Christmas season has officially begun! Last weekend Katie, my mom, and I flew to Arizona for a “pre-Christmas” celebration with Katie’s family. I had never been to Arizona before and found it to be pretty nice. The trip started off on a strange note, though: as we left Houston on Friday, it was actually SNOWING! This was the earliest snow on record in Houston and, frankly, I didn’t believe that it EVER snowed here until I saw it with my own eyes and felt it on my own eyelashes. Wild! I’m glad we got out of there because I wouldn’t trust Houston drivers on snowy roads. I suspect that people would be overconfident in their huge trucks and SUVs and not drive more cautiously.
We arrived in Phoenix in time to meet Katie’s family and my mom for dinner. The weather was cold but very dry. Then we all caravaned to the houses we had rented for the weekend in Sedona. Sedona was really beautiful, with big red rock formations in every direction. The terrain was so foreign to that of places I’ve lived and been before that it seemed almost other-worldly.
Saturday we mostly putzed around Sedona, walking around and seeing the town. While the ladies shopped for arts and crafts, Katie’s father and I snuck away to a microbrewery to sample their wares and watch the SEC Championship game. It ended well (Roll Tide!) so I’d call the day a success. In the evening, Katie’s sister orchestrated a wonderful vegan dinner for us all and we exchanged gifts.
Sunday morning began with stockings–Santa somehow managed to find us three weeks early in Arizona! Then we drove up to the Grand Canyon, which none of us had visited before. Wow, was it ever impressive! It was very cold and windy, though, so most of our peeks at the Canyon consisted of parking the car as close as possible, sprinting to the overlook, taking pictures, and then sprinting back to the car. One of the overlooks was significantly below the parking area so we had do sprint down to it, then sprint back up afterward. I was excited about the sprint back up as it was a clear Rocky opportunity. However, I found myself completely unable to yell “Adrian!” at the top since the 7,000 feet above sea level rendered me totally breathless.
Monday we returned to the airport but stopped in Phoenix first so I could meet with an IMD alum who is commercializing a really cool wind energy technology for the developing world. Although networking was not a driving factor in my decision to attend IMD, it has been great to see that it really is a significant benefit.
It was a short weekend but a very good one. Getting to know Arizona was interesting, seeing the Grand Canyon was inspiring but, most of all, it was just wonderful to celebrate Christmas in such a warm family environment. Happy Early Holidays to all!