You may recall, two years ago, when I met my pen pal, Angela, in person for the first time. Yes, that’s right…I said pen pal! I wonder if kids even know what those are these days? Crazy as it may be, we met on my wedding day after 18 years of writing and keeping in touch with each other. She lives in Tucson, Arizona, and I grew up in Maryland, eventually moving to New York City. While, it was absolutely amazing she flew all the way out to the East Coast for my wedding day, I wished that we had gotten more than 10 minutes to speak to each other. So now, two years after our first brief meeting, and 20 years after we first started writing, Zack and I headed out to Arizona for the first time to stay with Angela and her boyfriend, Leon, in their Tucson home.
Angela’s entire family blocked off their Friday night to welcome us with a wonderful homemade Mexican feast at her Nana’s home on their family ranch. Back in the day, they hosted roping competitions and rodeos here, and there are still many folks who keep their horses on their stable grounds. It was so awesome to finally hang out with Angela, meet her entire family (minus one sister who wasn’t in town…we missed you!) and see the place and land where she grew up and wrote from all these years.
Saturday, they gave us the grand tour of Tucson starting off with the Sonoran Desert Museum. I must have repeated a million times “I’ve never seen anything like this!” mostly in regard to the huge giant cactus, err saguaros, that littered the desert. In the museum, we also saw tons of other flora, fauna, and animals. My favorites were the coyotes and the prairie dogs…so cute! After the museum we stopped at The Mission, which is the first Catholic Church in Arizona, and also the oldest European structure in the state. It was extremely beautiful and special to see. For more info on the history of the Mission, click here. We grabbed lunch in South Tucson at El Torero, a yummy Mexican local hotspot, and then headed downtown to do some exploring. The city is extremely artsy and many of the shops displayed a “Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead” theme. Angela, actually had one of her paintings displayed in a gallery downtown which was really cool to see. I am so proud! We drove past Angela’s elementary school, St. John’s, where she wrote me my first letter. It was really interesting to see how different the architecture was from my grade school, St. Mary’s. Saturday night, we attended a Live Theatre Workshop, which turned out to be a hilarious performance, and we ended the night with a fab dinner.
Sunday, we were sad to leave, but also excited to continue on to Phoenix on our state-wide tour. We had such a blast in Tucson, and it was so much fun getting to know Angela in person. She is exactly how I thought she would be from her letters over the years, and we all got along wonderfully. I am so grateful to her and Leon (as well as her entire family) for being such amazing hosts, and I look forward to having them come out to visit us in Brooklyn sometime!
Angela and I on her Grandparent’s Ranch
From left to right: Me, the hubby Zack, Angela, Leon, Angela’s parents
The sun shining down on Angela and Leon’s house
The four of us at breakfast on our last day in Tucson
After our 10 day hiatus, Zack and I are now back in New York, and I am completely overwhelmed by the amount of photos I need to go through! I have so many updates for you regarding our trip to Arizona, and this is only the beginning. Stay tuned through this week and next for photos and stories of our travels, outfit posts, and more.
In other news, Happy 2nd Wedding Anniversary to my amazing husband! Can’t believe we were saying our “I do’s” two years ago. Tomorrow also marks 8.5 years that we have been together. I am so very lucky to have him in my life, and I am excited for what this upcoming year will bring for us. We have embarked on so many journeys together so far, and I can’t think of a more exciting and important one than parenthood.
Have a great week everyone!