave the rolling hills of the OC behind on the way to the airport. This wasn't Diego's first flight, so we weren't worried about him having to drink on the way up or suck a lollipop or anything else they say you HAVE TO DO or the baby will EXPLODE. He prefers to look around and flirt with strangers. I wonder what he thinks of the plane. All these strange people sit down very close to each other, all facing quietly forward. Weird.
After a very long day we arrived at my in-law's house in College Station. We got in later than expected and the only people left were finished eating the elaborate banquet of Chinese chicken, duck, pork, several veggie dishes, and soup and were either playing board games, mah jong or pool. It was quiet. There was the hush of Mandarin and mah jong tiles clinking together in the next room and my mom in-law rushing around the kitchen on a broken foot to get us a plate to eat. We all fell asleep minutes later, with promises of more food the next day.
The next few days we spent in College Station were as usual for our vacations in central Texas; beautifully open and lazy, heavy with the dishes prepared especially for us. Jim's Mom made all his favorite dishes, and even one of mine. (Buns. To die for.) As usual everything was beyond delicious, fresh and tasty and deeply fulfilling. Why is it you can't really enjoy a good home-cooked meal until someone else makes it for you? We also played mah jong and I love mah jong, something about the cold tiles and the laughing when we can't remember the rules, and it was lovely laughing with the family.
We saw a lot of Jim's old friends and got to show off the todler who performed most of his bag of tricks. Ring around the rosy? Easy. Where's your nose? Please. He was a true traveling trooper. Seeing everyone just felt right in Texas. There's something about the big blue sky that says, hey, let's have our friends over for food. It's a friendly state.
It was too soon when we had to say good-bye. But we were off for Austin and nothing was going to stop me from seeing Court, my very bestest friend. We drove back to Austin on a gorgeous shiny day, passing empty fields and roaming long horns on a small two lane highway the entire way.
(Don't miss part 2, coming soon! Toddlers meet for the first time, old friends for the first time as Moms! How exciting. :) )