Isn’t the internet cool? Steve tells me bedtime stories about how cool it is in his terms (servers and ip addresses and something to do with DNS). But right now, I’m thinking how amazing it is that complete strangers in different countries can become friends all because of the internet. We’ve been meeting some awesome people on this trip, and surprising ourselves with how open and comfortable we are with it all. We’re both introverted by nature. I like to say that I’m an extrovert trapped in an introvert’s body. But really, how crazy is it that we just show up at people’s houses without really knowing them and then we all live together for a day or two and get along like peas and carrots?
It happened again in Houston. I know Sara from her blog, which I’ve been reading every weekday since I found it a year ago when Steve and I were planning our wedding. Her and her partner Matt were so open and friendly when we showed up to their lovely home in Houston.
Anyone who has read Sara’s blog knows that she is a planner by nature. So, true to form, she had the whole evening planned out for us, if we were game. And it was perfect. First we stopped off at one of their favourite restaurants to pick up some take-out tex-mex food. They insisted that we had to check out inside the restaurant, even though we weren’t going to eat there. What a funky place! Every space was covered in something colourful or interesting. Just to give you a taste -they had entire walls filled with pictures of customers’ dogs, and the salad bar was set up out of the front of an old Cadillac. I’m still working on being comfortable taking pictures in very public places, like restaurants, so no photos – sorry!
Next it was off to a local park where they have an outdoor amphitheater and where we would have our picnic dinner. That night the amphitheater show was all based around the history of Motown. I was impressed by how many people showed up – the hill above the amphitheater was packed!
We ate, we chatted and got to know one another, and all the while in the background was funky music and people dancing. It is so easy to be around these two, and so clear that they are head over heels for one another.
After we’d had our fill of tex-mex and Motown, we headed off into the sunset for ice cream. Sara and Matt described this ice cream place, but it wasn’t until we got there that we fully understood just how awesome it was.
First you pick an ice cream base – they had traditional ones, like vanilla or chocolate, but they also had specialty ones, like white chocolate or even beer flavoured (mmm Guinness ice cream). Then you choose your crush-ins, which are anything from gummy bears, to nuts, to cookies or cookie dough – they had tons of little bowls full of goodies. Then they put it all together and start mashing and folding the crush-ins into the ice cream and what you get is an amazing blend of ice cold yumminess, all done by funky friendly servers. Fun! No wonder there was a line-up out the door. Afterward, Sara introduced us to this fun word game (I’m a sucker for a word game), which involves scrabble-like tiles and spelling words and stealing other people’s words and Sara kicked our butts. I blame it on the fact that she’s a teacher. And it was her game. Unfair advantage for sure! 😉
Sara and Matt’s family includes their dog, Hoss, and their two chickens, Clem and Hop Sing. When we woke up the next morning (after a blissful air-conditioned enhanced sleep) , we found them all in the backyard and I had instant backyard envy – I want a big backyard with a big goofy dog and little chickens running around. Please Steve, please?!
We got to feed “the girls” breakfast – fresh grapefruit. They pecked and clucked away and just generally seemed very pleased with themselves and their lives.
They have pretty sweet lives.
Sara and Matt invited us to join them on their Sunday morning jog at a local park and then for breakfast at another of their favourite spots. Steve and I had brought our running clothes and shoes and so far hadn’t worn them once, so we were definitely looking forward to getting some exercise after all this sitting on our butts driving we’d been doing. We were a little worried that Matt, a marathon runner, would be running circles around us, but their routine is to split up and meet back up at an agreed upon time and place. It felt really good to run, despite the heat and despite the fact that I forgot my insoles. And we worked up an appetite for the delicious breakfast ahead of us. Sara and Matt knew one of the servers at the restaurant where we ate and he was such a sweetheart – he bought us our breakfast! He found out we were visitors from Canada and decided to show us a little Texan hospitality – aww!
Photo Courtesy of Sara
Our visit was short, but sweet, and we definitely plan on seeing these two again in the future. We may even meet up in California, since they are headed that way on vacation in June and the timing just might work out. They told us about this great grocery store that started in Austin and is now all over the U.S. – Whole Foods Market. Man of man do I wish we had one of these in Ottawa! Normally grocery shopping makes me drag my feet a little, but Steve said I was like a kid in a candy store – “oh look, they have these!” “can we buy this, can we, can we?” – except the candy is fresh, healthy, and organic food! I looked it up, they’re in Canada but only in Vancouver and Toronto. I love that Ottawa is a little city, but sometimes it has its drawbacks.
Stocked full of food and warm feelings, we headed further West into Texas, destination – Austin.
Because of a little hiccup or two (or three…or four?), we’ve had to stay in Austin ever since. But that’s a story for another post…