This time last week I was still in Texas.
On Thursday (April 28th), I was Texas bound. I was actually suppose to go to Texas in January to see Hannah so when that didn’t happen due to a new job, this trip had been planned almost as soon as Kina released her April tour dates. I saw 11 Kina shows last year and since I knew I probably won’t see that number again this year, the idea of 3 additional shows really made me happy.
The last time I was in Texas was for a wedding in Austin.
I was excited to see more of the state and this trip would allow me to do just that. Unfortunately, prior to getting to Houston, my attitude was just meh. Not only had I had car issues just a few days before, but my flight out was delayed that morning and I was just not particularly feeling like my chirpy self for awhile for so many reasons.
I made my way to Baggage Claim as soon as I landed in Houston since I was running late and we still had to pick up the rental car. Eric got there before I did but I couldn’t find him anywhere so I texted him my location. Hannah called a moment later asking where I was. To my surprise, she was there picking us up. I went to the door she told me and I saw her as we made our way towards each other. We hugged and soon after Eric showed up.
After a round of hugs, we headed towards the car where I got to officially meet and finally hug Hannah’s brother. He was literally running on empty so he was a bit loopy. The ride to pick up the rental car was hilarious, eclipsing our angry bellies that wanted to be filled.
I feel like I’ve known Hannah forever. Time would say otherwise, but we’re pretty close for people that have only known each other for merely a year. I was instantly comfortable with her, which isn’t the case for most people. Honestly, words fail me here for all that she means to me. It’s hard to explain and even harder to comprehend.
If she should ever stumble upon this: Thank you for all the ways you make our friendship so great. If you should forget: Your endless support and your constant confidence have gotten me through those tough days, those rough days, and those days I didn’t want to get up.
I had officially met Eric last August in Atlanta on my way home from Laos. I was so jet-lagged at that time though so any semblance of a personality was dormant, if not non-existent. Thankfully this time around, I’d have more on my mind then sleep.
After a lot of backtracking and copious amounts of hilarity, we finally got the car and started towards the venue – House of Blues Houston. We made great time and found pretty great standing room off to the side of the stage until they decided that they were going to rope that area off. Thankfully, I had been sitting on the stage and asked a girl that I had been talking to if I could stand by her instead of moving to the back. She agreed and I was happy. Thankfully, I was short enough so the boys behind me didn’t really care either. They weren’t so kind towards Hannah’s brother and his tall friend.
Hannah and her sister moved up front with me before Kina took the stage. After Kina’s set, we quickly got in line for the Meet and Greet. Hellos, goodbyes, and hugs were quickly exchanged since we were all starving and quite annoyed with everything.
Unfortunately, the whole crowd was a bit rowdy that night with the exception of the front row, since we were the only ones that could hear both Imaginary Friend (Jesse) and Kina. I was content in the front row and tried to get lost in the show since I could actually hear them, but there were moments when it was just insane and you couldn’t help but hear the crowd.
It was insane.
That shit was bananas, yo.
I have gone to a lot of Kina shows (Houston was #12) and I have never experienced such a crowd before. Both Jesse and Kina tried politely to tell everyone to be quiet, but their attempts were futile. The only other time I was that annoyed with a crowd was in Illinois but compared to Houston the drunk boys seemed like a figment of my imagination than a major annoyance that night. It just broke my heart that two of my favorite people had to experience that.
We checked in extremely late at the hotel. Emotionally, we were tired, but mentally, we were too worked up about the show to sleep and our bellies too full from our meals at the diner. Instead, we stayed up and talked with the Royal Wedding broadcasting on the TV in the background. I think around 4ish, we decided to call it a night since we had a long drive that afternoon.
Since Hannah was driving, I let her sleep the longest.
Friday, April 29th
With the help of Yelp, we decided on a cute Vietnamese place for lunch. The parking lot was at capacity when we got there and the only space available to sit was with another group. The pho was delicious (Hannah and Eric said their sandwiches were delicious too), the company beautiful, and the setting so intimate.
As much as I wanted to hate Houston, I still love it a lot more than I do Dallas.
After lunch, we drove to San Marcos, which is where Hannah’s friend lives and where we stayed after the Austin show. We drove into Austin early. Thankfully, we had left San Marcos when we did because we had forgotten that it was Friday, which explained the insane rush hour traffic we were trying to drive into. It was more of an annoyance to us than anything since we seem to be awesome about entertaining ourselves – singing along with the radio and making each other laugh.
We walked around 6th Street a little and eventually settled on having an early dinner on the same street as the venue on the rooftop of a cute Mexican restaurant. Minus the high winds, it was another lovey meal with an even lovelier company. We ate quickly and made our way to the venue – The Parish.
