Friday, January 09, 2009
20 Years and a River Walk
Current mood: nostalgic
This blog actually begins in 1989: When my family and I left Heidelberg, Germany to move back to the United States after 5 years on Patrick Henry Village. I had just finished 7th grade, and I had 4 best friends. Quiana Weaver, who I lost touch with a year later when her family also moved away from Germany. Denise Archard, who I lost touch with at the end of 10th grade when my family moved away from Virginia. Rae Hanson, who I’d lost touch with shortly after leaving Germany,but found again on Facebook. And Teresa Spohn, who was my longest pen-pal from 8th grade through high school, then with the popularity of the internet, via email from then on. I’ve known her since 6thgrade. And hadn’t seen her in person since the day my family left in 1989.
Well, this Christmas, when we decided to go visit my mother-in-law in Texas, Teresa and I realized we’d only be about 2 ½ hours away from each other! She’s currently living just outside of San Antonio. So we decided my family and I would drive down to San Antonio on the Monday after Christmas, give us a chance to catch up and for her to meet my family.
Well….that was the plan right up to the point when we woke up on Monday morning at 6 am... and Mark was sick as a dog and the boys had the sniffles.
But we wouldn’t have a chance like this again, and it’d already been -20- years since the last time we saw each other! So I called Teresa at an ungodly early hour and let her know my family couldn’t come with me, but if she didn’t mind, I’d be headed down by myself. She made sure I had proper directions, and my father in law lent me the use of his vehicle and my mother in law’s gps. I’m going to say right now that gps is just plain-awesome- ! It’s like having printed out directions that talk to you (lol).
I arrived at her house ½ an hour earlier than anticipated,after having left ½ an hour later than I’d planned. (lol) I’d wanted to make sure my boys were fed and dressed and ready for the day to make it easier for my father in law to watch them and to give my husband a chance to sleep in longer and get better. I also wanted to make sure we got Grandmother taken care of before I was gone for the day. And I’d forgotten to eat breakfast myself, so I stopped at a chocolate shop on the way for peanut butter fudge, malted milk balls, chocolate almond bark, and chocolate almond clusters. I ate a small piece of each and saved the rest to bring back for Mark.
I couldn’t believe how TALL Teresa has gotten since 6thgrade (lol). 20 years ago, we were a lot closer in height (; …Of course, 20 years ago, we were also a lot closer in size. She still has a lean willowy figure, and I, well, don’t. (lol) It was also interesting to hear how her voice has changed! I think that threw me off the most at first,because we chat on line all the time, and the sound of her voice in my memory while I’m reading what she types doesn’t sound anything like her actual voice(lol).
Her parent’s house is really nice—particularly the gardens! Her mother has a –serious-green thumb! And I have to admit to be a little envious—Teresa and her family live in an area with ready access to German grocery supplies! But it was nice to see another house decorated with some of the German Christmas decorations I remember from my youth (:
After a quick tour, we headed to a Bill Miller’s forlunch. They make great sweet tea,-awesome- hashbrowns, and pretty good barbeque (: But what I enjoyed most was the getting to visit with Teresa. I haven’t had many opportunities of just going out to lunch with a girl friend in the last… well…ever (lol). I can count the number of times I’ve gotten to on one hand, and 3 of them have been in the last 2 years(;
After lunch, we got back in her car and she took us into San Antonio. Now, I’m not a big fan of Texas in general—I prefer places with more water, more trees, more green, and less flat,but San Antonio is –lovely-. I’d be willing to make an exception to my Texas opinion for San Antonio! There’s so much going on there!
She parked us in the tourist mall parking garage, and we passed through a lovely mall. It was interesting to realize it was the first time I’ve been down an escalator in almost 2 years! Then we walked outside, practically into the Alamo. We didn’t actually go in though—there was a line that snaked around the edge of the building. But we got to have our picture taken around some of the historical signs and see some of the overviews of the Alamo. And of course, I got a picture of the front that everyone recognizes AS the Alamo (lol). Then we crossed the street and saw a lovely tribute statue. And went into a DeSol store. Seriously, if you haven’t been, I recommend them! I bought each of my boys and myself t-shirts that are white with a black lined drawing on them when you’re inside—and become bright and colorful when they’re out in the sun! I also got them each a gecko keychain and Teresa and I seahorse ones (:
Then we went for a walk on the River Walk. Oh my goodness! Typically, when I think of historical preservation societies, I remember the Natchitoches name for them: The Hysterical Society. But the ladies who insisted on preserving the River Walk MADE my experience in San Antonio! I am SO glad Teresa took me on it! Not only is it lovely, and bustling with restaurants and hotels—but it’s QUIET. You wouldn’t realize that the busy roads are just up and on the other side of all those buildings! And the trees!! There were trees and green everywhere! And the walk itself was lovely! I took so many pictures, I fair screamed, “TOURIST!!” (lol). And Teresa, having been along the walk before was kind enough to play tour guide.
We came to the bridge that signifies the end of the horseshoe shape, and kept walking—and I’m glad we did! We got to see some amazing mosaic art along the way. My current MySpace picture is by one of those mosaics. And I realized I was a little bit glad my guys couldn’t have come. We couldn’t have taken such a long walk with them, without Mark and I having to carry them at some point (lol). And I was completely pleased that I didn’t get tired at all (: We turned around and walked back to the other end of the horse shoe in order to get on a boat ferry tour.
We were hardly in line longer than it took to purchase our tickets before we were on one of the boats! There happened to be an opening for 2 people just as we got in the line to get on the boats, and although we were at the very end of that line, we were the only 2 person group!
This is the part where I remember all the purple shirts andall the yellow and black shirts as well. (LOL) Missouri and Northwestern were having a game and there were students/ fans ALL OVER the river walk—including on our boat (lol). We’d be passing by a large group of either color on the river walk and they’d call out to the people on our boat, who would call back in return(: Real sports fans!!!
Teresa and I even got our picture taken together by the people sitting across from us on the boat. I was amazed at how readily complete strangers would take pictures for us (: And we kept getting the same joke about how they didn’t charge to do it (lol).
Took so many more tourist photos while on the bus and enjoyed the slightly corny jokes of our tour guide (; But when we got to the end of the ride, I’d had enough and was ready to head back to her house. It’d already been a long day, and I needed to be able to head home by 4 so I could be back to my mother in law’s house before dark.
We stopped back at her parent’s house and I got to see her Mom again—and I have to say, I can only HOPE to look that good when I’m in my50s!!! She looked like she could have been in her 30s like us!! And she makes absolutely divine tiramisu!! I’ve never had it homemade before, and never liked what I’ve had otherwise, but this was something I’m going to need to beg the recipe for!
Shortly after that, it was time to get ready to go. Teresa and I hugged as I hopped back into the truck. And we’ve promised it won’t be ANOTHER 20 years before we see each other in person again (: