Sunday, December 19, 2010

Houston, we have a[n]....enormous amount of laughter! :)

                Last Monday my mom and I ventured down to Houston to visit the French Consulate and get my student Visa. Bright and early at 6 am, we headed to the airport to make it in time for my 11:30 appointment. I was stressing because it was such a complicated process. I guess they really don’t want people to come to France. The point of going to Houston was to give them paperwork: one copy of this, two copies of my passport, one bank statement, two copies of the enrollment letter, one of this, five of that, and so on. It was such a hassle! I think I ended up with ten copies of everything, and only turned in two! Naturally, my mom was checking on me every two seconds to make sure I (still) have everything. When we got to the airport, my mom had on her favorite OU hoodie (with the OU in rhinestones), her purse and a bag, and I had a jacket, my purse and my bag. Going through security, we had to take off our jackets and hoodies, shoes, and all that good stuff. We stop by the bathrooms and head on to our gate. After getting on the plane and sitting in the (literally) very back, we attempt to fall asleep. Keep in mind, it was 7:45 am and for my college lifestyle, I don’t rise before ten or eleven so I was doing everything I could to keep the big old man next to me in his own area so I could catch some z’s! Towards the end of our flight, my mother snaps up with this look so horror in her eyes, and says “Where’s my hoodie? Do you have my hoodie? Have you seen my hoodie?” and frantically begins to look everywhere. Well, low and behold, my mom left her hoodie either A) in the SW Gate or B) in the Tulsa Airport Bathroom. Needless to say, the entire rest of the trip all my poor mom did was whine about her jacket. I could not believe that she lost it. I felt so bad for her because she wears it all the time, but next time I hope she learns to just worry about her own stuff (cough cough…hoodie) instead of my copies of paperwork.  Anyways, we land in Houston and get our rental car and prepare to hit the road. My mom figured it would be easier for us to have a car instead of taking a taxi. The French consulate is about thirty minutes away from Hobby airport, but we decided to leave right away since we had no clue where we were going.  Well, who knew rental cars put a $350.00 hold on our card before letting you take the car. That was a thirty minute wait we didn’t expect. Eventually we get the car and start looking at directions. Note to self: don’t use Mapquest. Yahoo! Or Google Maps is where it’s at. Anyway, my mom had Mapquest directions from the airport to the consulate. They made no sense. My mom drove and I was in charge of navigating (which was a bad idea) but we went anyway. We were headed to 777 Post Oak Boulevard, and we needed to take I-610 North, then follow exit 9 and go right, then we would eventually hit it. Well, my mom’s directions from Mapquest were wrong, but probably because she had it going from Houston International, not Hobby where we flew in. I pulled up directions on my phone and each thing was saying two different things. I decided to go with my phone and my mother had no patience. Around exit 3, we saw a sign for Post Oak Road. My mom freaks because she thinks we should take that, but I say I didn’t think so. She goes with me (smart choice) and we keep driving around Houston. The highway turned into something else and eventually we find exit 9 for Post Oak Boulevard and it is right. We find the building, and there is a HUGE sign that says “visitor parking in back”. Naturally, my mom pulls in and then complains because she can’t find a parking spot and won’t listen to me. Finally she does and she (attempts) to listen to me when finding the parking garage. We make it inside where my heart is pounding because I am so scared. After some pictures, we go up to the sixth floor and into this tiny room with 10 chairs, a round table, and two workers behind glass. We were about an hour early so we waited patiently for them to finally call, “Ms. Florence”. I got the nicest girl to do my Visa. Definitely French because of her accent, and she commented on my picture for Campus France which I guess is not a passport picture so she wanted to say something. I still don’t know if she was sarcastic or serious. It took about ten minutes to get it all, and I just gave her my paperwork, did fingerprints, and took a picture!
Good morning Tulsa!

Before the directions went bad!
I am pointing to the General Consulate.

We made it!

Me and my beautiful Mommy!


We visited NASA, too....At the airport!

When we were done we were starving so we decided to go eat. We were in downtown Houston so we definitely wanted to stay in that area. We had seen this place called Ninfa’s on our way in, and MOM decided to go there. I love Mexican so I figured it would be wonderful. We walk in and the first thing I see is a sign that says “$3 Margaritas”! I think to myself: Man, this place will be GREAT! We get seated and order our margaritas, and let me tell you, that is where the greatness stopped. The margaritas were great, but the food, not so much. We ate it anyways because we were hungry, but I think next time I am in Houston I will skip Ninfa’s! Across the street there was a strip mall type shopping center so we wanted to kill some time looking in some not very good shops! One store called Pinto Ranch had the cutest stuff if I ever were to be a cowgirl! Mom found me the cutest, best, wonderful pair of rhinestone cowboy boots….for only $1300. I bought them on the spot. Ha, just kidding! Our time in Houston was up so we headed back to the airport, of course with no clue where we were going. We had to return the rental car to the Thrifty car center which was about a mile from the airport. Apparently my mom cannot read the signs for “DOLLAR, THRIFTY” with a big fat arrow pointing right because she goes straight and then whines and yells when she doesn’t see the Thrifty car port. Our whole driving experience was full of yells, laughs, breaks, speeding up, slowing down, swerving, everything. Our flight and wait time was full of me making fun of mom because of her beautiful self when she sleeps and loses her hoodie! We laughed so much, and mom swore I was drunk, but that $3 margarita didn't do THAT much to me!  I did learn though that I was (always have been and will be) right. Mom never listens to me, but hopefully she learned her lesson and will listen to her smart daughter from now on! Needless to say, we made it back safe and sound, and my Visa should arrive in ten days!
                I am home for Christmas break, but more like two weeks left in the States! Today we went and got luggage that will “last me a lifetime”, or so it says. It is hot pink (duh!) and very light, which is perfect since I am taking advantage of every ounce I get in that 50 pound limit! I am going to enjoy my time with my mom, sister, nana, family and friends while I am still here, but I am itching to get to France. Nervous and scared, yes, but so so SO excited! I am sure these next two weeks will fly by. I am anticipating many Wal-Mart trips, many arguments, and lots of laundry! Let the fun begin!

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