San Antonio

My cousin Sofia made me this welcome sign.

I’m all moved into my apartment, if not completely unpacked. Park Slope has a different vibe than Williamsburg, but I think I will like it here. I need to find a new jogging path now that I’m not living next to the running track. I’m starting to get oriented, as I took the subway to Target, Ikea, and Trade Joe’s today for supplies. I’ll post pictures of the new place later. Last Wednesday, I flew to San Antonio, Texas to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family and relatives. The trip to La Guardia from my apartment went smoothly and the car I’d requested showed up on time. Actually, it was two minutes late and the driver was really apologetic. I wish I could take cars more often. After a transfer in the fancy Dallas airport where you can use a credit card in the vending machines, I was landing in San Antonio and was greeted at the airport by my dad and brother. We then drove to my aunt, uncle, and three cousins’ house where I was formally welcomed by the above sign that Sofia made. The rest of my family only got their initials added at the top.

New part of the Riverwalk.

It was good to spend Thanksgiving in Texas, as I wasn’t able to come back to the States from France last year. It was such a nice change to be away from New York and the subway rides. I know I shouldn’t, but I do miss driving. I miss the ability to just drive anywhere you want, wherever you want. To have the freedom to drive all the way to Canada or Mexico if you wanted.

Fish installation at the Riverwalk.

That first night we walked along the newest section of the Riverwalk, where they had cool art installations under each overpass. I especially liked the above illuminated fish, which were suspended over the water. As the sun set we watched the bats fly out from under the bridge. Nature is something else I miss in New York. I remember a few weeks ago I was walking in Union Square and saw all these people gathered below a tree, flashing their cameras. I turned out there was a frazzled eagle perched there, feathers loose on its head. I feel lucky that I was able to grow up somewhere so close to nature that sometimes there would be a deer wandering in the street, a possum under the porch, or a fox at the tennis court.

Black Crowned Crane at the San Antonio Zoo.

The next day was Thanksgiving, and one of our family traditions is participating in a morning race. I only started running this fall, so I was wary about trying to run a 5K, as I had yet to run a mile in one go. However, my mom convinced me so we walked down to the Turkey Challenge. When the race started, we kept a steady pace and I was shocked to see the mile market appear before I was even tired. So I ran my first mile! We took a short walking break and started running again and the second mile marker appeared soon after. I think we took one more walking break before running the rest. My time came in at 36:57, which I don’t think is bad at all for my first 5K. My goal was to run a mile by the end of the year, so I guess that is accomplished.

Lorikeet at the San Antonio Zoo.

That afternoon we visited the San Antonio Zoo and saw many excellent birds and beasts, including the most giant hippopotamus that I’ve ever seen.

Lion hiding at the San Antonio Zoo.

After the visit to the zoo, we had Thanksgiving dinner, which was delicious and had many vegetarian-friendly side dishes, as well as a pumpkin pie.

Praying mantis wearing a scarf at the San Antonio Botanical Garden.

The next day we visited the San Antonio Botanical Garden, where they had these giant wooden insects displayed throughout the park. I loved the addition of a holiday scarf to this praying mantis. That afternoon we visited my great-aunt, who I hadn’t seen in a long time. That night we went to the River Parade, where boats decorated with holiday lights and blasting Christmas music cruised down the Riverwalk.

Cacti at Government Canyon.

On my last day, we took a hike in Government Canyon and saw many cacti and risked twisted ankles on rocky paths. I think this was my first time to be out of hearing distance of a car horn in quite a while. It also made me miss how I would go to a new place almost every weekend while in France. I should try to take some train trips out of the city.

Government Canyon seen from the top of the trail.

The next day I got to the airport early and flew back to NYC. I yet again got a cab driver who had no clue where Williamsburg was. I knew the right exit to take and was looking around at the buildings to orient myself when he pulled out an iPhone and was putting in the address. He asked me whether we were in Brooklyn or Queens, which made me want to scream. Anyway, we turned out to be a block away and I was soon dragging my suitcase up the stairs. Unfortunately, my suitcase got a broken wheel, but I guess it’s five years old and has been a lot of places. I also broke the zipper on my coat last night. Why??? Well, after leaving all my broken things in my apartment I met up with Elizabeth for falafel in the East Village and we compared our Texas Thanksgivings. I guess it’s officially the holiday season now. Time for my traditional last minute gift buying.

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