2020 Travels and Things (Part 2)

Hi friends! As promised, here is part 2 of my 2020 wrap-up. I hope you enjoy!

April

April was one of the slowest months I experienced in 2020. Places were shut down, and although some folks were taking advantage of the ridiculously cheap flights, I was nestled in my couch at home. My friend Kenzie was staying with me at the time, as her lease ended in April, and mine ended in May. To give her some time to look at places that would best fit her new needs (new job, new school), it was easier for her to crash at my place.

Most of our days were filled with snacks, the cats, and watching new T.V. shows. During this time, I watched the rest of Breaking Bad (which was absolutely fantastic), and dabbled in other shows I was interested in. To be honest, becoming interested in any television show or movie is difficult for me. I found myself resorting back to Jeopardy a lot, which is objectively my favorite show.

My friend Dalon stopped by a few times, as well as my friend Kase. Kenzie was always over (obviously), and so was Jose, so it was nice that we kinda isolated together and weren’t alone. To pass time, Jose and I started on a working out streak and would jog around my apartment complex multiple times a week. (I am a terrible runner, and running even half a mile takes me OUT).

One night, Jose’s sister Claudia took us back to their old apartment complex, where we tried to swim in one of the pools. It was way too cold, and I didn’t even have on proper swim gear anyway. At least we got pics for the gram, I guess.

May

MUCH more adventurous than the previous month, May started off on an excellent note with getting approved for a new townhome! I was soo ready to leave my old place. Although it was a fun and affordable little area, I made the mistake of not getting an apartment with laundry machines, PLUS I was on a third floor walk up. Grocery hauls were the worst, going out in rain or cold to have clean clothes was terrible, and my complex was notorious for towing cars- seriously, even *I* was towed from my own complex more than once. Screw that.

On the day that Jose and I were literally headed to drop off the security deposit to the leasing management, we found BABY KITTENS under a car in my complex parking lot!! We found four in total- two black kitties, a tabby, and a tuxedo. We searched around for the mommy cat, with no luck. While we were worried about where the mom cat could be, we were more worried about getting the babies out from under a car and inside away from the super hot Texas sun. We gathered all four of them up and rushed back upstairs and woke Kenzie up, who was once a vet tech. Safe to say we all fell in love!

We took the kitties to the vet, where they were examined and given de-worming treatment. The vet told us that the kittens were around 2 weeks old, and super fragile. We followed their instructions and bought kitten formula powder and bottles, and gave them a big box to sleep in with a heating pad. We all three took turns caring for the little ones, because they had to be fed every 2 hours around the clock. They were so young, that we had to help them go potty too- something usually momma cat does for them. It was very tiring but oh-so worth it. They were the most precious little things, and caring for them was an absolute joy. Seeing them grow (so fast!), play together, and start to adventure into big-kitty territory was sooo precious. After the kittens were old enough, my good friend Taylor adopted the Tuxedo baby and named him Jasper, while my other friend Calvin took the Tabby and named him Sora. We were left with the two black kitties, only one of which was a girl. I particularly loved her, who I named Rosie, because she was the runt of the group and very small.

Soon after we had found the kitties, Jose and I took a road trip to south Texas with his sister and their cousin, Angel. (We were able to organize Jose’s brother taking the cats for the time we were away, because Kenzie was working while we were gone.) Remember how I said I hate road trips? Yeah, this trip got me HELL-TO-THE-NO fucked UP. The trip ONE WAY from Dallas to McAllen is 9 hours, including minimal restroom breaks. I literally wanted to die the entire trip there (and back). I know, I’m the worst complainer alive probably, but I really did feel like it was that insufferable. Obviously being with Jose, Claudia, and Angel was super fun, but the act of sitting in a car for so long nearly made me cry. They claim it’s because I’m a white girl, which is probably a decent explanation…

Anyway, we left Dallas around 1am (I know, we are insane), and trekked through the night to our hotel on South Padre Island. Our plan was to stay there for two nights, enjoy the beach life, and travel the short distance over to McAllen area where their family and cousins live during our days there. The first day there, we napped for a bit in the morning before heading out to the beach- which, amazingly, was WALKING distance from our hotel. Jose and I stayed out there longer than Claudia and Angel, who left the beach after an hour or so in search of some fast food. I absolutely love the beach, so staying out for hours in the water is usually no problem for me! Luckily, Jose is the same, so we had lots of fun being outdoors with the beach very sparsely populated.

