meeting the family, road trip, car trouble — relationship intact.

Choy met my family at a family camping trip in Texas a few weeks ago. It was super fun and of course, they really like him.

Choy enjoying his first Texas meal. I love all the decorations at Mi Tierra.

Our Texas plan was to fly down to San Antonio, do a little site seeing, meet up with my family and camp at Garner State Park and then drive back to Indianapolis with my car, which was in Texas with my family. The drive back up to Indy from Houston, where we would stop to meet my friends, is 15 hours and so we planned two days of driving. We thought that two days would give us enough time to make a few pit stops and enjoy a few sites in the good ol’ U.S. of A.

In San Antonio, where my brother was picking us up, we had a couple of hours to kill and so we did some sight-seeing and shopping. We started with breakfast at Mi Tierra. I had never heard of it, having never spent much time in San Antonio, but Yelp reviews were good. It was fun to have a traditional TexMex experience with Choy, complete with a breakfast serenade.

We picked out some gifts for Choy’s family at the market square and then went to The Alamo!

After breakfast we went shopping in the public market and bought these beautiful puebla dresses for Choy’s nieces and a tiny guayabera and pinata for his nephew, the birthday boy!

When my brother and cousin picked us up, we had a bit of a drive to Concan, Texas so we stopped for lunch before getting on the road. I had an obligation to ensure that Choy enjoy his first Whataburger! I’m a good woman, it’s okay, you can say it.

When we finally arrived to the cabin and met up with the rest of my family — my mom, my sister, her boyfriend, my Tia Beber and Tio Peter and their three children: Benny, Lizzy and Julian (their oldest son, Marcus, picked me and Choy up in San Antonio), my Tio Temo and Tia Marie with their son Adam and their granddaughter Ayla — everyone introduced themselves to Choy. All at once. I’m sure it was overwhelming, but everyone got comfortable and started cooking.

The next morning we had a nice Mexican breakfast. And boy did we need it! Despite our best efforts, we got semi-lost on our hike. When we finally found our way to the top, we had a beautiful scenic overlook and lots of fun pictures.

After our very exhausting and hot hike, we cooled off in the Rio Frio. We floated, jumped off cliffs, swung off ropes into the river and otherwise just enjoyed ourselves in this traditional Texas vacation spot. It was a nice ending to our short time with my family because the next day… it was on to Houston.

Before meeting up with my best friends, I had to take Choy to my old stomping grounds — The University of Houston campus. Go Coogs! After a tour of campus, Choy and I went to my friends Suzanne and Dustin’s house.

Suzanne and Dustin were such great hosts. They provided Choy his first taste of Texas BBQ. And how can you doubt BBQ bought from a corner store? Choy said Rudy’s BBQ was delicious. We should have brought the sauce home.

Dustin picked out some choice meats and Choy got to taste “burnt ends” a type of BBQ that we saw on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Who says you don’t learn anything by watching TV! After visiting with Suzanne and Dustin, Choy and I visited with another best friend Medina and her husband Rafiq AND… their brand new baby boy, Mazen. Oh my goodness! Regrettably, I don’t have photos to show you of this precious child. The visit was amazing. I’ve known Medina since college and so it was quite a change to see her as a mommy, but it suits her. I’m so happy for Medina and Rafiq. Congratulations you two! And welcome to the world, Mazen!

My Texas trips always feel so short and this was no exception. After visiting with the Medina, Rafiq and Mazen, Choy and I got on the road for our 15 hour drive to Indiana!

We decided to get out of Texas and get to Arkansas through Louisiana. We would stop in Arkansas for the night.

We stopped in Little Rock and early the next morning we made visits to Little Rock Central High School where history was made. It was a beautiful building and so big! And there is something about stepping on that campus that sends energy through your body. It was an awesome experience. To end our time in Arkansas, we visited the Clinton Presidential Library. It was sort of timely because I am currently reading Hillary Clinton’s Living History. It’s a good read and I am greatly enjoying it. I only wish I would have been further along in the book. I think visiting the Clinton library would have been even better with the extra background knowledge.

After Little Rock it was back on the road with one more stop… Memphis. Graceland.

When we got to Memphis we drove down Beale Street and down toward Elvis Presley Blvd. to see the King himself. Well, we didn’t see him. We didn’t even see his house — I wasn’t going to pay for parking so we just drove up to his rock fence and parked.  Every rock had writing on it. Every. rock. Messages of admiration and love. I was looking at the rocks and I noticed that they were all dated 2012. I learned later that Graceland is the most visited private residence in the United States. It is only surpassed by The White House. After taking our photos of Elvis Presley’s mansion, we got back on the road for the final leg of our trip back to Indianapolis. Or we tried to get back on the road. Our car wouldn’t start!

In the end it was no big deal. One of the somethings that connects the battery to the car was loose and so the car wasn’t starting. When we had it checked out it was fine. Good thing too! I was a little bit panicked, but it turned out to be fine. After that tiny freak out we were hungry. We made sure that Choy had a taste of Tennessee BBQ (different from Texas BBQ) and then got back on the road for home. It was a good trip. We had a good time.

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