I hopped on the plane in North Carolina and landed that night in Houston. Billy came and picked me up from the airport and then we slept at Lindsey’s house since it was pretty late. The next morning we had breakfast and then headed out to where Billy’s festival was in Roundtop, Texas.
We were so excited to see each other!
He showed me all around the festival grounds, which were kind of weird. Everything was built to look really old when really the oldest place was only built a maximum of 15 years ago. But it was nice putting faces to names to all these people he’d been telling me about for the past four weeks. I snuck in to the cafeteria for dinner and stole a free meal (my special secret skill). Later on my parents drove the three hours over to pick me up since I couldn’t stay there. We all got to visit and check out the whole block that consisted of the entire town of Roundtop.
Here’s a giant spider that was hanging outside of the dining hall. It has cool ninja faces on its back.
When I was back at my house I decided that I wanted to go to New Orleans with Jillaine. I’d been wanting to go for a while, and who better to party with than my oldest sister? So we planned that night to go the next morning.
And it was a perfect sister trip.
(Sorry Janea. You weren’t in the same state.)
We made the four hour drive and the first thing we tried doing was the plantation house tours. We made it to one that was pretty popular, but when I saw how much it cost, I cheaped out and said no thanks. So instead we illegally parked in front of the gate and took some cute pictures and fled.
By this time we were starving so I quickly googled cheap, good places to eat in New Orleans. It was about this time both of us discovered that we’re both the kind of people that usually let the other people make all the plans and then we just follow along and have a good time. After a few misdirections and a couple correctional loops, we made it to our destination.
It was so much better than I was hoping. And let me tell you, my expectations were high.
We stepped in and ordered gumbo, jambalaya, and boudin. Here’s the before and after picture.
After our tummies were happy we drove into the French Quarter, which is where all the touristy things are. We found a place to park the car, cursing ourselves for not planning this ahead of time. When the car was finally parked we both hopped out and took the city by storm.
We walked over and saw the Mississippi.
We saw a man we thought was dead.
This is my sister’s idea of a joke.
We went to Marie Laveau’s house. She’s considered to be the Queen of Voodoo. (She’s also dead. And this isn’t even her house. But that’s okay.)
We went and toured the St. Louis Cathedral.
We ate beignets at the famous Cafe Du Monde.
We also made some friends.
It was a really fun city to visit. It was a little crazy at times. Everyone was drinking even though it was only two o’clock in the afternoon. The streets were pretty dirty and you wanted to be very careful of the strange, milky water that smelled so bad that it hit a certain spot in your nose. But everyone was friendly and there was so much to see. All of the buildings were old and had a lot of history to them.
Here are some more random pictures I took.
By the end of the day we were both really hot, hungry, and our feet were killing us. So we headed back to the car and drove over to the Garden District to see what was over there. We didn’t get out of the car, but we did drive around for a bit and saw all of the old houses and the beautiful, huge oaks that were everywhere. We decided to eat dinner before we left, so once again I quickly googled for something nearby. I found a restaurant that was known for their poboys, so we drove over and ordered.
It wasn’t quite as delicious as our first stop, but it was yummy nonetheless. You can’t really go wrong with fried shrimp.
After our dinner we decided to call it a day and drove on home.
I was so glad that I’d been able to go and see what New Orleans was like.
The rest of the time I spent at home was very relaxing. I love spending time with my family, especially my mom. There’s something about hanging out with your mom that you can never get tired of. I also loved going to my grandma’s house. She seriously makes the best food. A trip to Texas would be a trip wasted if you don’t stop by and eat from her kitchen.
I also got to visit with my best friend Julia. I love going to her house and hanging out with her and Roman. Besides Billy, I think she’s the only one that can make me laugh quite like I do when I’m around her. There’s a special bond when you go through the high school years together. Here’s a picture of us in high school. She’s the greatest person ever.
I also got to visit my other friend Meagan. I haven’t seen her in such a long time, so it was good to visit and catch up with her. She’s married and just bought a real house. For a while there I was a little jealous that she gets to settle down with a nice backyard, surrounded by all the people she loves, and grow a garden in sweet bliss. But then I realized I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s.
Back to all the fun I was having at home- Jillaine pulled out her archery equipment and we had a grand time in the backyard.
Another time we were sitting in the living room watching cartoons (even though the kids were long gone) when we suddenly got on the topic of doing handstands. I challenged Jillaine to do one and she whipped this right out of nowhere.
She also showed off and did a fully extended one. So she hopped down and I got all cocky.
It didn’t go so well.
After several minutes of flinging my legs and probably almost kicking a hole in the wall I managed to squeeze this out for a second or two. I could not for the life of me do a full handstand.
I fully acknowledge my sister’s superiority.
After a fun week at home I was really missing Billy again. All I wanted to do was go visit him. So we came up with a grand plan. I would get a ride out to Houston, then Billy would pick me up and bring me back to Roundtop. We would move into a spare bedroom that no one was sleeping in and hide me away for the last week of the festival. I would sneak into the cafeteria for all the meals. And while he was practicing or in rehearsals I would read my book or play on my computer or do whatever I wanted.
And that’s exactly how it happened. It was a lot of fun playing games with his horn friends and Pokemon Go was huge at the time, so we all played that together. I finished Lord of the Rings and played on my computer a lot. We went swimming in their huge, nice pool a few times. And always there was some performance or rehearsal we could go watch. The only downside was that the weather was so hot and humid, and also that the place was hopping with crickets. Everywhere. It was disturbing.
I loved getting to see some of Billy’s performances. He’s fourth from the left in the back row.
This might sound awful, but I’m always surprised by how good he sounds every time he plays. He really is an amazing player. I love being reminded why he’s chasing after his dreams.
One of the days my mom, Jillaine, and the three kiddos came out and picked us up and had a fun day with us. They took us to a castle.
Yeah. There are castles in Texas.
This particular one, Newman’s Castle, was built by Mike Newman in Bellville, Texas. He bought a huge plot of land in the middle of nowhere. He went to build a home there, but then he became discontent with the idea of plopping a trailer house on all this beautiful land. So then he came up with the idea to build himself a castle. And now people tour his home.
Complete with a trebuchet. (Trebuchets have a lot more meaning to me now that I’ve played Age of Empires (Thank you Perrys)).
It was incredibly hot, but it was really fun running around the castle and fighting Billy with a wooden sword. We climbed to the top of the bell tower and got to over look everything. And Mike Newman was really good with the kids and acted out siege scenarios with the them.
When we first got in, he warned us that the enemy forces were marching over so we had to close the drawbridge. He picked Billy out from the crowd and had him help close it with this thing.
At one point we found ourselves in his bedroom. He had fun medieval weapons and gear.
We had a complimentary lunch and then left after a while. On the way home we decided that we had to go and visit the Blue Bell Factory in Brenham. Blue Bell is a special exception, so we put aside our no-sugar-eating ways for the afternoon.
Best decision ever.
You can buy a huge cup of ice cream for a dollar each. So we all went a little crazy. There is no better ice cream than the stuff they make right there.
Look at all that happiness!
It was a really great day. I love being able to be around my family.
After we got our fill of yummy ice cream, we drove back to Roundtop and listened to one of Billy’s rehearsals. And then the time came for them to leave, so I said goodbye to them.
The rest of the week flew by. He had a great concert that Saturday night, and we left for my house right after. We spent another couple days at my house and got to say goodbye to everyone.
It was a great way to end our whole six weeks of craziness. All we had left now was to hang out in Utah until the big move to New York.
We were excited for the next adventure.