(Continued from ‘Travel Buddies…Pt.2)….
We grabbed some dinner at chick-fil-a before heading to my cousins house for the night. The next day my brother and his wife left to head back to Tulsa and the rest of us girls took a day trip to Waco to see the Fixer-Upper phenomenon of the Magnolia Market. We had some great food, coffee, and ice cream from the local shops in Waco.
On the way back we stopped at the mall to do some shopping ( nothing says ‘Welcome back to the US’ than a trip to mall the first day). Mom was staying in Dallas for a business conference so we shopped for some new stylish business clothes.
That evening, my Aunt and Uncle took us all out to Mexican food where we met the rest of our cousins (who I haven’t seen since our wedding). It was so nice visiting with them and eating great Mexican food!
Funny side-story: In Tanzania, we are never ever ID’d for drinks. Although technically the drinking age here is 18, they never check ID. I don’t remember the last time I was ID’d for a drink. So we get to this Mexican restaurant and my cousins and sister all ordered these delicious slushy cocktails….I left my ID at my cousins house because it didn’t even cross my mind that I would need it for a drink! haha. I was able to sneak one sip of my cousins drink and it was soooo good! I was so bummed I couldn’t order one for myself! haha. Oh well. Welcome back to America.
The following day (after a generous breakfast of delicious bagels, cream cheese, fresh coffee and fruit) we said goodbye and went on our way. We dropped mom off at her conference and made a ‘quick’ stop at IKEA (because sadly we don’t have one in Oklahoma). After shopping our brains out we ate a quick lunch before hitting the road back to Tulsa.
Our grandparents live in Oklahoma City, which is between Dallas and Tulsa. We had dinner and a nice visit with them (they were coming to Tulsa the following week where we would spend more time with them). Arriving in Tulsa, we were greeted at the house by my Dad and older brother.
My time in Tulsa was filled with local coffee shops, downtown art crawls, food trucks, visiting with my family, going to bridal showers, helping (as much as I could) with wedding preparations for my sister, and of course organizing and planning the bachelorette party with my two youngest sisters. Oh yea, and lots and lots of shopping. Too much shopping.
The stereotypical perspective most people have is that I would love all the shopping. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy shopping, but don’t enjoy spending money. The fun of looking for new things to wear, decorate with, or give as gifts is taken away when its a necessary chore of buying things we cant get in Tanzania to bring back with us. This involves Costco trips, general toiletries supplies (razors, shampoo, face wash, moisturizers, favorite brands of toothpaste and other beauty products). Not to mention stocking up on ‘feminine products’ (if you know what I mean) to last the whole year or more. Trying to think ahead and buy Christmas and birthday presents for my husband when its only June. Do we need more batteries? What kind? Should we go ahead and update our already outdated iPhones because we wont be able to for at least another year? Should we buy more socks now even though what we have are still good…will they last through another year of hand washing, wringing and hanging in the harsh African sun? Do we have enough sunscreen to last another whole year of working/walking in the African sun and holiday trips to the beach?
Its a total mind – mess.
If you’ve seen me back home and think ‘all she does is shop the whole time’…you’re probably right, but don’t judge! Its not as leisurely, carefree and waste of money as you might think! haha. Of course there are definitely things we can live without. But there is a healthy difference of ‘living without’ and ‘missing out for no reason’.
So the truth is, when Im back in the States I really don’t enjoy shopping that much because it is so stressful and draining to think through everything. And what if we forget to buy something? We have to hope and cross our fingers that someone from the family will be coming to Tanzania at some point in time during the next year.
Alright, back to main part of my post. Tulsa was great. Family was great. I missed Colton the whole time. He arrived on the 25th of June, the day after his birthday. We were so thankful it worked out for his sister and brother-in-law to drive up from Houston, pick him up in Dallas, and drive up to Tulsa. They stayed for a couple of days before driving back to Houston. Colton stayed in Tulsa for the remainder of the trip. My younger brother’s birthday was on the 27th so we had a small birthday celebration at his farm to honor him and Colton.
The bachelorette party was the night before Colton arrived and was a big success.
The rest of the days were spent with the bride and groom-to-be (who is pretty awesome) and preparing for the Big Day.
The wedding took place downtown Tulsa at a modern yet rustic venue. Perfect for my sister and her husband. The florists did a beautiful job with flowers, friends and family came from all over to help set and decorate, and the bride herself made the wedding and grooms cake. What kind of baker would she be if she didn’t make her own ‘FlouredRoses’ wedding cake?? Needless to say it was perfect.
The bride, my younger sister, was absolutely stunning. Its always kind of weird to see your younger siblings getting married…I always remember them as little kids. Time goes by so fast. Especially when you’re not around to see it happen.
So there she was, my little sister all grown up, mature, elegant, beautiful, successful, and about to marry an amazing man. I couldn’t have been more proud of her! We all got ready in the back room. Photos were taken and music began. Holding back tears as I stood up front watching the bride be escorted by our father, who has always been there for us, walking towards her future husband who will always be there for her in the days ahead, is pretty difficult!
It was a beautiful ceremony and such a fun reception. So many friends and family came to celebrate the special union.
As the night went on and drew closer to the bride and groom departing for their honeymoon the emotion came over me. I stood there watching her dancing, laughing and loving her friends and husband I had to fight back tears, again (I’ve always been kind of emotional…but leave it to moving and living overseas to really bring out the emotions!). We were flying back to TZ before they would return from their honeymoon. Our entire trip was leading up to this moment. We pulled them aside, hugged, fought back tears, and said our congratulations and goodbyes. Shortly after we said goodbye they departed with a send off of sparklers and cheers.
After they left everyone who was still around pitched in to clean up and tear down what had been put up. Such an amazing crowd of friends and family. The younger crowd (being myself and Colton along with friends and cousins from our age range) went across the street to a sweet little ‘coffee shop by day, bar by night’. It was so fun hanging out with old friends, cousins, and new friends. It was a perfect end to a perfect wedding.
The next day was full of visiting with out-of-town cousins and family. Catching up on old times, and new ones. Our grandpa treated the whole family to Hide-Away Pizza – an Oklahoma tradition and favorite.
We had one day left for last minute shopping and visiting before the 4th of July.
The 4th was an all day event at my brother and his wife’s farm. Colton roasted a pig and everyone pitched in with different desserts, sides, and mains. The celebration was so much fun.
Mom and my youngest sisters drove us early the next morning to the Dallas airport for our afternoon flight. The final round of goodbyes were said. We arrived pretty early for our flight but were able to find a nice place to post up. Drinks and snacks were had while we waited for the call that would take us to our next adventure…the land of Biergartens, pretzels, and lederhosen….Germany!
I am always so amazed and overwhelmed by how blessed we are with family and friends. The blessing of being able to financially afford to both fly back for my sisters wedding, as well as other siblings wedding in the past. The blessing of not missing flights, protection and peace while traveling so much. The blessing of being able to say goodbye with a full heart knowing the love of family is always there.
Enjoy all the fun pics from the trip!