We made our way into Houston and had plans to meet up with a buddy of mine from my Marine Corps days. I didn’t know he lived in Houston when we left but he contacted us through Facebook when he found out we were headed there.
He and I were stationed together in Miramar California (right next to San Diego) and had not seen each other in around 13 years. It was great to see him again and meet his buddy Ahmad as well.
We caught up on the latest and reminisced about old times in the military and some of the crazy stories that happened. We were in the band, and so as musicians we were already a strange group. Put a bunch of college-aged musicians in the military, many of whom are away from home for the first time, and crazy things happen. There were many drunken stories of course and just many moments of just very cruel humor that I’m sad to say aren’t really suitable for this blog.
After saying our goodbyes Maria and I headed over to our first Couchsurfing stay with Avinash. For those of you who don’t know, Couchsurfing is a website (Couchsurf.org) where a bunch of people either offer or look for a free place to stay while traveling. We posted on there what we were doing and that we would be in Houston and we had a flood of people offer us places to stay. Avinash was one of the people generous (or crazy?) enough to host us.
We got to his place and gave him a tour of the van and met his roommate Vaishak and their friend Kumar. All three of them were super nice and immediately went out of their way to make us feel welcomed.
Avinash is a consultant right now who travels back and forth between Houston and New York. He moved to the US a few years ago from India to train in a new job field, he had been in marketing before coming to the US and he decided to get a degree in computer science. His love for his country though and his desire to go back is overwhelming. He has this awesome idea for a restaurant in India, so Maria and I will surely visit him when he moves back and will volunteer to try all of the dishes.
He was kind enough to make a home cooked Indian dish for us (Maria said she would help so she could learn how to make it but she just took pictures) (Maria’s edit: LIES!) and was telling us about all the awesome places in India and you could just see the genuine pride he had in his home country (He practically convinced us to move there).
The three of us just hung out all night, for the most part talking with a brief interlude for a couple of episodes of Family Guy. The next morning we had all agreed to go work out but it was pouring out so we decided to be completely lazy instead (okay, it was only raining…fine it was drizziling for a second and we were just being lazy but it did eventually start to rain and even a small thunderstorm happened).
We spent the morning talking some more, discussing everything from culture, to world poverty, international development, and family. He made some breakfast and we taught him how to play a card game called Fluxx (very fun game with constantly changing rules and goals). We also share Yerba mate with him. Yerba Mate is an Argentinean tea that you drink out of a gourd with a metal straw. In Argentinean culture, it’s a sign of friendship and closeness to share this with another person.
We had to keep going, as we had another with whom to meet up. We made such a great connection with Avi, and we really hope that we’ll get to see him again in New York (his work brings him to New York every other week), if not, we promise to try our best to make it to India and visit his restaurant!
Thank you so much for everything Avi, I can already tell, your restaurant is going to be amazing!