A Toast To Friends

This Thanksgiving was meant to be extra special because two of my closest friends would be visiting: N, whose family and mine are part of the Lonely Parents’ Nest, and V, who is practically my soulmate in the US.

AND IT IS.

Tuesday night, Nov 24: N turned up, looking ruffled and cute as a button, and I took her to Kerbey Lane for a late dinner. We spent the longest time just catching up, over Tex Mex and cheesecake. Random conversations about sparkly vampires, the potential for a Twilight anime, and our own version of teen-angsting bestsellers ensued. I’m not sure how we didn’t get kicked out. Just after a particularly loud round of laughter I noticed that the guest of honor at the table directly opposite ours was a minister. Oops.

Wednesday, Nov 25: We rambled around campus after decimating bagels and coffee/juice at Einstein’s, and I showed her my second home, aka ENS. N stood appalled at the random bits of modern art. There are actually pictures of her looking thoroughly disgusted and confused, and me looking faintly apologetic and embarrassed. We messed around for a while at my place doing absolutely nothing for a change, then had dinner at Which Wich, the only place within two miles not shut down, and then picked up V.

So fantastic seeing her again. We were both in awe after realizing that the fashion queen hadn’t checked in a single piece, although I have to say that this was after extensive consultation with me – “Does your room mate’s straightener have, like, different settings? Mine has twenty five, so I just want to check. And what about her hair dryer? Does it have more than one setting for heat??”

Spent the bus ride being thoroughly giggly and catching up again, complete with gossip about mutual friends and acquaintances. I think this was also the night where we got N totally hooked on Community. Yes! N: zero, Joel McHale and associated charms: 10 million.

Thursday, Nov 26: Thanksgiving day! It’s incredible exactly how deserted the normally busy streets of Austin were. Actually, I can remember how deserted Boston and Wellesley were when I visited N last Thanksgiving. Quite intelligently, we’d decided to cook for ourselves that afternoon and evening because we knew nothing would be open. A couple of false starts with bus schedules and a failed Walmart/HEB plan, but being resourceful young ladies and all that, pulled off homemade pizza (super easy crust, but it could have been thinner), spicy pasta, and garlic toast, all by ourselves. I have to say, we made a fantastically efficient team: V cooked most of it, helped by N and myself, N and I cleaned up the second anything hit the sink – quite the kitchen ballet. I’m really waiting to do something like that again, just because it was extremely fun. Helped along, of course, by singing to random Indian music.

We’d invited (my other friend) N along, because we had a lot of decent food and he had three midterms. Decided to indulge in some fobbiness and ended up watching Alaipayuthey, which was as good as the first time I watched it; it really is a shame that Shalini isn’t acting anymore. It was a very good evening – good food, random funny intelligent conversation with three good friends – though occasionally intensely embarrassing, because N decided he was going to impersonate me online, with ridiculous results. I have a feeling R is going to be slightly awkward around me for a while…

Friday, Nov 27: If there’s one thing I love about Austin, it’s how schizophrenic it can be. South is the river and all manner of outdoorsy things, even while Downtown is literally ten minutes away by bus, further north. So we saved Friday for a kayaking trip on Barton Creek. It’s probably the best boating experience I’ve had, and not simply because it was fantastic weather and N was equally into it; I think I gained a new appreciation for Austin simply because N and V were there to enjoy it too. It was just cold enough for a light jacket and sunny enough to not worry about a sudden deluge, so we took a satisfyingly large number of pictures. There’s something incredibly peaceful about kayaking down a creek – it’s just you and the person in front – highly interesting conversation where N confessed that her glam job was Sec-Gen of the UN – and navigating the water, which in itself is fun. The area is incredibly pretty, but then there’s a part where you break out of the creek and hit the larger Lady Bird Lake itself – and then straight ahead of you is the skyline of Austin downtown. Lovely stuff.

That evening we walked down to Trudy’s, which N had been specially recommended. The food was great as usual, but I decided I was going to try some actual alcohol (making it grand total of two alcoholic experiences in my life). So there’s now a picture of me, sipping a margarita and looking inordinately pleased with myself. Extremely fun evening with plenty of girly conversation.

And since I apparently don’t learn from my mistakes, V decided to take over my online persona and thoroughly confused my other friend N. Slightly ironic, but I think I have to now put him on the list of “people who will be awkward with me for the next month”.

Saturday, Nov 28: Because we’re all so awesome, most of yesterday was spent doing work. Of course, when I say “most”, the working actually began at noon; I’m pretty sure none of us woke up before 10 am for the past four days. I really am incredibly lucky to have friends who are intelligent, hardworking and driven all at once, because they all know when and how to study, and when to just drop everything and go out and have fun.

Speaking of which – the rest of the evening was dedicated to going out and doing insane things. This included not only going downtown to party it up, but also to watch New Moon. I like to think I’m probably more likely to want to go downtown than to watch anything from the Twilight series, but quite honestly we went there to laugh at the ridiculousness. V found an FML post that accurately characterized our feelings towards Twilight: “our generation will be remembered as the kids who liked sparkly vampires.” Our reactions to the movie can be summed up in about four facts: a) Stewart can’t act, b) Pattinson needs to wipe that makeup off, c) Lautner is hot, and d) why is Bella obsessed with being a vampire, but shocked when Edward proposes to her?!

We went to Clay Pit after that, where we spent our time happily dissing the movie and discussing accents, our parents, and the Tam-Bram community, and then decided to exercise the dinner off by walking downtown. Another reason I love Austin – the weather, in the tail end of November, was so good we didn’t need coats, and N and I certainly weren’t dressing – shall we say, conservatively.

I’ve never actually been downtown with the intention of clubbing, so this was quite a new experience. We all stood and stared for a while at the “Rebel Honky Tonk” before we hurriedly took pictures to preserve the memory; random strangers commented on us as we walked around looking for the right place; and you could hear the music from the hardcore night clubs about a block away. I think I had fun just walking around looking at the place, but we finally landed up at the Copa. Not a college type club, but it had salsa music and it was fantastic watching some of the dancers. N tried to teach me steps and I failed miserably, but it was much fun either way. We didn’t actually get to the dance floor, although I was hoping some dashing fellow would come along and grab N so we could see more of her dancing.

Now it’s Sunday, N has just left (after quite a fiasco, which in itself is a story), and V’s about to leave in a couple of hours. I honestly didn’t want this Thanksgiving to end at all – there was so much stuff that I wanted to show the girls, and so much more talking to do.

School will be excruciating for the next two weeks or so – but at least there will be pictures of the fabulous time I had 🙂

Edit: V just left 😦

But we’re already making plans for Spring Break.

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