Home > Friends, Introvert, Travel, Work > Weekend Coffee Share: Sayonara, San Antonio!

Weekend Coffee Share: Sayonara, San Antonio!

If we were having coffee, I’d pass on the coffee and have some minty tea instead.

I’d explain that I spent the last several days in San Antonio, Texas for work, and that I drank at least twice as much coffee as usual to rouse myself after awakening so early each morning. There’s still so much surplus caffeine coursing through my veins that I need to back away from it today for any chance of decent sleep tonight.

I had this funny idea as I departed for Texas that I’d have tons of quiet time to soak in the tidiness and space of my hotel room. I’d get the kind of I’m-an-introvert dream break that I’ve been craving since I learned firsthand–almost two years ago–that finding a little breathing room is about a million times harder with two young kids than one.

I’d shake my head with a rueful grin. I could not have been further off! For starters, being away from my kids was more physically and emotionally exhausting than I’d realized it would be. After the stress of flight, the working hours were longish and heavily interactive. Then, after each workday was over, more discussion ensued over long dinners. I experienced approximately none of the introvert wind-down I’d envisioned as I packed dreamily early in the week.

I’d clarify that I dug the conversation, though you probably wouldn’t need the clarification. I’ve already mentioned multiple times that I love my team and my new job. That’s even more true after this trip, for reasons I confess I don’t have the energy to describe just now, though I’d probably mention with profound gratitude that my primary team colleague (and trainer) … creates safe space like no one I have ever witnessed in my professional career. For someone so used to feeling unsafe, this is the single most remarkable part of a job that will challenge me in all the ways I long to be challenged.

Was my trip relaxing? I’d ask rhetorically. Not so much! But was it rewarding? Amazing? Invigorating? Absolutely!

One of the first things I saw after reaching the hotel was this mind-boggling gas sign:

sa gas

That’s half the price of gas in Los Angeles right now! (I discovered later this was the more expensive local gas.)

I saw a tree with white leaves in addition to the autumnal colors to which I’m more accustomed:

sa leaves

Later that evening, I walked down to the gas station I’d seen earlier in the day. Two young men opened the door for me. “How ya doin’, sweetheart?” one of them asked as I walked into a wide dining room filled with red-and-white checkered tablecloths covering picnic tables. Indoors!

I enjoyed brief walks outside during the workdays. I was fascinated by little balls of what appeared to be moss on the trees nearest the office. This “ball moss” isn’t actually moss at all, and apparently destroys the branches on which it settles. Still, it was so pretty and novel I couldn’t help but examine it in wonder.

ball moss

I’d break into a huge grin before telling you about the very bestest part of my trip.

Valentine Logar and I have been blogging friends for about four years. We’ve talked on the phone a couple of times over those years, so that I felt like I met her years ago. I didn’t need to meet her body to feel like I’d met her in more substantial ways, you know? All the same, I knew she lived in Texas and wondered if this might be our chance to meet in body, too.

She drove down to San Antonio on Wednesday evening.

While I waited

While I waited

When she pulled up to my hotel and hopped out, I hugged her once and almost started crying when I asked for another hug. It just felt so right to finally meet fully! I couldn’t explain it better than that even if I did feel more rested.

Together with her lovely companion, we made a trek to her longtime favorite Mexican restaurant.

after sa din

We shared our love of expletives–don’t look so surprised!–and laughed over her favorite expletive-filled Facebook posters. We talked about many other things, but that’s neither here nor there.

sa din

What’s here and there is that she was as thoughtful and brash and loud and compassionate as I’d imagined after reading so many of her words the last several years. She was pure strong-but-sweet Texas in a way I could not have understood without hearing her talk and seeing her move. And, oh! Our gas station stop en route to the hotel was best of all! I wish I had an Instagram video of it, for I’d play it over and over and over again if I ever got to asking myself, “What did Texas feel like again?”

I do remember saying I thought I’d see someone open carrying a gun in light of recent politicking. “You’d have to go to Wal-Mart!” she told me, laughing and saying I’d have to find another ride for that. I chuckled and said I surely understood.

(Even as we laughed, I found myself hoping she makes her way to SoCal someday. I’d happily make a long drive for more time with her!)

At the hotel afterward, a man 100% stereotypical cowboy in appearance got on the elevator with me. As he let me off the elevator first, he drawled, “Have a good evenin’, hear?” and I felt ripples of I’m-really-in-Texas! excitement.

Whew! I’d say then. I’m all out of steam after that monologue! I’d apologize for running on so long before looking at you and asking what’s new with you.

I’m in no hurry, so please! Take all the time you need.

weekendcoffeeshare

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  1. January 23, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    San Antonio is one of the absolute best places in Texas to visit. Fort Worth would be number two. Glad you had a great time in my favorite state. 🙂

    • January 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      By the time I got on the return flight home, I was envisioning ways to sell Anthony on the idea of a move. So far, it sounds like a rough sell, but I’ll probably have some time to refine my pitch. 😉

  2. January 23, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I always think I will get stuff done when I do business travel, but never do so I don’t think it was 100% just missing your kids. It’s great that you are still loving your job and coworkers so much! It is also great that you had such a good time with your friend, Valentine. I almost wrote “blogging friend”, but that’s not right, is it? That sounds limiting while what you described was anything but limiting.
    I hope you have a great week back with your family and that you enjoying going into work every day!

