We just wrapped up a 2 week visit to Texas for the Holidays.  We spent time in Austin, Waco (visiting Chip and Joanna Gaines) and Dallas with dear friends and family and for the first time ever, Eugenia and I both concluded that, “maybe we could live in Texas”.  Now let’s set the record straight, we have no plans to move to Texas but given the weather, the cost-of-living, and proximity to family, it’s on the radar as a possible destination in the post-kids-in-college milestone.  We’ve always Cline Yen Family.jpgconsidered living internationally again, and so moving to Texas would meet that goal!

We started our trip in Austin staying at the Cline’s new home.  Perched on top of West Lake Hills with a panoramic view of the Austin landscape, the house is modern, welcoming and pretty much amazing.  We enjoyed catching up with the entire Cline family, running daily on the Lady Bird Lake Trail helping Eugenia and Keaton prepare for their half-marathon, and getting the premium experience at the Trail of Lights festival.cline-collage

And no visit to Texas (or to the South) would be complete without eating some finger lickin’ BBQ.  Warning: Vegetarians may want to skip over the next picture below…

There really isn’t anything better than BBQ done right, and Salt Lick BBQ does it right!

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We were treated to a delicious BBQ dinner with the Wuerch Family and spent a wonderful evening catching up with Ryan, Shawntel, Brennan and Bryson.  While we miss seeing them in Bellevue, they are doing well with the transition to Austin.  Ryan’s start-up is on the cusp of GA and we enjoyed hearing the progress and seeing the new product in action.  Can’t wait for the official launch!

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We had a relaxing time in Austin, getting a bit more acquainted with the restaurants and cafes in downtown.  Vacation time is about just letting events unfold at their own pace.  And by doing so, you sometimes get the unexpected…

20161221_193953860_iosMathews Elementary with one “t” just like our Mathew!  Mathew wasn’t as thrilled at this find as we were but we still made him get out of the car to take a picture by the sign.

Or this head-scratching video that makes you think, “Did they really think they would be able to get this thing through the streets of Austin?”  We think it’s an airplane wing that they’re trying to transport but it’s one of the longest wings we’ve seen.  The oversized truck backed up traffic for over an hour and we had front row seats until the police officers made all the vehicles turn around and disperse.

We also enjoyed a beautiful sunset while visiting with Eugenia’s Mother’s 3rd Brother and his Wife or in Chinese our Jiu Fu and Jiu Mu.  The Chinese language has unique terms for each family relationships based on paternal-maternal sides as well as elder-younger positioning so we always spend the first several minutes upon meeting relatives trying to figure out what we should call them!  Jiu Fu and Jiu Mu in this case.20161221_234432465_ios

We departed Austin headed to Dallas where we spent the Christmas holidays with Agong Lin and Amah Lin, along with Cynthia’s family and Kerri.  But along the way, after over-dosing on HGTV episodes of Fixer Upper with Chip and Joanna Gaines all break long, we had to stop by Waco, Texas and visit the famed Magnolia!

Perhaps because it was the Christmas holidays, but we were disappointed to find the Magnolia Store crowded and commercialized — definitely not filled with one-of-a-kind treasures but mass-marketed and mass-produced items.  So we spent most of the time outdoors, enjoying lunch and coffee at the many food trucks and stretching our legs before the ride to Dallas.

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We arrived into Dallas, checked into our hotel, and then walked over to Kerri’s new condo only a few blocks away.  We got to spend a lot of family time together, playing mah-jong, eating good food and playing video games (mostly the youngest generation of cousins).

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We did manage to see some sights, in-between mah-jong rounds and Mathew, Serena and myself spent an afternoon at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza where President Kennedy was assassinated.  Very cool museum where you can really get a sense of the state of America (the attitudes and feelings of Americans) during JFK’s presidency.

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This plaque was part of a speech that President Kennedy planned to deliver as he drove towards the Dallas Trade Mart that day on November 22, 1963..

“WE IN THIS COUNTRY, in this generation, are – by destiny rather than choice – the watchmen on the walls of this world freedom.  We ask, therefore, that we may be worthy of our power and responsibility, that we may exercise our strength with wisdom and restraint, and that we may achieve in our time the ancient vision of “peace on earth, good will toward men.”  That must always be our goal, and the righteousness of our cause must always underlie our strength.  For as was written long ago: “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.”  – JFK

We also managed to spend a few hours the next morning at the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum before the kids mutinied and made us take them to lunch.

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So that’s it — our Christmas 2016 travels to Texas.  R&R time with great friends and with dear family.  Onto 2017!