To maintain organization, I’ll introduce how I know each of these friends and why we all ended up meeting in Houston for a fun girls weekend.
So some of you may know that in college, I spent one semester finishing my history degree at the University of Malta in Msida, Malta. I lived at the University Residence, where exchange students from all over the world were placed while attending school. There were only a handful of Americans in Malta and I became good friends with a girl named Jillian from Pennsylvania, who basically was leading a parallel life to my own. We hadn’t seen each other since 2008, but kept in touch over the post-college years.
She finally came to Texas because her boyfriend qualified to run in the Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston. She always watches his big races and had planned on coming for months. I was so excited to have a free weekend to meet up with her and see the race.
Now, for the elusive “best friend from Idaho who got me to try out with her.” Dun, dun, dun … her name is Keanna and her hubby, Shiloh, (also an Idaho Vandal. Go UI!) got drafted by the Texans. So look who is in Texas after all. We don’t always know why things happen the way they do, but having them down here is so awesome. Not to mention their son is the cutest 4.5-month-old ever! I’m not even being a biased “Aunt Nicole.”
I scooped up Jillian from the airport in Houston and we drove over to Keanna’s house, so they could both meet. They already knew a lot about each other because in Malta, all of my stories about home included Keanna, and when I got home, I talked about Malta incessantly and Jillian was always in those stories! Keanna’s husband didn’t have to leave with his team until Saturday morning, so it was good seeing him too.
Jillian’s boyfriend hooked us up with official Reebok Olympic Trials Marathon t-shirts and “friends and family” VIP passes for the race. Keanna, Jillian, the baby and I all stood in the front row by the starting line and even got to see the top-3 who will be representing the U.S. in the summer Olympics in London cross the finish line. It was such a cool experience.
Her boyfriend did a great job. I can’t fathom running that far in the first place, let alone at their pace. During the beginning of the race, the men were averaging a 4 minute, 52 second mile. So crazy to see that kind of athleticism.
After the race, the girls had a healthy lunch at a café called Hungry’s (I would highly recommend it!). We then got long overdue mani/pedi combos (thank you again, Keanna!) while the baby totally had all the ladies in the salon swooning over him. Throughout the afternoon of shopping, we were asked several times if we ran the marathon because we were wearing the t-shirts … ugh, no! But I’ll take it as a compliment they even thought we could’ve run that thing.
The big Saturday culminated perfectly with a Miss America watching party and making Jillian endure various dance videos from YouTube, a favorite pastime of Keanna’s and mine.
On Sunday morning, we talked over Starbucks and kolaches (Jillian had never had one!) up until I was almost late getting her to the airport. Thankfully I only slightly got lost and had to turn around once before getting her there with 45 minutes until take-off.
I returned to Keanna’s to watch the Texans play the Ravens. Of course, I’m loyal to my Cowboys, but I’m so proud of Shiloh’s hard work and think it’s exciting the Texans went into the playoffs his first year as a rookie. The game they played that Sunday had Keanna, the baby, and I glued to the TV.
I was already missing everyone after driving home that night. Our weekend went by quickly, but we had so much fun! Thank you to my fellow co-workers for covering me. Thank you Chris for qualifying for the Olympic Trials and consequently bringing Jillian to Houston. Thank you Keanna and Shiloh for being the best hosts, and for living only four hours away now. I look forward to planning more fun reunions in the future and, in the meantime, fulfilling more of my “Auntie” roles.
Love & Cheers!