December 2, 2015

San Antonio

It only seems fair that I should post about San Antonio at least once this year since I've been there three times...twice business (I spoke at a Texas driving summit in February and attended the national driving school convention in November) and once for pleasure (for the Twisted Sisters reunion in June).

My first trip involved just a stop over for brunch on the drive between Kerrville and Houston. We ate at Lulu's in San Antonio, home of giant cinnamon rolls they nickname Baby. Because that's how big they are. I also got to experience my first Texan steak and ate quail. All of them delicious.

For the driving summit I was invited to speak at, I stayed in a rented house with several other driving instructors. We had an awesome dinner party the night before the summit, which is a tough juggle when working in a kitchen with limited supplies. The highlight of the food ended up being some asparagus fried in bacon drippings. It's amazing it came together and I met so many people in the Texas driving industry. I loved that arrangement. It made speaking a little bit easier since I knew some of the audience. And I was nervous.

Second trip my fellow twisted sisters and I reunited after 5 years. What's amazing about reuniting with childhood friends is how much we have changed and how strong our bond remains. Little quirks in our teen years have amplified. And quite frankly they've become funny. Because if we can't laugh at where we've been or what we've become, we're sad shells of our former selves. As much as life used to be black and white, it's now such a beautiful pattern of black, white and gray. We've become the complex creatures we used to not understand.

So, in October I decided to look up what airfare would be if I went to the Driving School Association of the Americas convention I've attended every fall since 2008. Wouldn't you know it? Round trip airfare for $500. What?! Yes, that's so much better than a $1200 ticket I was anticipating last summer when I decided that I may just need to sit this one out.

For all of you who would like to come visit Brazil, October and November have cheap airfares.

I didn't speak this year, as I have done the previous two years, but I did receive a leadership award at the opening breakfast. The thing with the breakfast is that the keynote speaker seemed to be a little confused on who his audience was. He was a Texas-department-of-something-or-another guy and focused 95% of his material on Texas stuff and had very little to do with those who didn't live there. I think maybe 10-15% of the people there were from Texas and at least 10% from Canada and the rest from all over the US and one from England and then me.

The speech was a real snoozer and here I was trying to stay focused and look interested because I'm at the head table with the rest of the board. After maybe half an hour I knew I needed to get moving, otherwise I was going to nod off in front of the audience, so I got up and went to the bathroom. I came back a few minutes later and stood in the back of the room. The speaker sat down and I stayed in the back because the breakfast was almost over. A couple of friends came and stood next to me....making sure I was okay. They told me the sponser of the breakfast tried to be discreet and fight the urge, but he actually did nod off. In front of everyone. Ha ha. Why is there a head table anyway?

My friends weren't really getting up because they needed the stretch, they were sent to come find me. The Executive VP was nervous I wasn't going to come back and then who would he present the award, to? Ha ha. It was a surprise and honor to be presented with a leadership award. Makes me want to do some leadering stuff to celebrate.

I enjoy participating with the DSAA and also interacting with so many great people. Over the years, they've become our driving school's mentors as well as friends. This conference we had a dance instructor come and teach us some line dances, afterward we tore up the dance floor...and let me tell you, some of our more mature colleagues can really shake it. I haven't been dancing in a long time and I loved it. 

With dancing there's a transition that comes in my head with my body where I forget to think about the next step and it just comes because my body remembers what to do. Then when I realize what's happened my brain wants to go back to the counting out steps phase...which probably means I need to go back to Texas to do some more line dancing and make sure my brain turns off and the moves get more creative. 

I was happy to see my brother JC at the conference. Not only because I hadn't seen him since July, but also because he brought me a suitcase full of stuff to take home to Brazil. Mostly Amazon purchases but also some Halloween candy and a care package for Jocelyn from a friend. My cousin also came and stayed a night with me and we went shopping.

When our exchange student Rilary told me last year that Brazilians came to the US to go shopping, I was skeptical. I mean, really, who does that??? Here's me eating my words. A friend of mine took me to Costco the first day I arrived (so I could pick up the Christmas cards I ordered) and I got such staples as Himalyan sea salt and taco seasoning as well as a bunch of other "essentials".  We also were able to visit my bank and get a few things worked out with credit/debit cards since the incident, which happened when I was getting off the plane in San Antonio.

The problem with shopping in Brazil is that they don't have a good one-stop-shop. There's one store I know of with peanut butter here and another one that has gorgonzola cheese (took me 4 stores to find this one week). But I don't want to go all over to town to find everything I want. And if they are imports then we pay a pretty penny for them here. The governments taxes imports like 100%, so you've got to really want it to buy it. So yeah, I turned into one of those Brazilians who go to the US to shop.

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