A night on the town, a good friend, a few plates of Mexican food, a pair of margaritas, and lots of art: that is my recipe for a great time.
It was a rather demoralizing week in the lab, so I was relieved to have excellent distractions last night in the form of my friend Amutha and plans to go to First Friday in Bryan. First Friday is a monthly festival in downtown Bryan. On the first Friday of every month, the town invites people of all ages to come out for a night on the town to enjoy food, art, music, shopping, fresh air, and a sense of community. On this particular First Friday, artBAC, a new art studio of sorts, was opening its doors for a sneak peek at what they’re doing, which is creating a space for local artists to show their work to the public. My new friend from Brazos Natural Foods is a big part of artBAC, and his excitement about the sneak peek event was contagious. I don’t blame him—what they are doing is amazing. Together, the artBAC artists have gutted the interior space of a building in downtown Bryan and they are turning it into a gallery for local artists. Last night, they welcomed First Friday visitors with wine and food and all sorts of interesting art. My grocery store friend, Jeremy, does these abstract paintings with wonderful textural qualities. I like his work—it’s beautiful and calming. And Jeremy is a sweet, friendly man—exactly the sort of person you’d want to meet when you’re new in town and eager to make friends.
My date for the night was my friend Amutha, who is also a sweet and friendly person. Amutha and I met back in September 2009 when I visited College Station for the first time to find a place to live. We’ve been meeting for lunch every few weeks since then. Last night was the first time we went out for an evening together, and I think we both needed it. We caught up over plates of enchiladas and tacos at Casa Rodriguez, a casual and much-loved Mexican restaurant in Bryan. Margaritas were only $3.50, and I’d had the kind of week where I could really use a drink. Our drinks arrived, frosty and refreshing, and as I filled my belly and sipped that margarita, I slipped into a kind of happy relaxation and the week’s frustrations faded into nothingness for a few sweet hours.
After dinner we made our way over to artBAC, where we perused the paintings and mingled a bit with the artists. It was so uplifting to hear the enthusiasm in their voices as they talked about how this new adventure of theirs came together. I’m so excited for their future, including the grand opening that awaits.
We continued walking around, meeting up with a few of Amutha’s friends, and found ourselves in front of several stalls that would not have been at all out of place at a farmers’ market. In fact, they were exactly the sort of thing you’d expect to see at the farmers’ market! I’m slightly embarrassed about this next part, but I actually bought eggs while out on the town. A dozen eggs! Who buys eggs on a night out? But we’d discovered a stall selling grass-fed beef, and oh yeah, they’ve got eggs too, from grass-fed free-roaming hens. Without skipping a beat, I was pulling out my wallet while my egg-seller found a carton containing a dozen eggs and opened it up for me to inspect: beautiful.
I thanked Amutha multiple times for her patience while I bought groceries (!!!) at First Friday. She revealed her own fondness for eggs, and now I’ve got an idea about what to make for her when she comes over for dinner. I can’t wait.
With Amutha’s two friends, we ended the evening over glasses of cold water in my living room, all of us grateful for the chance to sit down and relax after an evening of wandering and eating. My connection to this place grew just a little bit stronger, and for an evening I didn’t feel the least bit lonely.