Kaja | Traveling The South With My Dad

written by Au Pair in America November 20, 2018

Howdy y’all! A month has passed since my last blog. So I figured it’s about time to tell you about that time when my dad came to visit! A lot of you guys have asked me what I do in my free time. So far, I’ve had all weekends off, which means I have plenty of time to do fun stuff. October was a month where I had lots of free time and I decided to use it wisely…

I am a big music fan, so one thing that got me excited about living in Texas was the music festivals, especially in Austin. I grew up listening to all my dad’s favorite musicians, like Van Morrison, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen. But also my mom’s music such as Paul Simon and Tina Turner. All these different artists and genres have made my music taste a very broad one, which I love.

Even nowadays, my dad and I share our love for music: Mostly by keeping each other posted about new tracks or artists (or even newly discovered old classics!) that we discover and that we think the other one should listen to. We’ve been to a dozen of concerts together with highlights like Paul McCartney in 2015 or Jessie J and Dua Lipa last year. Austin City Limits was coming up in October with the one and only Paul McCartney headlining. My host family got me tickets for my birthday, which I was extremely grateful for, and there was only one person I could think of bringing. And that was of course: my dad. And so he flew to Dallas to stay with me for almost two weeks.

DAD’S IN TOWN!

The first weekend we went to Austin for four days. The line-up was really good and very diverse. It ranged from Metallica to Travis Scott to Khalid, Bazzi, Shawn Mendes, Janelle Monáe, St. Vincent – the list goes on and on. The festival was so much fun! We discovered new artists, and saw some of our favorites.

Austin City Limits 🎵💜

We also spent some time exploring the city. Austin is a great city, with plenty of nice people and lots of things to do. We went to South Congress Avenue, Sixth Street, Waterloo Records, Whole Foods Market, Lady Bird Lake and, of course, the State Capitol. Indeed, “everything in Texas is bigger and better”. The other great thing about Texas is the weather. Even in the middle of October it can get into the nineties (30+ Celsius), as it did when we were in Austin.

I wanted to make sure to show my dad what it’s like living in Dallas. We went to the State Fair of Texas, a couple museums, the JFK Memorial, ate lots of hamburgers! We even went to a shooting range – my host mom’s brother, who just retired as an FBI agent, taught us how to shoot guns safely. Afterwards we took part in an FBI course (where I managed to beat my dad) and we almost qualified ourselves for the FBI!

State Fair Feel

There is so much to see and do in and around Dallas, that it was easy to keep ourselves busy all the time. And don’t forget Fort Worth! It is basically a really authentic cowboy town. We went to record stores, museums, Sundance Square, ate more hamburgers, and so on. It’s safe to say that he got the real Dallas/Fort Worth experience in just one week!

PAYING TRIBUTE TO ‘THE KING’

As if that wasn’t enough already, we decided to go away for another weekend: to Memphis, Tennessee. It really is the city of blues, the birthplace of rock ’n roll where ‘The King’ himself lived and scored his first big records like ‘That’s all right’. So naturally, we turned this one into another ‘musical’ trip: with our first big stop on Saturday morning in Graceland – the home of Elvis Presley. We did a tour of his house, saw all the rooms, the office next to his house and even the garden where his grave is. It was very special to see where he used to live and where he spent the last hours of his life.

To make this ‘Elvis Experience’ complete, we went to the ‘Sun Studios’. This is where it all started for Elvis, as well as for other blues stars like BB King, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. After seeing all that, it was time to actually hear some music too! And so we went to Beale Street. Literally every restaurant there had a live band playing. It was good fun – and the food… ribs, catfish, pulled pork, fried chicken – all Memphis’ specialties, and we tried it all, of course.

Living the King life at Sun Studios 🎙

When the sun started to set, we saw an amazing night sky over the Mississippi River. Tennessee on one side and Arkansas on the other, and a beautiful river in between. It was once again a great trip, with so many new memories! And I have to mention the Civil Rights Museum too, at the former Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King was shot. Very impressive, and a highly effective way to immerse yourself in a crucial time in African-American history. Don’t miss this highlight when you really want to know everything about the USA!

SAN ANTONIO

The weekend after my dad left I went on yet another trip – this time to San Antonio. I cannot get enough of traveling! I went with one of my friends, and also for a special reason: The Day of the Dead (Día de los Muertos). To put it simply: it is a Mexican holiday where they celebrate the dead.

Día de los Muertos!

After exploring San Antonio all day – where we managed to see the Riverwalk, the Alamo, and even to go on a boat trip – we went to the Día de los Muertos festival and got our faces painted. We danced, sang and saw some performances and had a great time!

The next day, we did a little more sightseeing. Then we decided that it would be fun to stop by Austin on our way back to Dallas. We went to a state park, saw waterfalls and went on a hike for a bit. I showed her my favorite spots I had discovered in Austin. We saw the sun go down, and the bats fly from Congress Ave Bridge. Another amazing trip!

Exploring San Antonio by boat!

ADVENTURE AWAITS

For all those au pairs out there who feel stuck at home or don’t know what do during the weekend, I say: get out there & take some risks! even if it means to go by yourself. It could be as simple as going for a hike in a nearby park or flying to a different city. You will learn a lot from it, meet new people, see new cultures and have a lot of fun, too!

Howdy Ho! And hope to see you back for my next blog post in December, where I hope to tell you a little more about Rematch, travel tips but also American holidays such as Halloween, Thanksgiving and  Black Friday!

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