Christmas in Dallas

I finished my first semester. My trade final was a nightmare, my finance final was actually quite okay. I haven’t gotten my grade yet for finance, but I got a B in trade, which in our program is pretty horrible. Oh well. And I got a B+ in IR theory, which I’m disappointed about because it was my favorite class. But I got an A in globalization and in intensive second-year Arabic.

My class wrapped up our semester by going out on the town, of course. Monkey Pope stopped into town to see me, so I took him out to campus, showed him the Exorcist steps and The Tombs (our local bar/restaurant from which St. Elmo’s Fire was based), and then we headed up to Adams Morgan to Café L’Enfant for some crépes and Delerium Tremens, on Monkey Pope’s recommendation. After that, we all left and walked up the street to proper Adams Morgan. Some bar’s girls tried to serenade the dudes in our group to enter their empty bar, by shaking their booties in the window. The rest of us were going to meet up with other classmates up at a shisha joint up the street, but we ended up stopping in here. Just as we were about to settle down, hilariously the Israeli dude in our class got in a verbal scuffle with the bartender because the bartender thought his American passport looked fake. So then we got kicked out and I stayed behind for a few minutes to smooth things over with the bartender. Hah, oh well… First time we’d seen the Israeli dude cause a scene!

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So then we ended up at Soussi, where we should’ve been. We took over a few couches upstairs and ordered a double apple, single mint hookah for some smoking. Friends were in rare form: Marcos, the Mexican, was shaking my hand most of the night, as we promised grand plans for the future in our hopefully illustrious careers. Monkey Pope was doing his PTSD bit with good effect. Jen was hilarious and talkative as usual and looking quite fetching. And that’s all before Itzbeth and Jodi arrived from their private dinner party

Jodi actually lives down the street from me here in Dallas. Literally like twenty minutes away. We decided we’d drive back from DC together, for a road trip. I was rather surprised, to be honest, since she had said long before she wasn’t planning to go back home for Christmas.

Jodi brought her iPod and bought an FM transmitter to play it on my radio. We spent the next few days listening to her singing.  We stopped at my grandma’s place and had dinner with her and my cousin Rose, and her boyfriend. We also stopped in Memphis, on Beale Street, and had some barbecue. Beale Street was strange; music was blaring out of bars, but the street itself, closed to cars, was completely empty.

I met her mom again (I’d met her mom and dad separately in DC) as I dropped her off at home. I went home and had dinner with my parents and brother at Luna de Noche.

The next day I came over to Jodi’s for dinner with her parents, where we ate lamb chops and challah and salad and pumpkin. I also went with my mom and got my Christmas present: an iPhone. It’s quite a beautiful piece of work — it lives up to all the hype. The touch-screen is silky smooth, and I set up Mail to sync with gmail using IMAP. The Safari web browser is perfectly functional, and several of the main sites I use (Facebook, Bloglines, Google) have special iPhone interfaces. Text messaging is far better with a proper on-screen keyboard than with A9 on regular phones. The design is slim, so it fits better in my pocket than even my previous phone, a Samsung flip phone.

Naturally it would be nice if it supported 3G also. Ability to cut and paste would be nice. You can’t load My Locations from your Google Maps account yet.

And the day after that, Jodi invited me to watch the Cowboys game at her uncle’s house. So I met a couple cousins, her uncle and aunt, and a few cats. Jodi and I shared some Thai food, edamame, and a Cowboys victory.

The last night, Jodi came over and met my parents briefly. It’s been quite surreal being together in Dallas, having been enclosed in a DC world for a semester. Later, we met up at a karaoke place with her friends for a brief drink.

I spent Christmas Eve shopping — the traffic was surprisingly not too bad. For dinner, my mother got her customary birthday dinner: lobster with some salad and bread and wine. I had a steak, but promised Jen that I would try the lobster this year, since she’s a true lobster fan. My mom generously gave me bits from the claw and from the tail, as well as some of the green goo. It was all not that bad, but mainly the butter helped. I reported back to Jen that it was quite alright, and that I liked the tail most (duh).

We had a delicious cake for dessert… What was it now? Chocolate mousse walnut cake? From a local patisserie down the street, where there’s a new complex nearby with a bunch of quaint little shoppes.

On Christmas Daniel’s girlfriend came over while I helped my mom with a few preparations for Christmas lunch. We watched Elf a little bit, prompting a scene when my dad took some tangerine syrup my mom had left over from her dessert to make some tangerine mojitos. “Would you like some more syrup in your drink?” “Does syrup have sugar in it?” “Yes…” “Then YES.” Oh, us. We’re so hilarious.

We opened presents. I had already gotten my iPhone, but I also got a massive atlas from my brother that I’ll have to carry back to DC. I got a David Sedaris book, a Chalmers Johnson book (evil American empire), and a Bill Gertz book (evil allies helping our enemies), and a delightful illustrated book “Percy Gloom” from Julie. Thank you. =)

Lunch consisted of little brioches with liver, date sauce, and pomegranate seeds (which my mom taught me to extract quickly); prime steak; spinach; salad with Stilton and a walnut sauce; and for dessert, a Bavarian cream tangerine cake with candied tangerine peels on top. Delicious!

We all went into food comas later and slept. My college roommate Daniel came over later that evening and we caught up on things. He brought over his little Pomeranian and let it run around while we had to hold our dogs, much to me mum’s annoyance. I noticed the difference between an Austinite’s conversation and a DCer’s conversation.

Yesterday I went and saw No Country for Old Men by myself. A very good movie with great acting. Competent characters, and delightful Texas dialogue. I should take some of my New Yorker friends to see it.

I also bought a little adapter for my iPhone since its headphone jack is recessed and won’t work with normal headphone jacks.

That night my dad and I ate dinner with my buddy Slavek and his wife and her family. I had lobster ravioli in Jen’s honor. My dad and I finished the evening by arguing about President Bush in what is becoming our annual Christmas argument.

Today I have a few errands to run and then on Friday I will go home.