20 April 2010

Texas Sistertrip

I had a little emergency on my way to my gate at the airport on Thursday.

The security line took so long to get through that I almost didn't have time to stop at Starbucks.


Never come between a girl and her skinny iced vanilla latte.

Legal stimulants in hand, I boarded my flight to Houston in a caffeine-induced haze. It was wonderful.

Especially since the flight was packed full and I was elbow-to-elbow with a guy who was watching Last Comic Standing DVD's on his laptop. I was just praying my iPhone battery would last long enough for me to get through my latest Kindle download.

Sidebar: Want to feel incredibly fortunate to be a woman who happened to be born in America? Read the true story "I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced." It's about a little girl in Yemen who was forced into marriage at the age of 9 and the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband - who was three times older than she was. And it only happened a couple years ago - this isn't some historical novel about the middle ages. This is present-day nightmares that kids over in the middle east face all the time. It really puts things into perspective.

So on that happy note, I finished the book just as we landed. I desperately needed a pick-me-up.

I got one. A big one.

Never, ever underestimate the power of a sister reunion at baggage claim. It's super fun to have everyone stop and look at you like you're insane. Maybe we shouldn't have jumped up and down - giggling and shrieking and laughing and crying - so much. Oops.

So first things first in Texas? Going to Chinatown, of course. Forget all of the cowboys and BBQ and cattle - we wanted noodles and steamed vegetables and tea.

Ohmygosh. The tea. I cannot begin to explain how fantastic this tea is. We asked the waitress what it was called, but she didn't know the English words to explain it. So what did she do? She was kind enough to take pity on us silly white people and write the name down for us - in Chinese.

After lunch, we found the closest Chinese supermarket to search for the tea.
We asked the first guy we could find about the writing. He was all excited and pointed to the napkin and asked, "You do?" No. I no do. I have no idea how to write in the Chinese language. He wasn't so excited after that, but still was very, very helpful in searching the gazillion types of tea in the market. Tea to the Chinese is like Starbucks for me and my sister. I couldn't believe all the different choices.
We finally settled on one: Jasmine Green Tea. The last two characters of the vertical writing matched the two characters on the napkin, and that was close enough for us.
Oh my gosh. If anything can break my coffee addiction, this stuff is it.
One problem.
The instructions of tea-to-water ratios are in Chinese! I'm seeing a quick Rosetta Stone lesson in my near future.  
We also went to this awesome place for dessert called the Juice Box.
It made me want to officially live in Chinatown.
All the desserts are made with fresh - FRESH - fruits. Case upon case of fruit greeted us when we walked in. All we had to do was point to the fruits we wanted (I have no clue how to say "lots and lots of watermelon, please" in Chinese) and they loaded us up. It's pretty much just shaved ice topped with fruit, a scoop of strawberry ice cream and drizzled in sweetened condensed milk. Sounds weird, I know. But it's just flat-out DELICIOUS! And for only $5! We chose cantaloupe, pineapple, strawberries, and of course, watermelon.
See how happy we are?
And that was Thursday.
Friday consisted of a wonderful place called the Chocolate Bar (click on the link then click on "desserts" and check out the cakes!!) in the Rice Village and Mexican food with Cole's parents that evening. Can you see a theme? I think all we did was eat. The Mexican restaurant did have a wonderful offering of veggie fajitas that included grilled zucchini and squash, so I didn't do toooo bad. And it was SO GOOD.
Saturday was awesome. We got up around 7am to go down the street to watch the cyclists participating in the MS 150. Obviously, since my sister has MS, we wanted to be out there in our MS shirts showing our support for these incredible people. They were riding from downtown Houston all the way to Austin - that's some hilly country. It was a little rainy, so they were really happy that people came out to cheer them on. WE were the ones that were happy that they were doing this for MS!!
It really made me want to attempt to get back in shape and do the ride sometime.
Goal #1: work off all the Mexican food and Chinese food and desserts. Dang Texas.
After watching the cyclists, we spent the day as any good sisters would do: at Katy Mills Mall. I felt my superpowers returning immediately.
Oh, and Erin and Cole took me to this fabulous place called Central Market. It seriously kicks Whole Food's butt. I have never seen so many organic, vegetarian, vegan products in one place in my life. And counter after counter of fresh everything. Want sushi for dinner? They have a counter for that. Want fresh, organic soups and a salad bar? They have a counter for that. Want fresh artisan breads and pastas? There's a counter for that. In the massive produce department you can get fresh-squeezed juice - no sugar, no additives...just pure juice. It was INSANE. Their weekly specials this week include Hawaiian Mahi Mahi - flown direct to Texas from the islands. INSANE!!
As we walked out (me with - what else? - fresh watermelon) I immediately texted Matt and told him we are moving to Texas. Particularly to Westheimer Road where Central Market resides. He has no choice.
"Why?" he asked. "Because Texas is awesome," I said. I don't think he's buying it. But still. A girl can dream about living by such awesomeness, right?
The rest of the weekend went by so fast. I absolutely love spending time with my sister (and Cole!) - she is so fun and amazing and crazy. We always try to pack so much into our visits - shopping, movies, worship at their amazing church (Bear Creek Baptist, if anyone is in the Katy, TX area), more Chinese food, naps, more shopping. I can't even remember everything we did.
What I can remember is the dang security at the airport last night. Ugh. I've never had this happen before, so I guess it was just my time.
I honestly thought that my box of loose Chinese tea in my carry-on would set off the security alarms. The tea, in it's natural goodness, looks a little organic, if you know what I mean. But no. The tea made it through just perfectly. Me, on the other hand - not so much. My cargo pants kept setting off the alarms - it was the little buckles at the bottom that were the problem. So what happened? I had to go to the pat-down area - which of course is in the middle of the whole security checkpoint surrounded by clear walls - and wait for a female officer to come over and search me.
Not my idea of a good time.
And those people have absolutely no sense of humor. I told the woman that I was going to burn the pants and never wear them again for all the trouble they cause me, and she didn't even blink.
So I just stood there while everyone in the whole airport watched as she patted me down and used that little alarm wand thing. Then, without even a word of "you're good to go, sweetie! Sorry for the trouble!" she just turned and walked away. Um, hello? What do I do now? Did I pass inspection? Was she going to get the FBI? I didn't know what to do, so I just kept standing there until another security guy who was there at the time saw me and said I was good to go. I at least got a smile from him.
Oh well. They're just doing their job - and I would much rather go through a pat-down than have someone shady slip through unaware. It made me feel safe.
Violated, but safe.
So now I'm home, feeling the deep need for a vacation from my vacation. Anyone want to unpack my bags and do my laundry?
Today I love: Getting to see my husband after being gone for five days!! And the puppies. I missed my puppies. :)


Mel C said...

Your little trips to TX always sound so fun!!! And I'm always hungry after hearing about them!! HAHAH. Now, I want some chinese.... no Mexican ASAP. However, I will enjoy my sandwich, salad, and apple instead. :)

RCW said...

Great post, Sissy! We miss you so much already. I love the pic of Cole's head in front of the Chinese store. Ha!

Grace Wheeler said...

I'm soooo glad to find out you have a blog and I can keep in touch with you now!!!! What a great day :) And sister reunions are SO fun...especially at airports and restaurants...or really anywhere that your screams and giggles and hugs get lots of eye rolls and stares :D