Week 14 update

February 18-24, 2015.

This week we wrapped up a fabulous stay in New Orleans and headed toward Texas – stopping in Baton Rouge and Lafayette along the way. We stayed in Houston for the weekend and then onto Austin. We were lucky we had many friends to visit this week (and as it turned out, new friends to meet as well).

Highlights:

The day after Mardi Gras (we were feeling stellar of course) we headed to help on a post-Katrina rebuild project with the St. Bernard Project. We met Kate from Delaware and spent the day installing closets with her.

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We visited an old friend of Erin’s from Nova Scotia who now studies in Baton Rouge. Thanks for showing us the university mascot Jill and Barry! Yes that is a Bengal Tiger like the one for “life of Pi”.

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Near Lafayette, Erin was keen to visit the Acadian village depicting the early years of the Acadians who were expelled from Nova Scotia (just a few miles away from where Erin grew up) and then settled in Louisiana.

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The painting below shows Blomidon in the background, a similar view to one from Erin’s parent’s house. It was quite something to see such a familiar sight so far from home.

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Erin spent some time talking with Charles Goulas (shown below in his shop). His background is Acadian and they spoke a little French (which was very different from Quebec French but somewhat similar to Chiac which is the English/French blend heard most in New Brunswick). He said he still keeps his heritage alive through language and cooking – like cow tongues.

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The next stop was Houston. One of the little-known rather unique things to visit in Houston is a house decked out in beer cans. John Milkovisch was an eccentric man (with a very supportive wife) who got pretty crafty with putting beer cans to good use on the outside of their home. It certainly looked like a labour of love.

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We also visited the Waugh Street Bridge to see the bats come out at dusk. Let’s face it, neither of us are that patient unless the pay off is big (and it was mediocre).

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We attended the Unitarian Church science lecture which discussed the intersectionality of health and how some of their case studies found unexpected results (e.g. poorer people being healthier on many metrics possibly due to activity level, social connections, active commuting, etc).

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During the church lunch we met a fabulous woman, Leonora Hamilton. She has had such a rich and varied life (social change, education, the oil business, being a Unitarian minister and more). She was such a treat to speak with. We pegged her about 20 years younger than she really is – a sign of smart living. Leonora invited us out to dinner at Ginger Cafe with her neice Diana. What fun!

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She invited us back to her beautiful home in the River Oaks area after dinner. We loved this resilience reminder she had posted in her kitchen.

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We visited with another high school friend of Erin’s (well, they met at Legion Leadership Camp in 2000) who is now living in Houston. Josh – your humour ages well!

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As we were driving from Houston to Austin, we saw an adorable tiny house being towed behind a truck. We looked up their slogan “tiny house, giant journey” online and found that this couple built this house and was touring around the US. They had an open house lined up in Austin the afternoon we arrived so that was our first stop.

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We love the idea of tiny living (and have been testing it out through this van trip). This couple – Guillaume and Jenna – did a fabulous job on the structure and details of their home. It definitely had everything that was needed to live well. You can follow their journey at: http://tinyhousegiantjourney.com/. We’re hoping to meet up with them again in California next month.

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Then we headed to our friends Kim and Kyle’s place in Austin where we’ll be spending the week. Awesome couple! Erin is Kim’s Canadian equivalent and vice a versa for Kim (both into co-ops, serving on boards, facilitating workshops, doing personal projects, crafting, etc). Erin and Kim caught up over Thai food (as is their tradition wherever in the world they meet up).

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Stats:

2 US states this week (LA, TX), 20 in total during the trip
1021 kms this week (634 mi), 11239 total on the trip (6984 mi)
Spent $577.19 this week, $11807.63 total

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