We got a nice spot up front next to a very annoying guy wearing too short shorts. He would not dampen my night. I was so content with Eric on one side of me and Hannah on the other. The show was amazing with all of my favorite songs played and the crowd was the complete opposite of the Houston crowd.
After the show we sat on the stage and waited for the Meet and Greet line to go down. The manager of the venue was pretty amazing. He didn’t rush anyone and he didn’t have any crazy rules about how many items could be signed or the number of photos that could be taken. He even helped me lay out my shirt and other items I had bought. We stayed to talk to Kina and helped Jesse break down the merch display.
We walked around 6th Street for a little bit before we decided to head back to San Marcos. Evidently, Texas doesn’t sell alcohol after midnight. It was a frustrating night of driving around aimlessly looking for a liquor store that was open.
Saturday, April 30th
Hannah got us Shipley’s for breakfast and we were off again.
For some reason, Dallas did not like us even though I had made a crazy awesome playlist for it. What gives, Dallas? Hannah and I enjoyed it so much that we were eventually stopped. That stop officially killed her mood and I tried so hard to comfort her to the best of my abilities. Many sad songs were played during that stretch.
My last attempt to kill Hannah’s mood was by playing and singing Daniel Powter’s Bad Day (we all laughed and sang along) as we got into Dallas and checked into our hotel downtown. We ended up in a beautiful room on the 35th floor with an incredible view of downtown Dallas. We had some time to kill so we played numerous rounds of Speed and then just crashed on the bed and laid around taking in the moment. Everything just felt right. It was wonderful even if the weather decided to be anything but.
Of course dinner at Chick-Fil-A would also be a failed attempt, and of course there would be no electricity at the House of Blues once we got there. Really, Universe? Really?
Despite it all, the show was amazing. Surely, I won’t be forgetting about that show for a long time. Parting with Jesse and Kina was difficult since I’m not quite sure when I’ll see them both again. Unbeknownst to most, my life is currently in a state of limbo, but I am hopeful.
Sunday, May 1st
The dread came over me regarding my pending departure.
The drive to Nach to drop Hannah off at her school was incredibly sad. I bit my lips a lot to keep from spontaneously crying. I wanted to sit in the back with her but thought better of it. Lots of heavy sighs were exhaled.
The actual parting itself was heartbreaking. I gave my hug and quickly got into the driver seat of the rental car. Doing anything more would have opened the flood gates. In my haste, I turned the wrong way leaving the campus. As I stopped at the red light, all I wanted to do was turn back into the parking lot and hug her again but it would have been such an ugly sight.
And I was doing okay until I read the text message from her about an hour into the drive and the tears started and hasn’t stopped since. Eric asked if I wanted him to drive. Even though he was tired, he didn’t end up napping like he wanted to.
To make matters worse, the people in Texas just don’t know how to friggin drive! Nothing frustrates me more than someone who stays in the left lane and drives below the posted speed limit. Once I was almost in Houston, I stayed in the left lane so nobody could get in front of me and slow down my speed. Especially the dude that kept changing his speed in the SUV.
That day was not a good day to frustrate me, but evidently the universe didn’t get that memo out in time. I made pretty good time so I stopped to put gas in the rental before I returned it and had to run in and out because the pump didn’t like that I was from a different zipcode. Fine. Okay.
We rushed to get on the shuttle and the driver would just not leave. Fine. Okay. Be nice, but realize that some people might be on a tight schedule and that another shuttle would be there to pick people up in 10 minutes. To prove this point, another shuttle had actually arrived before we even left. We really aren’t leaving people stranded, but doing an awesome job of agitating me because people were getting on the wrong shuttle and then later a man decided that he forgot his cellphone in the rental. Breathe.
Check-in was a cinch because Eric had checked me in online on his phone in the car and all I had to do was go to a kiosk and print out my boarding pass. Technology and guys named Eric are so awesome. The security line was insanely long, but thankfully Eric was taking a later flight out so he stood in line with me and helped calm me down. Given the line, we got through fairly quickly only to find out that my connecting flight to Dallas was delayed.
Honestly, it was really nice to just sit with Eric without having to rush right onto the plane. Unfortunately, Hannah has impeccable timing and sent another text that had me crying again. And this time I could not stop. I literally could not stop. (My optometrist was so wrong when he diagnosed me with a tear deficiency a week prior.) I felt so bad for Eric who probably didn’t know what to do as I cried like a baby on his shoulders. I carried on like that for probably an hour until it was time to board and hug Eric.
I hate goodbyes.