Monday, March 17, 2014

States Visit #2: Louisiana

Actual date of this event: 3-7 March

We planned our visit for early March for two reasons: 1.) It was Mardi Gras, so the majority of the family would have some time off of work and school during our visit allowing us to spend more time with them, and 2.) It was crawfish season! While in Louisiana, we got to spend more time with some of our family than we expected, but we didn't get to see a few people at all. We were definitely bummed about it, but we know that even people who live in the same country don't get to see their families every year, so it isn't abnormal, I guess? That's not an excuse, and we don't default to that though. We try to see everyone, but it doesn't always work out :-( Fortunately, for the folks we did see, we spent more of our time hanging out at the house rather than running around town like we did in Houston. We got to relax, and play, and eat and drink. Have you been to Louisiana? It's all about the eating and drinking. We love it!
{I'm not sure what is going on with my hair here????}

-were practically greeted with a cold Michelob Ultra (at 2pm... on a Monday... we were the last to start drinking in case you are wondering) by Luke's mom, "first" sister, brother-in-law, two nephews, "third" sister, and "first" brother (have I ever told you that Luke is the oldest of seven?)
-played with the kiddos
-played with the kiddos
-ate Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (thanks for gumbo, Chase!)
-played with the kiddos
-hung out with some friends and other family members
-ate King Cake (yes, I had a piece)
That was Monday. So the next day was Mardi Gras! We:
-hibernated all day as the trees were iced over in 28*F temperatures until around 2pm when it started to melt, in the meantime, we
-played with the kiddos
-played with the kiddos
-went to DI's for crawfish (thanks for dinner, Julie!)
-played with the kiddos
-watched 12 Years A Slave
-ate King Cake ice cream (one of us had to giant bowls)
-were all pretty much in a food como and headed to bed pretty early
Ash Wednesday is back to reality day in Louisiana, we:
-played with the kiddos
-played with the kiddos
-played with the kiddos
-packed up and headed to Lake Charles to see Luke's dad, stepmom, "second" brother and "second" sister

-were the first ones to arrive as everyone else was at work or school, but they arrived soon after
-ate Shrimp Scampi (thank you, Sara and Andy!)
-ate a carbon copy of a Ruth's Chris Salad (thank you, Sara and Andy!)
-ate Steaks and asparagus (thank you, Sara and Andy!)
-ate Bread Pudding (thank you, Sara and Andy!) (seriously, best cooks ever!!!)
Food como once again, so on Thursday, we:
-slept in
-went to the mall and had me an Auntie Anne's pretzel (OMG sooooo gooooood!!)
-ate a Darrell's Special Po-Boy at Darrells'
-drove around in Lake Charles and gawked at the houses on the lake
-cracked open a cold one
-enjoyed the peace and quiet backyard along the river until everyone got home from work/school

-ate Chicken and Sausage Gumbo (thanks, Sara and Andy!)
-played ping pong on the kitchen island
Friday was departure day, so we :
-packed up our heavy bags (full of Sam's items)
-had lunch at Luna (thanks for lunch, Sara and Andy!)
-headed back to Houston to have one last Pappasitos meal by the airport where my whole family joined - they drove way out of the way just to come see us once more! (thanks everyone, and thanks for dinner dad!)
-discovered that we somehow purchased "extra leg room" seats originally (which were actually the cheapest option when I booked - weird??) and were slightly more comfortable in the overbooked flight back to London
-lastly, I got to watch The Book Thief which I was super excited about, but it wasn't anywhere near as good as the book (in fact, I felt it was quite different)
-got stuck on a stopped tube train for an hour on the way home, so it took us over 2.5 hours to get home (not cool TFL, not cool)

Even though our trip was short, we had a great time! We enjoyed our snuggles and playtime as much as possible! And due to all of the eating, Luke and I have become a bit too pudgy, so we are on the ├╝ber diet right now. We hate to say "see ya later" to everyone, but it isn't so bad when those words mean "in a couple of months". Plans have already been made and the talks have started of seeing a good number of our family members in the next few months on the European side, and its so comforting to know that it wont be long before we see them again!

Thank you, everyone, for all that you did to make our trip home a great one!

One US vs. UK difference that really stood out to me on this trip is bathroom privacy.
UK stalls: private little rooms with zero visibility from the outside
US stalls: half-inch to one-inch gap around the whole door, loads of visibility from the outside
I know that no one is looking in, but it's still very awkward.
(Thanks, Pam, for bringing this to my attention :-])

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