    • January 23, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      The rockin’ colleague I described will be here this week, so I’m counting on a great week. It’s so awesome to have so much to look forward to in the weeks and months ahead!

      I was still thinking of Valentine as my “blogging friend” before we met. Afterward, I’d stricken the “blogging” bit from it. I’m so glad for how blogging friends become through-and-through friends! But for that, I’d not have met my now-husband. 🙂

  3. January 23, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    The minute you wrote and said you would be in Texas, I knew I would drive down the road a bit to see you! I was thankful you would be in my favorite of all towns.

    Are you saying I talk funny? <3<3<3

    I so loved meeting you face to face and being able to finally confirm you were every single thing I envisioned! Sharing a meal at my all time favorite place, well it was very good very soothing somehow. Felt just right, knowing I had in a weird way shared my history with someone (actually two someones) I admired and loved. That was incredibly awesome.

    If we were having coffee right now I would tell you, if you come back to Texas I would make the drive again!

    • January 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      Talk funny? How so? I didn’t think so! I just thought how interesting it is that though you often “read” passionate here, it’s all the more pronounced (and invigorating!) in living color. 😀

      I am and will remain forever glad you made that drive. ♥

    • January 23, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Oh, wait! WP’s notification feature only showed like 1/3 of your comment! Let me read the rest now. :p

    • January 23, 2016 at 4:15 pm

      Okay, now that I’ve read it …

      Anthony’s been to San Antonio before. He liked it! It sounds like there’s a good chance I could talk him into visiting with me in the future. In that case, I’d book an extra day or two and head up your way with the boys.

      You, too, were everything I’d envisioned but somehow (impossibly?!) even more awesome and inspiring. I wish I had more time but was glad for every moment I got.

      And now, now J is asking for “mo trucku” while combing his hair with a fork. I think I’d better get him some truck videos. I also am, based on this, even more confident he would really, really enjoy his own trip to San Antonio … and beyond. 😉

      • January 23, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        OH! Oh Yes! Come to Dallas, we will go to Ft Worth, a wonderful town. We will see the Steers and ride the train from Grapevine.

        You can stay with me, I have plenty of space! I make you southern food for as many days as you are here.

  4. January 23, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    I haven’t seen gas prices that low in years! I’m also in California in the bay area so I feel your pain.

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      I just paid less than $30 for a tank of gas a couple of days ago! I could sure get used to that, but know I’d better not. :p

  5. January 23, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    So heart warming. Gratitude for the simple things with monumental impact. 😊

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:42 pm

      Indeed! Of the many turning points in my life, the one that shines brightest in memory is when I went from seeing everything I didn’t have to everything I did. Everything changed with that one “little” internal change. 🙂

      • February 1, 2016 at 11:45 pm

        Beautiful, illuminating Reflection. Gratitude, our priceless tool of greatness.

  6. January 23, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I can’t believe y’all’s gas is so high! Ours is $1.48 now. Glad you had a safe trip. 🙂

  7. January 24, 2016 at 12:27 am

    Believe me, you don’t want to move to Texas. I lived in Houston for most of my life and I still don’t know how I survived the 9-month long summers and the excessive humidity. Basically, you’re stuck inside with the air conditioning for most of the year. I also lived in Austin for a couple of years, which I think is the prettiest city in Texas because of the carpet of bluebonnets covering the sides of the freeway. But when I lived in California for a short time, they made fun of my accent. 🙂

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:44 pm

      Ugh, humidity! I moved to Japan at peak annual humidity. I’d try drying off after a shower and it just wouldn’t work. That lasted only a few weeks and I didn’t love it. Forget about enduring it for months, unless absolutely, positively necessary!

  8. January 24, 2016 at 9:53 am

    Enjoy your description of a new place but California has mistletoe in their trees in the desert.
    Have you ever been to the Northwest states. We are completely different from Southern California.

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:46 pm

      I’m actually a native Eugenean! Right now, I’m having one of my periodic evenings of really, really wishing I were there right now. I love SoCal through and through … but sometimes–like right now–the sunlight seems so bright and loud, leaving me missing the quiet greens and grays of “my” Oregon.

  9. January 24, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    Texas is sooooo different from L.A. When I took my kids there to visit my grandmother, every time someone said “y’all” they would crack up! Of course, after two weeks there, they arrived back home in L.A. saying “y’all” very naturally and having their friends laugh at them!

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:47 pm

      Hee. I say y’all when doing otherwise feels too formal, so it was delightful going somewhere where no one bats an eyelash at it. 😀

  10. January 25, 2016 at 11:06 am

    I had a meeting the other day with some folks from up North, and one of the first things they mentioned was that they hadn’t seen anyone with a gun yet! 🙂 Man I love Texas!

    • January 29, 2016 at 11:49 pm

      My unmet expectation every other person would be open carrying served as a great reminder to me how frequency of representation (in media, here) doesn’t necessarily correlate with frequency of actual event. 🙂

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