holidays

The Roamers have a barrel of fun

Of course we knew we were leaving, but each time we experience a “last”–last Thanksgiving in the US, last Christmas, last NYE, etc.–it gets a little more real. On a final video call with my workplace women’s leadership group, as we shared our gratitude/focus/let go selections, I talked about letting go of my professional identity. I’ve been working full-time for 47 years and the prospect of relenquishing the professional Sandy made me a bit teary. And at Christmas the fact that we’ll be so far away from our granddaughter and her parents suddenly hit me hard.

But of course we’ve been anticipating this for a long time. Our plan is to recognize all the feels, experience and process them, and maintain a joyful attitude through these last days and weeks in Austin.

Something we’ll miss: a roadside flock of Austin flamingoes

December 19 was a special day. We checked out of our Airbnb, dropped our things off at the new place, and grabbed brunch at Bouldin Acres before heading to San Antonio for our long-anticipated Sarah Brightman concert. 

Lunch with pickleball, playgrounds, and pups

We checked in at the Saint Anthony hotel, which I’d booked using points. At this beautiful luxury hotel we were upgraded to a suite that looked out over a park. It was much more than we needed for one night, but we loved it.

The unused dining room in our suite

We headed out along the Riverwalk, stopping for cocktails and dinner before the show. We had bought Sarah Brightman tickets years ago, but I had a business trip and couldn’t go, so this opportunity to see her was irresistible. And she did not disappoint! She is my favorite singer, and I was on the edge of my seat through the entire concert.

The magical Sarah Brightman

We were walking on air after the concert and not ready to go to bed, so we headed to the hotel bar for a nightcap. The cocktails were creative and delicious, the perfect ending to a memorable evening.

My most interesting man in the world, enjoying his cocktail

We had one more special event planned, a fabulous dinner at Emmer & Rye, a renowned Austin restaurant we’d wanted to try for years. Joni had given me a gift certificate so we finally had our opportunity to go. From the moment we walked in, every person on the staff seemed delighted that we were there. We put ourselves in the hands of our waiters, opting for the tasting menu with whatever wines they recommended for each course.

I can’t even remember what this was, but it was delicious!

This was a seven-course tasting menu served via small, shareable plates. We loved every single thing (although Phil wasn’t crazy about the orange wine, so I drank his). And this was the first tasting menu we’ve experienced that didn’t leave us overfull and miserable! This dinner made our top 20 list for sure!

Amid all these special things, of course the best was being with granddaughter Cora on her first Christmas. We feasted, laughed, and took turns holding the baby, knowing our time with her will be limited. She was all smiles most of the day, saving her fussy time for after Honey and Poppy left!

Poppy with his Cora

 

December flowers in Austin

Our new and final Airbnb is cozy and has a great location near Zilker Park. We’ve taken some great walks in our hilly neighborhood. One morning I was walking behind a couple of gentlement who stopped to admire a garden. When I got to the garden I could see why!

Beautiful Austin garden in December

I caught up with them a bit later and we chatted about the garden and the gorgeous greens growing there. After our chat I wished them a good day. One of them replied, “Have a long and happy life.” I said “same to you!” and he replied, “I already have!” How’s that for a great attitude?

We had some cozy, relaxing days after Christmas–eating leftovers, working our puzzle, and checking more items off our “prepare for move to France” list. There is still a lot to do: selling our car, donating things we can’t take to France, getting COVID tests pre-flight, and more.

The Annual Holiday Puzzle

And then the New Year’s Eve holiday was upon us. Our friend Patricia joined us for a last visit before we leave. We like to stay off the roads on NYE, so I’d planned a special dinner, copying my favorite meal from 1993, at a cozyl restaurant near Dijon. The menu was kir royales, pate de campagne, and olives for appetizers, followed by a first course of morilles a la creme. Then came the coq au vin with haricots verts, a salad course, and the cheese course. Patricia had indicated she was bringing dessert, but we didn’t know she was also bringing a beautiful table setting. We were sent to our room while she prepared.

Patricia posing with her gorgeous table

Since we’ve been living in Airbnbs for almost a year and a half, we haven’t been able to set beautiful tables, something I love to do, so the big reveal was truly a treat! 

And now it’s January 2, with the holidays behind us and only 20 days until we make our big move. In our family, we each choose a word to guide us for the new year. Mine is NEW, and Phil’s is ADAPT. For a couple about to retire and move to France, these seem just right. And our New Year’s wish for you is that you live a long and healthy life, and that you savor every moment. 

Happy New Year!

Leave a Reply