Temperatures were in the teens when I begrudgingly trekked across campus this morning. I’d had just enough time to get used to the southern sunshine, so frigid air and forecasted snow were not what I was hoping for upon my return to the midwest.
As many of you know, I was fortunate enough to get to spend my spring break in Texas this year. It’s amazing what a week off can do for your mind. I didn’t have to answer emails or turn in assignments or take exams; I got to do whatever I pleased. And I got to do it in 70 degree weather. Someday I may go into detail about one or more of these experiences, but for now, I think it’s best that I give an overview of my week while it’s all still dancing through my daydreams.
I was accompanied on my trip by two friends, Emma and Ashleigh. The two of them are roommates, and Ashleigh is actually from Texas. Without her and her family, none of this would have happened. So anyway, three college-aged girls boarded a plane at Indianapolis, flew to Tampa for a connection, and landed in San Antonio two Fridays ago. It was nearly six by the time we were settled in the borrowed home we’d be staying in for a few nights, so we had barbecue for dinner. There aren’t words to describe how much I enjoyed that meal. And to finish the night, we met several of Ashleigh’s friends from high school.
The next morning, I got to have my first authentic breakfast burrito. Again, very impressed with the food on this trip. After a bit of lounging around and waiting for the rain to let up, we made a short drive to a small outdoor shopping mall. I bought some things, ate some fro-yo, and generally just enjoyed the Vitamin D. Next, we drove down to Bulverde to Ashleigh’s favorite restaurant, Pappa Gallo’s, to meet her family for dinner. And finally, from there, we took a few backroads to the Tejas Rodeo. I loved every minute we spent there right up until my supposed friends forced me to dance with random strangers. Even then, it wasn’t terrible. It was an occassion to wear my Ariats and scout out cowboys.
Sunday, we were up early to start a three-hour drive to the beach at Port Aransas. Ashleigh’s aunt tagged along with us on this mini trip, and she had even somehow managed to get permission to use a condo right on the water. It was an adorable little town, and the view from our balcony was mind-blowing. We could actually see dolphins from our windows. We didn’t make it to the beach until the next day, but we did eat at a lovely place called Shells. I had the best Mahi Mahi that I’d ever had. And we explored some local shops before crashing on the couch and marathoning Naked and Afraid before bed.
Monday was beach day. It was cold and windy, not exactly ideal bikini weather. But did that stop us? Nope. We found a fairly quiet stretch of sand where we spread out our things and left our flip flops behind. The water was uncomfortably cold, but bearable for determined people like us. I led in the loss of layers, first shedding my jacket and then my shorts and tank top. Had it not been the 20-30 mph winds, I would have been fine to frolic in my swimsuit, but we found it was a bit warmer to lay on our towels, at least until the temperatures rose some more. Eventually, some rowdier students set up camp nearby and effectively repelled everyone who was already there. We left the beach and had a late lunch at The Gaff before returning to the condo and teaching ourselves to longboard. That’s funny if you know how clumsy I am, but I was actually pretty good at it. We also ended up having ice cream for dinner that night. My choice? A key lime pie milkshake.
Tuesday, we drove back to San Antonio. We had a room booked at the Hyatt Hill Country, which ended up being not so close to downtown. We got settled, explored the pools and lazy river, and made s’mores. Oh, how I love my s’mores. It was sometime after nine before we realized we’d forgotten dinner, so we went to Whataburger, which was new to Emma and I. Our orders were screwed up, but the food was still good. We hit up the Texas grocery store chain, HEB, afterward and bought hilarious shirts and apple soda.
Wednesday was our day to explore downtown. Summed up, it was a day spent along the famed River Walk. The town is beautiful from nearly every angle. We had lunch at Casa Rio. So much delicious Mexican food. We shopped for souvenirs for our friends and family as well as stopping in little local shops just to look around. In the middle of the afternoon, we paid to take a little boat ride down the river and get some background on the sites. We got back to the hotel and almost immediately made plans with two of Ashleigh’s friends to go see a movie. So to prep, we went and ordered food at Chick-Fil-A, and then we ate it during the first few scenes of Non-Stop. By the way, everyone should go see that movie.
Thursday was effectively the last day of vacation. We got up late, but promptly left the Hyatt to go meet more of Ashleigh’s friends for lunch at the Alamo Cafe. After that, they followed us back to the hotel where we all talked and did some swimming and laying around at the pool. Eventually, we all changed and decided to take a short drive to a place called Gruene. It was an adorable town, and there just so happened to be a free show going on at the dance hall. We stopped in after our dinner at the Gristmill, but only caught the last couple songs. We drove back to the house we’d first stayed at, and stayed up packing our bags until we couldn’t fight sleep any longer.
Friday, our flight from San Antonio took off at 11:45am and landed in Baltimore some three hours later. After eating far too many chicken nuggets, I waddled onto the next plane and we then landed in Indianapolis around 7:00pm. My parents drove us all back to New Castle and the adventure ceased. My week in Texas will always be remembered as a good time. But truth be told, a week in shorts after months of snow will always be welcome. I may just be dreaming of rodeos and enchiladas for weeks to come.