The flight from JFK-->HOU was uneventful. The weather was pretty crummy; when we landed it was totally gray. I was getting nervous to finally be back in Texas and real life. I got off the plane quickly and headed out. I wasn't sure where my friend Nici was going to meet me, and I didn't have a cell phone. I got to baggage claim and still I didn't see her, so I just waited and collected my two suitcases. I was missing the FREE luggage carts at Incheon airport; Americans and Europeans are greedy and charge way too much to use those things!
Finally I made my way haphazardly out to the car pick-up area. A man waiting for his ride saw me struggling and asked to help. I told him no thanks, since I didn't even know where my ride was. He offered his phone for me to call her, and I gratefully accepted. I've definitely depended on the generosity of others throughout this trip, and people generally don't mind helping you out, I've found.
When I got ahold of Nici, she was making her way through the car pick-up area. I spotted her and gave the phone back to the man. She pulled up and welcomed me home. It was great to be back with friends in America! I loaded my suitcases in her Passat and we headed to pick up my car.
During my parents' move, my Acura had broken down and needed to stay in Houston for repairs. By the time it was done, my parents had moved and it was stuck in town. The repair guys had kept it for a few months and I was heading to pick it up. Just riding with Nici in Houston traffic reminded me how grateful I'd been to NOT drive the last year. It wasn't too bad, but the sheer intensity of navigating multi-lane highways was harrowing.
When we got to my car, I noticed it was in a bit worse shape (physically) with some scratches on the hood and other areas. But, the place it had stayed the past 3 months hadn't charged us to hold it, so I guess the scratches are the price I paid... We transferred my luggage to my car, then headed to Nici's apartment on the other side of Houston. I followed her, but even so, I think I managed very well in my first experience driving in the states once again. After a quick stop at her apartment to freshen up, we headed to Los Cucos Mexican restaurant for my first meal. I needed chips and queso with a big margarita!! So, that's what we had. It was delicious, but I have to admit my taste buds were a bit in shock so I probably didn't enjoy it as much as I wanted to. My body was probably still adjusting to the time zone (NYC weekend hadn't given me much time to get over jet lag).
After our dinner, we headed back to her apartment and hung out and chatted until I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer and fell asleep.
The next day few days I had a lot on my plate: getting my hair cut and highlighted, buying a new iPhone5S, getting a facial with my ZTA Little Katie, going shopping, having lunch with a few different friends, and more.
On Wednesday, however, I planned a happy hour for anyone who wanted to come by to see me. I simply didn't have time to see everyone individually, so this was the best option. It ended up being awesome with a pretty big turn out. A lot of my friends showed up, and I think everyone had a good time. Stephanie A. and I played Bar Olympics and won second place which was a $25 gift certificate to the bar we were at. I stayed with Jessica A. that night and she drove us home. It was a blast and I had a wonderful time seeing all my friends.
The following day, Jessica and I did some shopping then met up with Stephanie A. and her boyfriend Mike for dinner and to see the premiere of Catching Fire. It was soooo good!!!
All in all, Houston was a great time and I was happy to spend time with my friends. It was a whirlwind, though, and before I knew it I was heading to Austin to visit Romeo and meet his family. My trip was winding down with only two cities and a week and a half before I would rest my weary head in my own bed. Almost there!!