Hi everyone! So this is the last of my Houston posts, all about my trip and my room tour! Honestly it looks the same as last year but I have quite a few new followers so I figured I’d do another post as well as talk about my trip.
So I flew out early on Sunday, during an ice storm. My dad drove us and it was slightly terrifying but it was so early (5am) that no one else was on the road so we were fine. Once I got to the airport I found grabbed some Starbucks and then went to my gate. While we were there a guy and I both spotted open seats and we laughed about it. He also asked me to watch his bag while he went to the bathroom which is exactly what TSA tells you not to do but I totally did anyway. He was traveling with a backpack that was clearly almost empty and a neck pillow (which he could have put in the backpack) so I figured it was fine. There was also a guy sleeping on the floor.
I overheard a lady ask some kids where they were going and I can’t remember where they said but I believe they were on their way to Belize for a school thing. The lady then proceeded to say that she had been supposed to fly from Minneapolis but her flight had been cancelled so she drove from Minnesota to Illinois to get to O’Hare for our 8am flight. She proceeded to say it was the dumbest thing she’d ever done as she was driving 10mph at some points due to the snow and ice but she apparently really wanted to get to her vacation in Mexico. Anyway, boarding was supposed to end at 7:50am but they didn’t start boarding until that time so we left late.
During the flight I read the case study for my paper due the next week and outlined my paper. It was too crammed to pull out my laptop but it was fine. The couple next to me were sniffling so loud so I thought I was going to get sick too but luckily I didn’t!
Anyway then I landed, met up with the onsite guys I was working with, made fun of them for all their luggage and we headed to the hotel!
So I stayed at the gorgeous Marriott Marquis in downtown Houston. I walked in and found a mirror with two $5 water bottles there. I laughed because I’d gotten free “VIP” water from the front desk because I “waited” two minutes until someone was available to help. Oh and at check in the lady kindly read to me what was paid for and what wasn’t, and I had to fight the urge to tell her that I’m the one that enters those comments in the first place to send to the hotel. Fun times!
After I dropped stuff off and changed out of the plane clothes I went downstairs to meet the guys again and we walked all the way across the street to the convention center to start setting up. As we were doing so I got a text from my coworker that our client would probably drop by. My response? “For greetings or murder?” so I would know what to expect. I got a giant hug so we were fine. (She’s super nice, I absolutely love her so I wasn’t serious about the murder.) I eventually had to call a hotel about a problem we had but that all got resolved.
After that the guys invited me to a baseball game which I politely declined. I’d thought about going to the Space Center but it’s pretty far out of the city and the taxi would have been $50+ one way, plus it was nearing the end of the day and I’d only have maybe an hour and a half there. Also Houston Ballet had done Don Quixote which I’ve wanted to see for ages but it had only been the Friday and Saturday so I was out of luck with the ballet. Instead I wandered into Discovery Green, which is a nice park in front of my hotel. They were celebrating something and the music was great. Eventually I left to a grocery store to get dinner, as well as snacks and water for the week.
I had dinner and waited for my coworker, who had flown from Milwaukee after being delayed for hours, to arrive. Above you can see my room! I had an amazing king bed and it was quite spacious. I had a view of the oh-so-beautiful convention center roof. Btw, this isn’t sponsored, I just liked the hotel tons. Eventually my coworker arrived and we headed down to Biggio’s, which is the hotel bar. Wine may have been consumed. We chatted a good long time and then headed off to bed so we could be ready to work the next day.
So on Monday we finished setting up really quickly because everyone wanted to get to the pool. You’ve seen this picture a few times, you know I’m obsessed with that Texas shaped lazy river! After lunch at a BBQ place in the convention center and working in my room for maybe another hour because of a few other issues I headed down with my coworkers to hang out at the pool. Some sort of amazing drink may have been consumed.
One of the onsite guys ended up getting sunburnt (although when he asked in the group text if anyone had sunscreen and everyone said no he said “yolo” sooooo) and the rest of us had fun in the lazy river. It’s not really an actual lazy river, you do have to do some work because the turns aren’t great for the current. I still maintain it’s the fastest way to get all around Texas!
Oh, I should show the bathroom! I think it is a little small but overall it’s nice. It was also well stocked with toiletries. I normally bring my own but I did use some things like the hand wash and lotion which were amazing.
The next day registration opened but there was some miscommunication for who was covering for me at the office that they found out after I’d left so I had to spend the day doing my office job instead of my onsite job. Eventually we closed up and we all headed out to dinner at Biggio’s. We talked about the day and everything that had been going on before we headed off to bed since we had a 5am start time the next day.
I did get to use TV in the room during the week. I watched House Hunters and finally got to see Shark Tank and Naked and Afraid. There were a few other shows I watched like a few episodes of The Office, a tow truck company show on Discovery I believe that was in Canada, and a baking show at some point. It was fun! I also used the desk for some work and for eating haha.
