Monday, January 23, 2017

An American Road Trip: Texan Sized Wedding

One of the downsides of my multiple adventures traveling the world is that I have missed out on many milestones of friends and family members. Graduations, bachelor parties, and birthdays have all been placed on the back burner while I have been galavanting around the world. Weddings have also been skipped over due to my traveling conflicts. 

Fortunately, this dubious streak ended in November. While I was in Colombia, one of my best friends from my time at the University of Northern Iowa, Megan, became engaged to her boyfriend, Chris, while they were vacationing in Prague. During a Skype session with her and our other friend Trisha (the three of us took Spanish classes together at UNI), Megan informed us that the wedding would be happening in November of 2016. This was music to my ears! I was going to be able to attend my first wedding in over 8 years!

The big day was set for November 12th, 2016 in Megan's hometown of Austin, Texas. This would mark the first time that Megan, Trisha, and I would all be in the same city and location since Megan and I graduated in 2010. Trisha and I decided to fly down together, get an AirBnB, and take in some of the many sights and sounds that Austin had to offer.

Before flying down to Texas, I spent a few days with Trisha in Atlantic, Iowa. She is a Spanish teacher for the Atlantic School District and had invited me to come in and give a short presentation on my time in Colombia to her students. I had a great time reliving my time in Colombia, while also expanding everyone's understanding of Colombian culture.  

The trip down to Texas ended up being a bit more adventurous than we had originally planned. Around 5 a.m. on the morning that we left Iowa, Trisha received a call saying that our flight out of Des Moines had been delayed. This delay would have ended up causing us to miss our connecting flight to Austin. So after about 30 minutes of going back and forth with customer service, we were placed on a different flight pattern that took us through Chicago instead of Dallas. Instead of getting into Austin early in the afternoon we were now scheduled to get in around 11 pm. 

We made it to Chicago with no problem. However, getting out of Chicago proved to be a bit of a challenge. The gate that we were scheduled to leave from kept changing. Delays of other flights kept moving our flight all over the airport. After traversing the C and D concourse of O'Hare multiple times, we finally boarded the plane and made it to Austin in one piece. 

The next day, which was the day before the wedding, we explored downtown Austin. Our first stop was the graffiti park. This failed building development turned outdoor art gallery is constantly changing. Artists receive permission to add their own flair to the three-story structure. While we were there, we were able to witness artists at work, along with some pretty spectacular views of Austin.

From the graffiti park, we made our way to the state capitol building. This mammoth building, the largest in the country, tells a pretty interesting story about regarding the history of Texas. While at the capitol, I was able to cross paths with Andrea, a survivor of my second year with AmeriCorps down in south Florida. She is currently living in Austin and ended up living in the same apartment complex as our AirBnB! Small world to say the least!

Finally, the day of the wedding was upon us! That afternoon, we made our way to a small town outside of Austin to a beautiful location known as the Hummingbird House. This set up was absolutely perfect and very Megan-like. The intimate setting, complete with a string ensemble and a beautiful gazebo, was made even more perfect by the bride and groom. A gorgeous ceremony was followed by an even better reception.

Trisha and I weren't the only Iowans who made the trip down. In all, about 10 fellow Panthers made the journey to support the new couple. It was great to catch up with them. We also partook in the singing of our fight song, tore up the dance floor, and just enjoyed each other's company. Finally being in the same city and location proved to be everything that Trisha, Megan and I could've asked for! 

Congrats once again to the newlyweds! #INowPronounceSchuhHuffmanAndWife

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