On New Year's eve, I flew to Houston to be with Victor and his family for a few days, visit with my beloved friends, and give my final report to my Sponsor Rotary Club, who financed and supported my travels in South Africa last year.
Vic and I are getting pretty good at this long-distance thing... and I've found the perks... the biggest one is that reuniting is AMAZING. While I was in town, we took an afternoon and walked around Rice Universitity's campus, just like old times. It was so surreal to be back on campus, and it brought back a wave of memories and nostalgia.
Here are Lanese and Elisa - 3/4 of our Bible study group (Come to think of it, I'm not sure that we ever studied the Bible, but that's a side point)
We had an impromptu salsa night, and met up with another set of Rice friends. This is Jean-mark and Suzanna, such an adorable couple. Kudos to Vic on taking this picture, it is one of my favorites.
Here I am waving my hands around and giving my Rotary Presentation. It was one of the first times that I gave one without a powerpoint, so I winging my talk (and the more I wing, the more I wave, just ask my former students). My club, the Galleria Area Rotary Club, is one of the most gracious I have ever been to, and giving my presentation there was a reminder to me of their amazing support and dedication. They literally changed my life by sponsoring me to go to South Africa, and I am forever indebted to them and grateful for them.
More reunions ensued the rest of the trip. This is Jen, one of my old roommates and one of my heroes.Elisa and I went to Ecclesia together. It was both of our first week back, as Elisa just returned from Kenya a few days before I got to Houston.
And this is one of the reasons I love Ecclesia.
Vic's best friend, Jose-Miguel, had a birthday while I was in town. This is JM and his wonderful girlfriend Alesha at the sushi restaraunt where we celebrated.
After dinner we went to hear Andy Vargas play. Andy is the singer for Santana.
Most of my time in Houston was centered around food. I had an entire list of meals that needed taken care of, one of which were GIANT blueberry pancakes at Buffalo Grille. Here are the remains:
I shared the pancake experience with three of my dearest (who you may recognize from pictures from South Africa - they came to visit in June). Kate and Rachael:
And, of course, the Best Ever herself, Pearsy:
We left the pancakes and went over to Rach's house to play Rock band (more on that later). We invited along Victor and one of his friends Bonnie (whom I LOVE), and it turned into a full on randomly amazingly fun day/evening event. Here are Pears and Rarthur jamming hardcore at Rarth's house. Watch out American Idol.
Victor rocked it out too:
Here's the whole group after dinner that night.