The next morning we headed down super early and got to work. This was our longest day, I worked almost 15 hours that day. Overall for me it was a good day, although there was some confusion among attendees about badges and the temp staff was still learning. But it was a good team and we did just fine. I ate at the convention center all day (the client offered breakfast, lunch, and dinner and I ate quite a few meals from them). Our project manager arrived that day as well so once the day was finally done we headed to the pool deck. By this time all the teams competing had arrived and it was super busy. The pool bar was closed by the time we were off work and the kids were busy turning the lazy river into a roaring rapids so we then headed up to my coworker’s room and she may or may not have shared her bottle of wine from the hotel with us.
Oh! I nearly forgot my favorite corner! I had a lovely couch that I did offer to my coworker who forgot to change her check-out date when her dates changed. Luckily that was resolved but for a good 12 hours it was a fun joke that she could pick my couch or share our client’s suite.
On Thursday we continued to work the registration desk and my onsite manager let the other two onsite guys leave early but I stuck around until the end of the day to get more hours. I was able to walk around the show floor for some of the younger teams and one of the kids asked if I was competing in the high school level. He became my favorite because he thought I was young enough to be in high school. Up until two years ago I was constantly asked if I was 16. Now the youngest I get is 24. Yeesh. At the end of the day my onsite manager, my coworker, the project manager, the account manager, my department’s manager, her manager, and I all headed across the park to a restaurant for dinner. We had a great time, and we may or may not have had margarita’s. At this point in the story I would like to say that my coworkers asked me how many drinks I had during the week I was onsite and I asked how many I snapchatted. They replied 2 so I said “yup, that’s right, I had 2”. (I’ll share a secret with you, it was more than 2.)
My onsite manager and I headed back first as we had to be up the earliest and on the way to the hotel a girl yelled out to us that “YOU’RE THE PRETTIEST PERSON I’VE EVER SEEN”. I said thank you but she could have meant my onsite manager. He didn’t say thank you though so I’m going to claim it for me.
Oh here’s a corner of my view with as little of the convention center as I could manage.
On Friday most people headed out. The project manager, account manager, and my coworker left, which I was quite sad about. I got out early that day and my manager and I walked around the high school team’s area and watched a few matches of the robotic competitions before heading out. We then ended up going to an Italian restaurant and had a wonderful dinner. She’s not my direct manager anymore, but she had been for quite some time so it was nice to chat and catch up as we’ve both been crazy busy leading up to this event. We talked about work, about life, about school. She also told me I should travel more and I can’t be mad about that because I agree!
Saturday was the last day of the event and by this time my manager had left too so it was just the onsite guys and me. We weren’t too busy as most people had already gotten their badges so we started packing up slowly throughout the day. At the very end of the day we had exactly one computer left and the moment 6pm hit we shut it down. By this time the convention center was empty as everyone had moved onto the Minute Maid baseball park down the street for the closing ceremony. Two of the onsite guys had found a bar and we all went over to the place they found. It was amazing! There were comic books and gaming stations everywhere which was great. There was also a basketball game so people were watching that too but we started to play Super Smash Bros. Eventually we did leave pretty early as we had to get up early the next day for our flights.
Sunday we just got ready and headed to the airport! After we arrived and got past security the guys found breakfast and I found Starbucks. They all flew back to DC while I headed off to Chicago. I talked a bit with a student and a mentor on a robotics team that was also on my flight (they’re from Hong Kong) and it was nice to chat with some people attending the event for a bit. On the flight back I pretty much slept the entire time which I didn’t intend to do. I thought I was going to pull out my laptop and do my paper but I was so tired! My parents picked me up from the airport and we went out to lunch before dropping my dad off at one of his client’s home. He had my car there so he could drive himself home and my mom and I could take her car home.
Our client came out and it was the first time I’d seen him since last year at the end of the landscape season. He even gave me a huge hug of relief as he thought my dad had said I was in Houston preparing to move there! We chatted about how the winter had been for him and his wife, who are both older and have had health problems in the past few years. Luckily they’re both doing well, and after catching up my mom and I headed to some stores as she was looking for a few things.
We got home and I intended to write this post and start my paper but I actually started feeling so tired that I couldn’t do it! I decided to nap for 1-2 hours but ended up sleeping for 12. I had the next day off so I did my paper and my other homework on Monday and I’m so glad I got all that rest! I’m convinced that’s the only reason I didn’t get sick because I did feel ill each time I woke up during those 12 hours. I would wake up, try to get up, and feel unwell so I just rolled over and went back to sleep instead. I love travel but it really knocks me out!
And that’s essentially what I did that entire week! As you can see, it was mostly work but there was fun mixed in there too. I have to admit, even though I was wiped out I felt such FOMO when I saw the posts on Twitter and Instagram the next week of the event in Detroit.
So have you traveled anywhere recently? What did you do? Let me know!
Thanks for reading!
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