Well, we did it. We made it to and back from Austin.
Last week we headed there to celebrate our second anniversary in the city we spent our honeymoon.
And it was, in a word, blissful.
In more words it was…
exploring the city
hikes (made for hand holding)
donuts (made for growing boys and girls)
too much pizza
It really was a dream escape. ‘Cause, as it turns out, my dream is monster breakfasts, afternoons with a good book, decadent dinners, and getting to sleep by 9.
Yes; I know that makes me sound ancient. (And I didn’t even mention the wicker rocking chairs on the front porch of our cabin.)
But I don’t care. I’m learning to embrace my inner librarian. Which is to say, I’m learning to accept how much I crave peace. And quiet. In order to maintain some semblance of balance in life.
Give me raucous nights out on the town sure, particularly if they end in Gourdough’s donuts, and streets lined with Christmas lights.
Just make sure you then give me a good morning of rest. To re-gather my thoughts (always with the thoughts, this one). And make my latte the biggest you’ve got.
Caffeine and I are soul mates. That’s something else settled by this trip.
As anyone who has ever traveled knows, the hardest part of vacation is always the coming back.
Yes, you’re tired of low-pressure hotel showers.
And you’re look forward to sleeping in your own (less laundered) bed.
But that also means repacking a car you feel like you just climbed out of (if it’s a roadtrip, which mine always are).
And it means getting home with tired legs, and giant bags filled with dirty clothes.
Oh, the dirty clothes. :/
I’m utterly convinced jetlag isn’t restricted to cross-continent flights.
Surely a one-stop trip from Austin to Dallas (hello kolaches!) will induce it too.
I should tell you, we spent Sunday night at this lovely café in charming Bee Cave. It’s a spot we first discovered last year, when the idea to return to Austin each anniversary (life permitting) dawned on us.
We both fell in love with its Argentinian food, and I swooned over its charming use of chandliers.
And we determined then and there we’d make it back, if at all possible, for one big, blow-out meal each anniversary.
Sunday night was that night.
Why yes, we would love to start with an appetizer.
Prosciutto wrapped shrimp, don’t mind if we do.
Fancy chicken empanada with chimchurri sauce? Absolutely.
Dinner plates the size of small ships? We got this.
Pass up dessert? Just because I’m barreled over with stomach pains?
As a life rule I do not pass up crème brulee.
And when you tell me the special of the day is Madagascar Vanilla Bean, I won’t even fake hesitation.
Yes. With coffee.
I will leave here miserable, but happy.
And we did.
And it was glorious.
And then, the next morning we had to drive home.
Which brings us back to Monday, our actual anniversary.
Mikael and I shared one long hug in the kitchen, trying to bask in that last little bit of vacation smell on one another, before…
Dishes. Laundry. Life set in.
Pesky, stupid life. What a way to ruin a perfectly good vacation.
That night it was a take-out picnic on the living room floor, in PJ’s.
I set a candle out for good measure, it was our anniversary afterall.
But at that point we were no longer the carefree, this is our anniversary vacation, couple.
We were just two happily married, utterly exhausted people, preparing themselves for the battle that is reentering the real world.
Mikael’s first day back at work was long, cold and rainy.
My first day back was shock and horror. (Did I mention I grade papers for a living?)
But this morning, day two, things feel a bit more natural.
Mikael headed to work just a bit after 7, and since I got up with him (or a few minutes after, if I’m honest) I had two extra hours to kill before I “clocked in” (at my home office).
So instead of rushing to plop down in front of my computer I got to savor the morning instead.
I made coffee on the stovetop, and toast (so exotic, I know).
Then I sat down with my makeshift breakfast, carefully created from items that mean so much to me.
Perfectly pinkish-purple jelly, a gift from a sweet girl who made it for us (not child labor, but a friend’s kid).
The lagoon-ish blue coffee mug (bowl) I swooped up for 50 cents at a thrift store on South Congress, my favorite Austin street.
Nearby, the novel that came highly recommended by a bookstore owner in Marble Falls. She insisted it met my only two requirements for vacation reading.
1.) It has to be fun, i.e. not depressing (like so much of what I read last year).
2.) It has to be easy to read, meaning no Shakespearian dialogue. My brain needs breaks as much as my body. No wading through Old English on vacation.
She was right too. The book was excellent. I finished it in my familiar reading chair, back home, on Monday.
In a way the book helped cushion my reentry into the real world.
Its characters were like links to my vacation-self, so short-lived.
They also served as welcome reminders that a book can transport me to places our car (and vacation days) can’t possibly take us.
They can let me live whole other lives, during twenty-minute coffee breaks.
They can send me to faraway lands, on exotic adventures, and traveling through time and space.
And on days when life seems to much to handle, they can offer a much-needed (less costly) escape.
Oh the power of words.
It really is quite remarkable.
I really don’t know what I’m trying to say in this meandering mess of a post.
Eat doughnuts the size of your head.
Train yourself to enjoy the little things, like waffle fries in stretchy pants.
Or latte mugs and slow mornings.
Embrace your quirks, like your inability to spend $25 on a souvenir t-shirt, but your refusal to pass up $9, glorified custard.
Love the one you’re with, so long as that person is your spouse.
No one needs a vacation more than the person who just returned.
Always stop to smell the kolaches.
Don’t listen to comedy radio when you’re more than 30 miles from the next clean pitstop (there were some stressful moments there).
Rocking chairs aren’t just for senior citizens.
Embrace what makes you happy.
All things in moderation.
I think all I really want to say (maybe need to say) is I’m back.
It was so nice to have the break.
I can’t fully express how much I needed it.
But I missed this.
Clacking away on a keyboard.
Clearing my head, one word at a time.
This is home for me.
And it’s good to be back.