- It will be remembered for the most boarding passes accumulated on a single journey. Thanks to the polar vortex's visit to Minnesota I got two from Rochester to Chicago, five from Chicago to Texas, and three for the Megabus from Austin to Houston. I kept reminding myself of Louis CK's routine about air travel: Everything's Amazing and Nobody's Happy (if you haven't heard it, and you can tolerate a little bit of vulgarity, you can watch it here.) Even with all the delays, I got to Austin in 10 hours, had two meals, and passed 22 levels of Candy Crush Saga on my phone and read a book on my Kindle.
- My wonderful friends Pat and Len met me at the airport shortly after midnight, gave me shelter, and then had to deal with a dog and a skunk episode less than six hours later and other out of town visitors throughout the weekend, along with stray friends I invited over at random times.
- I had breakfast, and lunch, and wonderful talk time in favorite Austin restaurants with daughter Gracie and son-in-law Tony while waiting for my luggage to catch up with me.
- My first Megabus experience - WiFi, outlets for charging up electronics, cheap seats (all three tickets added up to $25, which is less than a full fare ticket on Greyhound) and only one stop between UT and downtown Houston! I'll definitely try that again. . . and if you ever need a taxi in Houston, be sure to call Fiesta. Fantastic service!!!
- I had a personal encounter with Shelley Gardner, founder and CEO of Stampin' Up! at the Downtown Aquarium before all the other demonstrators arrived followed by an amazing private evening at this wonderful venue. I even petted the stingrays! Then I spent two days learning about my stamping business and hanging out with friends from Illinois and made a new friend from St. Louis who shares my passions for stamping and Christian Education - what are the odds!
- Visited my former church in Austin and was hugged enthusiastically by kids I've been watching grow up for many years, and old and new friends I've been missing. Had a chance to visit with former collegues and an unexpected encounter with someone I've known since I was a young mother. Coffee with Nick and Barb who moved me to Minnesota in September.
- Lunch with my bookclub gal pals at Beth's, with my stamping downline at Melanie's and with my old Brown BagBible study group at Schlotzky's. . . great food, great conversation, lots of old and new memories made and discussed! Breakfast tacos at Rudy's with my accountability group of the past 13 years who I miss every single Saturday morning, and often in-between!
- And the familiar warmth of chatting in the hot tub in the dark with Pat who has been present for pretty much every important moment of my life over the past 30 years.
So, to quote another diva, "but it's the laughter, we will remember, whenever we remember, the way we were." I really nailed that acquisition of memories thing. And I hope my memory holds up because I forgot to take a single picture while I was there . . . but here's a moment at the Aquarium that someone captured and posted to Facebook:
Definitely a week to remember! And one final memory - when it was time to return to Minnesota, I felt like I was coming home, and I treasure that feeling. I feared the trip would trigger a deep sense of loss or doubt about my decision/discernment to come here but I returned with the deep certainty that this is home now, polar vortex and all!