Texas has trees.  I know it sounds ridiculous, but I thought it would be more like the deserts familiar in John Wayne cowboy motion pictures.  I realize that I only saw a tiny portion of the largest state in the contiguous USA (second largest in size and population in the entire nifty fifty), but wow.  The family reunited at the Houston airport- Mom, Dad and little bro flew in from Columbus, Ohio and I from Chicago- and we drove immediately to Austin for a bit of exploration.

My first trip to Texas was spurred by the wedding of my beautiful cousin, which was to take place just after Thanksgiving.  So my family decided to make a vacation of it and to spend time visiting Austin a few days before the big event.  The city was gorgeous and quirky.  Our condo was set in a quiet neighborhood, which was just hip enough to feel like we were really on a vacation.

After setting down our bags, the four of us walked down to the main strip- SoCo (South Congress)- for a bit to eat and a rather strong, if small, margarita night cap.  The view of the city was breathtaking and the weather was perfect for a sweater, a welcome escape from the cold that was settling into Chicago.  It was so perfect to be together as a family and to have concentrated time to spend with each other.  At home, we all get lost in our own routines, but on vacation, we got to relax and talk with the people we care most about.

After dinner, Mom and Dad headed back to bed, but Will, my little brother, and I were interested in exploring a bit more, so we walked down to Lady Bird Lake.  We talked about school, the future, and relationships, and I had so much fun learning about his life that I didn’t even care that much when we got turned around on our walk back to the apartment.

It was only the beginning of our trip, but I was excited for the rest of our Thanksgiving vacation- running, swimming and wedding adventures waited to be discovered over the upcoming days (and will be Go Girl chronicled over the next few weeks, on my regular Wednesday column).