So it’s been just over two weeks since we touched down at TFGreen, and dragged our weary selves down the final gangway in our four-plane, two-ish day return trip home. What an adventure! The emotional turmoil of being simultaneously happy to be on familiar territory yet wholly disappointed to leave one of the most beautiful places on earth was dulled by the sheer exhaustion of extended layovers and trying to sleep on crowded planes. Adam’s mom greeted us joyfully, with big hugs and a torrent of questions. We spent the afternoon catching up (a bit, there’s so much!) before Adam and I were off to some errands and a visit to my uncle. And I bet you can guess the first errand on my list – MAIL!
I was SO excited to check my mail and receive the package from my bead soup partner, Shawn Marie. She has recently gone through a big move and I hope she finds the time and space to have fun with what I sent her. I could tell by the weight and size of the mailer she sent it contained more than one bead, but I had no idea what treasures it would contain!! I managed to exercise enough patience to wait through the visit with my uncle and the drive to Norwich until arriving at Rochelle’s to open the package, but once I was in the door it was straight to the work room and the scissors. As the stones spilled out of the envelope onto the black velvet tray we were immediately struck by the same thought – wire wraps. There was an amazing variety of beads in several styles, but the most unique were two large donuts, one black and one red. There were several other beads I could immediately see would work with the red donut, we started discussing ideas for wrapping them. As we moved the beads around the board, I read the note Shawn had written and was pleasantly surprised to see that she had had the same idea of wire wrapping when originally collecting the stones. There were several other groups of colors I immediately wanted to combine though I am yet to settle on any single design idea.
As for the flight(s!) home, there were a few enjoyable moments in all the ruckus. I think it’s the first time I’ve accomplished three meals in three non-adjacent time zones in under 48 hours. The first was a bittersweet – yet still delicious – brunch bagel sandwich from our favorite locals coffee shop in Kailua, Muddy Waters. Prepared by the most excellent TJ, a real life down to earth human who was always genuinely happy to see us (and a quick study on my coffee quirks), it was the perfect final meal for our adventure. We shared our breakfast with our friend Jessica, who kindly hosted us for the final few days of our stay, despite having a whirlwind going on in her own life. We departed Honolulu that night with sadness and excitement.
We arrived in LA to find our layover shorter than the anticipated 8 hours I had originally booked, which ended up giving us a longer layover in San Jose that we found rather advantageous. As neither of us had managed to get any rest on the overnight flight from Honolulu, we were both a little irritable and happy for the down time. After lounging around the airport, glad for the extra layers of clothing, we climbed aboard our second flight, a short hop to San Jose.
We found our second meal in San Jose, with the help of a recommendation from a most helpful transit cop. Being a Tuesday, and being on the west coast, tacos seemed the obvious choice. We left the airport and lent ourselves to the mercy of the public transport, which is notoriously better than anything we’ve got in our corner of New England. After a little confusion regarding which tickets we could use, a transit cop directed us to a local place on Santa Clara, Muchos!, where they served up great portions of traditional fare. A couple tacos and a margarita each had us stuffed and we had to save the delicious burrito, a chili verde, for a snack later. Satiated, we walked a block back to a small park we had spotted from the train and relaxed in the grass for a while until the sun, and the temperature, began to drop.
We reboarded the train and got back to the transit center just in time to catch the bus back to the airport. As we embarked, the driver made a joking remark about playing him a song, and another passenger commented that he had his harp with him, so we busted out the instruments and jammed out on the ride. We were having so much fun, we rode past our stop at the airport and took a lap with to the end of the line. After a short break and a chat with the driver, we headed back to the airport and arrived with several hours to spare before our next flight. We took the opportunity to recharge, ourselves and the devices, before boarding the third flight in our adventure, bound for Atlanta.
Adam, having lived in Macon, GA a few years previously, was excited for the layover in Atlanta. He had been plotting to have one or two of his friends come meet us for breakfast at the airport, despite the super early timeframe. Unfortunately, one of his friends was unavailable, but his roommate, Will, was so excited to meet up he stayed up all night and drove an hour each way to see us. Our layover was relatively short, only three hours, but they convinced me it was plenty of time to leave the airport to experience a southern staple I had, until that point, completely missed out on – Waffle House.
And what an experience! The menu was diverse, but chocked full of southern favorites – chicken and waffles, gravy and biscuits and the house special – hash browns – with just about any topping you can imagine. It was difficult to decide, everything looked delicious but I was so tired I wasn’t hungry so I settled on the house special – hash browns, topped with chili cheese and raw onions. YUM. Adam also got hash browns and Will ordered a chicken sandwich and insisted on getting a bowl of cheese grits for us to all share. The food was standard fare, good portions and very reasonable prices, but the real experience is the crew. The hospitality is genuine, and so is the feel of being at home in someones kitchen, down to the cook and counter staff getting into some good-natured bickering. We enjoyed the meal and the comfort of seeing a familiar face for as long as we could before our final security check and plane ride home.
That’s all I’ve got for now. The bead soup reveal is in a couple weeks, and work should hopefully be starting back up soon. We plan to see quite a few shows this year, and I definitely hope to explore more of the local food scene in our area. The farm to table movement has been growing strong in the past couple years here, and I’m excited to see what my friends in the industry have been creating. See you soon!