The only issue that occured from the beach was getting HELLA sunburnt. I reapplied sunscreen two or three times, but I guess my light skin was weak and couldn’t hold up a fight against Texas sun. Jose was burnt badly too, but his stubborn ass didn’t reapply sunscreen despite my efforts, so that one is on him… Sunburnt and hurting, we drove out to visit their family later that day. No one had been exposed to the virus and everyone had been wearing masks, so we felt safe seeing a few people at the time. His aunts fed us tamales and one of them graciously cut up some fresh aloe-vera plant for Jose and I to use on our skin. She also gifted us a plant to take home, which now is HUGE and resides outside in our backyard.

We slept at the hotel that night, then we headed home in the morning. It was really cool being so close to the Mexico border, so hopefully the next time I go down to south Texas I will have my passport and could maybe explore. (Also, whenever Covid is at rest…)

On May 15th, we moved into the new townhouse in a much better part of Dallas. It was a beautiful, 2 bed 2.5 bath house that was two stories! It also came equipped with a new washer and dryer setup. I love the location, and our gated community feels a lot safer compared to my previous apartment. Also, this location DOESN’T tow, so now my friends, family and I can rest in PEACE knowing none of our vehicles will be gone in the morning.

A while after moving into our new place, Rosie unfortunately passed away due to common kitten health problems. We did everything we could to save her, including multiple vet trips (and vet bills…) which proved to not help in the end. We buried her in our back yard, and planted a potted rose plant above her in memory. Instead of the other black kitten, Benito, going to a friend of ours, we decided to keep him for ourselves. He has grown up so much since summer-time, and is honestly a little asshole most days, but he keeps our household full of fun and entertains both us and Pocket and Princess.

June

June was an important time in history, with uproar around the world about the unjust murders of black men and women. Even my little, relatively conservative hometown in Texas had people who cared and wanted change to happen. The town hosted a peaceful protest, escorted by our city police that made a speech before the start of the protest/march. They discussed ways the department would be making changes and improving their training and expectations for their police officers, especially around the topic of police brutality and abuse of power. After the speakers, the protesters (including myself, Jose, and our friend Eddy) marched across a shut-down highway. We all stopped at the end of the street and sat in silence for seven minutes and forty six seconds, the same amount of time that officer Chauvin had his knee on the neck of George Floyd. It was a very pleasant protest experience, and I wish I had been able to attend more.

Later that month, Jose and I had a pool day with our friend Summer. It was super nice to be out in the sun, drinking beers and listening to music. We also grilled carne asada, and brought ingredients to make corn tortilla tacos for lunch. Just a few days after, we took a rendezvous trip down to Galveston Island just to get out of the city. We drove out in the middle of the night, so we arrived at the beachside in time to see the beautiful sunrise. We walked down the shore as the sunrose, with no one else on the beach except fishermen wading out in the water. We actually saw a small shark on the sand, which likely belonged to a fisherman! We stayed for one night at a cheap Air BnB, and got boba on our way back home to Dallas. If you can’t tell, both Jose and I are water signs and tend to be at peace around the ocean. Driving down to the beach is definitely our go-to move whenever we are depressed or sad.

The weekend of June 18th, my mom, sister and I took a special girls trip to Austin and Fredericksburg to celebrate life after my depression and suicide attempt. We drove into Fredericksburg on our first day, and explored the small little town and all it’s downtown shops. Despite the smaller crowds, the town has a super cool policy that allows folks to purchase alcohol and walk around the downtown square with it. So, my mom and I bought some beers and sipped on them while we explored. We stopped by a sweets store and munched on some goodies, and my sister and mother found some cute items at some boutiques. After the sun began to set, we got back in the car and headed out for our hotel in Austin.

The next morning, we rented out paddleboards at the Colorado River that goes through the heart of the city. I had paddleboarded before, but it was the first time for my mom and sister. We had a lot of fun on the water, of course with sunglasses and SPF in hand. The weather was beautiful, and the river cuts through some amazing scenery in Austin! Up the river are great views of the city and its architecture, while the other direction is filled with trees and greenery. My mom especially loves outdoor activities, and she was super happy that all three of us did this together.

After our paddleboard session, we stopped by a delicious food spot down the street for some yummy Tex-Mex fare. The city of Austin is known for it’s fantastic food scene, so this spot definitely did not disappoint. Afterwards, we walked around a little hidden market near the restaurant and all three got coffees at a hole-in-the-wall coffeeshop. We had a three hour ride ahead of us, so we left Austin relatively early so that we could get home with enough time to enjoy the evening that night. The trip was really fun, although relatively stressful because pairing my mother, sister, and I together in a car for too long kidna creates chaos. I love them though!

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