13. Visit Erin and John in Texas

My sister and her husband moved to Texas last September. I have been meaning to get down there to visit them, but then my sister and I discussed running this 10K in January of 2014, so I put it off. Well, unemployment has its perks, so a few weeks ago I headed down there for an undetermined amount of time. This was the first time I had ever purchased a 1-way ticket without the return flight. Who knew something so simple could be so thrilling?!

Even though I have been unemployed since July, I put off going to Texas because I had interviews and wanted a chance to network once I was back in Chicago. I finally went because I felt like I was in a good place with interviews and was hoping to get an offer either while I was down there or soon after I came back. I had also made arrangements to work for a previous employer on and off while one of their new hires attended training, and I had 2 weeks off while that person was back in town, so down to Texas I went!

My sister and her husband live in a small town near South Padre Island (12 minutes door to beach!). If you have ever been to South Padre, it’s probably been for spring break or a vacation. Not many people live on the island, and it’s definitely touristy. Think Panama City Beach or Gulf Shores. But for a Chicagoan that’s getting ready for winter, it was just the break I needed. Most of my time was spent on the beach…

Columbus Day on South Padre Island

Columbus Day on South Padre Island

…or at the pool at their condo complex. They live in a great little gated community, and their condo is water-front. I mean, I don’t know anyone, nor will I probably ever know anyone (after they move), that lives right on the water. Until now.

View from the patio.

View from the patio.

The weather was wonderful, with beautiful sunny days balanced with cloudy days that were perfect for lounging and reading while my sister and her husband were hard at work. I had a chance to read some books, watch some tv (thanks to my sister, I am now hooked on Friday Night Lights), and even found the time to run a few days. We spent our time taking a sunset dinner cruise, took a trip to Mexico, ate gas station breakfast tacos (so good), and the largest, most delicous breakfast burrito I have ever eaten from Manuel’s.

Sunset Dinner Cruise. (Thanks dad!)

Sunset Dinner Cruise. (Thanks dad!)

Sisters!

Biggest. Breakfast. Burrito. Ever. This fed me for a breakfast and 2 lunches.

A huge thanks to Erin and John for their hospitality, and for letting me stay as long as I wanted to. My trip ended up having perfect timing, since it was probably the last 2 weeks of my unemployment. But more on that later…