Keeping Busy in Dallas

I was not prepared for Dallas to feel so much like home.  This stop has really messed with my ideas of My Ideal Future, and the role a certain Texan city might have in them.

On Thursday night, Sanjay said, “Take a deep breath.  Now…do you think you could take us to the airport tomorrow morning at 5:00?”  When I agreed, Chrisette said, “I can’t wait to see how you function before the sun comes up!”

I functioned well enough, driving them to DFW without accident.  We talked during the 20 drive, and at some point Sanjay said, “Blah blah blah–when we’re in Greece next year.”

“WHAT?” I said.

Chrisette laughed.  “I guess we thought it was so obvious we would visit you that we forgot to tell you we’ve already bought tickets.  We’re going to Athens during the kids’ spring break.”

How crazy that I found this amazing family by “chance” on care.com.  We’re going to hang out internationally, AND they let me stay at their house while they vacationed in Portland.  Continue reading

Back in Dallas: Reunited with Anju and Ketan

I did not expect how much being back in Dallas would feel like coming home.  Four months isn’t that long, but a lot has happened since I moved at the end of June!  I was unprepared for the massive nostalgia of being back.  I could drive on auto-pilot, I had my go-to bank to make some fundraising check deposits, and my library card still worked when I needed to waste a little extra time.  This is my home.  It’s going to be too short of a stay, I can already tell.

At 6:00 I pulled into the driveway behind Sanjay and followed him inside the house.  Ketan greeted me with a massive smile and a hug, and I said, “It’s weird how not-weird this feels!”  Anju and Chrisette came home, and my Dallas family/bosses was complete!  Once again, it felt like nothing had changed.   Continue reading

A Change In Plans

A couple weeks ago I decided to cancel my flights and make this road trip a true road trip.  Back when I was planning #32DaysInMyCar, I thought it would be fun to mix things up and fly from Memphis to Dallas and back.  Later I realized that this would mean extra planning, like renting a car in Dallas and finding people to drop me off and pick me up from the airport in both cities.  Compared to the simplicity of just taking my car and having freedom all the time, it was an easy choice to cancel the flights and start dreaming about using my $82 at Southwest some other time.

The last few trips (Birmingham to Nashville, Nashville to Jackson, Jackson to Memphis) have been less than so short!  I was really quite sad about not having any more massive driving trips ahead, so this way I get a 7 hour trip and a 10 hour trip back in my life!  Turns out this month has just solidified my love of alone time with audiobooks and not eliminated it.

So today I am driving to Dallas, which is just 6 1/2 hours away from Memphis.  I get to take all my stuff and go where I want at my own pace!  FREEDOM.

Last Day in Memphis

On my last day in Memphis, I spent the day being mentally and preparationally productive, but the only concrete evidence that I did anything was a load of laundry.  Eventually Mallory came home, though, and she and Jenna and I went out to eat at Casablanca, a Mediterranean restaurant with the MOST delicious tea made from Earl Grey, ginger, sage, and honey.

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After dinner, we went to the Rec Room, which is a massive warehouse turned into a game center.  Katelyn joined us, and we played foosball and 80s arcade games.  It was especially great, because most of the games were free.  I would never have spent real money to practice Donkey Kong, but when it’s free, I can waste ALL THE TIME.  I hated Ms. Pac-Man, liked Donkey Kong, and loved Galaxian.  Not that I really got all that good at any of them.   Continue reading

Post Office Visits and Neurotically Healthy Arguments (A Busy Day, Clearly)

Yesterday I spent the morning doing an online fundraising meeting, and my coach encouraged me by reframing my need ($9,000) as needing just eight people to donate at $100/month.  That’s so doable!  So…anyone want to donate $100/month for just one year?

I met Ashley at her apartment around 11:00.  She was my Craig 3 sister during my freshman year of college, and she’s always up for a reunion, which I appreciate.  She and her husband Stephen recently had baby Adeline, so I got to snuggle her a little bit before passing her off to her mom.  “In just a couple years she’s going to hit the bratty stage,” Stephen said.

“That’s when I start liking them!” I said.  Stephen looked at me strangely.

“Tricia is the friend who I’m trading babies with.  I’ll raise both of our kids until they’re five, and then Tricia raises them until they’re teenagers.”

“Pretty soon you’ll be mine!” I cooed, squeezing Adeline’s toes.  Stephen continued to look alarmed, I don’t know why.   Continue reading

Concerts, Conversations, and Girl Time in Memphis

I’ve now spent two nights in Memphis, and it just confirms that choosing to hang out with Mallory is always the right choice.

When I arrived on Saturday, we caught up for a couple hours, then met up with Katelyn, who as a cat named Chesterfield who immediately let me hold him and then purred really loudly when I started petting him! !! !!  Katelyn is also great.  No, really, I like her a lot, and the three of us went out to dinner where I discovered I like her so much because she is a lot like me: she’s an INFJ who loves Vancouver and nanaimo bars, which is enough for me to consider her my soul twin.   Continue reading

Rooming with the Hughes Family

The summer after the Union tornado, I lived with Jennie and Dusty Hughes.  At the time, they just had one kid: baby Hannah.  Now Hannah is speaking Latin and reading The Hobbit, and three more kids (Seth, Micah, and Jonah) have joined the family.  They’re my Jackson family, and they always make me feel totally welcome, despite the family habit of peeking around corners to stare at me with owl eyes.  This tradition is, I feel compelled to mention, always initiated by the parents.

I also got to spend time with Bill and Sally Smith, Jennie’s parents.  They were dear friends and pseudo parent/grandparents at Woodland.  Since they moved to Jackson, I’ve only seen them at Jackson parties.  The last four days, however, I got to have lunch at their house in a nice one-on-two conversation, and they stopped by the Hughes house every so often.  It was nice to feel like they were just….around, and not so distant as to need specific visits.

But back to the Hughes family.  They’re so weird, and I love it.  Jonah, the youngest, toddles around on his own, content to move chairs and eat grapes and drive toy trucks.  Continue reading