Friday, June 14, 2013

Bittersweet "see ya laters"/Howdy Y'all: Texas part 1

Leaving is always hard. Moving away from home to Elmhurst was hard. Flying out of the country to New Zealand was hard. It’s the saying goodbye: the choked up tears, the few mumbled words, and that last hug (for a while) that always gets me. Leaving again meant having to say see ya later to all my Illinois friends and family, which was important to me and I made sure to spend my last month catching up with everyone in the form of taco dinners, coffee dates, pizza parties, etc. The night before I left, a big group of the Bolander family invaded Ollie’s because surprisingly enough, mine and Connor’s favorite flavor (peanut butter m&m) was the flavor of the day! It was wonderful to be surrounded with people who continue to support and love me from nearby and afar.
Departure day was creeping closer by the minute, so I got in my last few hugs, had my obligatory packing panic, and got some shut eye for a few hours. I woke up feeling refreshed, excited, and a little sad. I love everything about being home, and knowing that I was heading out on my own made me realize how much I would miss being in Sycamore. Either way, I had exciting adventures ahead of me, the first being a 12 day trip to and around Texas!
My boyfriend, Jerrod (who I met in Illinois), is originally from Austin, Texas. After a little over two years of the IL life, he was ready to head home again via his trusty Ford Ranger. What better reason for me to escort him there before jetting off to California!
We had an amazing trip and enjoyed our much needed time together. It consisted of a lot of driving, a lot of time spent meeting family and friends (including seeing some of my own!), and a lot of doing what we do best: eating. If you followed Quinn in American Samoa, you’ll know how much I love to eat. How lucky am I to have met someone who eats as much as me (okay, more than me), and isn’t afraid to say no when it comes to food? So lucky.
5am departure times aren't so bad when you've got a handsome man by your side!
We drove through St. Louis. I think this was my first time seeing the Arch? We stopped at a gas station about five minutes past this spot. They didn't have bathrooms and the cashiers sat behind glass and got all your snacks/pop/etc. for you. Turns out it was the ghetto. We peeled out of there real fast.

We stayed in Oklahoma for a night with a good friend of Jerrod’s. It was great meeting him and his fiancé, and we were thankful for being able to stay at their home. As we were busy tackling an intense game of Monopoly, a tornado warning was blasting throughout the area (I was oblivious…a good thing.)
I have been to Texas twice, both times when I was in elementary school. I was excited to be back!
We spent a night in Rockwall, TX – had a fantastic Italian dinner- toured the local Hobby Lobby where I got made fun of for just buying Starburst  – etc.

I wanted to buy all the fake food, of course.
The next day, we arrived in Austin and I finally got to meet some of Jerrod’s family! I loved getting to know them and I can’t wait until I can go back and see them again. I had heard many good things about Austin from multiple people and they were all right – Austin is amazing! So many runners, so many coffee shops (eee!), so many places to explore! Adventures are endless in this city and I am already itching to go back and see more.

A few days before we left, Jerrod surprised me with a film camera (eee!). The perfect day for me is to accompany him somewhere while he takes pictures (he takes the most amazing shots). I was even more excited now because I had a camera of my own to use! He took me all over Austin and I just couldn’t get enough of it.
Cold brew coffee at the Buzz Mill was necessary. We fell in love with the BM & it's atmosphere.
Austin is a big tag art/graffiti city. Jerrod took me to this awesome little spot that looks over the whole city. I was in love with all the colors!
Trying to get the perfect shot (what's exciting about film is that you have to wait to see how it turns out!) Photo taken by Jerrod.
Austin - I WILL be back!

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