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Visiting the Orbase Clan

Posted on September 26, 2010 by under Family, Travel.    

The main purpose of our Dallas road-trip over Labor Day weekend was to visit my friend Sheryll and her family. We’ve known each other for about 20 years. We went to school together and then lost touch for a while when my family and I moved to the US in 1993. She’s not much of a letter-writer. =P

We got to see each other again briefly in 1998 when Jenni, Mom and I went home to the Philippines for a visit. A few years later, she got a teaching gig in Beijing, China where she lived and worked for six years. We stayed in touch through occasional emails, phone calls and text messages, but I really didn’t have the money or vacation time to visit her in China.

Luckily, Sheryll and her husband Clayton have family in California. We planned to get together during one of Sheryll’s regular visits. The opportunity arose in February when Sheryll was attending a job fair in San Francisco. Brian had never been there (I’d only been there once before) and our mutual friend Pia, who lives in the area, was also available around that time so the three of us agreed to get together.

Our friends Jay and Becca went on the trip as well. Becca had been wanting to visit San Francisco for a long time so this was the perfect excuse to go. They hooked us up with a great hotel rate. (Thanks, Jay and Becca!) New friends got to meet old friends and we all had a jolly good time. I got to spend time with Sheryll and Pia and got to do touristy stuff as well. It was a memorable and fun-filled trip.

Sheryll ended up getting a teaching job in Dallas, Texas as a result of the job fair. Sheryll, Clayton and their kids moved there over the summer in preparation for the school year. This was exciting news for us because, now that they’re only a six-hour drive away, it meant that we could visit and see each other more than once a decade. We immediately planned a visit as soon as they got settled in their new townhouse. We went over Labor Day weekend and were honored to be their very first house guests.

Sheryll, Sam and Me
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It was a very short trip (the main purpose being to visit Sheryll, Clayton and the kids) so we didn’t get to do much sight-seeing, but we had a really great time. We got to spend more time with Sheryll’s family this time around so we got to know Clayton and the kids a little bit better.

The drive was long and boring. Brian was a real trooper, though. He let me have my way with the music so I could keep him awake with my awful singing. We had just gotten our Samsung Galaxy S phones (Vibrant is T-Mobile’s version) at that time so I used the opportunity to play with my shiny new phone and data plan. I popped in my Elton John CD and then looked up the song lyrics on my phone for instant in-car karaoke. Much to Brian’s dismay, I sang through all of my favorite songs. It’s a wonder that his ears weren’t bleeding from my off-key vocal stylings.

We arrived at about 1 PM and decided to have lunch. The kids picked Pho Que Houng, a place that they were familiar with because they had dined at the same restaurant when they lived in California. The spring and summer rolls were just so-so, but their pho was fantastic. Their prices are really low, too. Brian picked up the tab and paid only $60 for four adults and three children. After getting used to $50 lunches for two at Wasabi, we were amazed at the value that the restaurant offered. I would eat there again and kind of wish that we had them in Wichita. Tsunami and Pho Hot, though not quite as cheap, are pretty good local alternatives if you’re thinking of trying out some pho here in Wichita.


After lunch, we went to check in to our hotel. We stayed at Sheraton Dallas North Hotel, within walking distance of Galleria Mall. The rooms are normally $150 a night, but Jenni found a deal online where we could get our rooms for about $60 a night. We had to pre-pay and it was non-refundable, but we couldn’t pass up the deal. We got to stay for two nights for less than the cost of one night even after taxes and fees. The only downside was that there was no complimentary internet access in your room and the hotel swimming pool (though it was an indoor-outdoor pool) was really small. 🙁

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Mom and Jenni decided to walk around the Galleria that afternoon while Brian and I took a much needed nap. We got up really early that morning to drive down. Sheryll and Clayton had invited us to have dinner at their place so we want to rest and freshen up before coming over. Dad was tired from driving (Jenni said he had a bit of road rage – lol) so mom and dad opted out of dinner that night.


It’s a shame because they missed out on Sheryll’s awesome adobo and Clayton’s Filipino pineapple-coconut bisque dessert.


The pineapple chunks had been soaked in rum, but Clayton took Brian’s alcohol/liquor issue into consideration and made a special “unleaded” version just for him.


Brian and Sheryll

Jenni and Brian

Here are some photo highlights from Saturday night…

Girls Only Group Photo

Brian and Sheryll (left), Jenni and Sheryll (right)
IMG_2214 IMG_2215

Sheryll showed me some magazine articles featuring the Orbase family and kiddos.


What a beautiful family, right?

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After dinner, Jenni’s friend Ben picked us up and took us to Sherlocks where they have live music on Saturday nights. Ben seems like a really nice guy.

The next day Brian and I did some shopping and had lunch at the Galleria and then returned to Sheryll and Clayton’s place for swimming and a cookout. We were joined by mom, dad, Jenni and Ben.

Brian and Ching

Clayton grilled some yummy food

Sheryll and mom chatted while Clayton tended to the grill

A better photo of Sheryll and mom

Mom and Dad



The kids and their friends

Clayton and Ching
I ate mushrooms for the first time. I normally don’t eat mushrooms, but Clayton’s grilled mushrooms were delicious. I’m actually craving some right now.

Ben, Clayton and Brian

Brian and Sheryll

Sheryll and Clayton

The Orbases were wonderful hosts.







The boys wore Brian out swimming.

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After helping Sheryll and Clayton pack up, we returned to their place to visit for a little bit. The kids seemed to really enjoy Brian’s company. They dubbed him their “favorite fake uncle,” which I thought was really cute. It never ceases to amaze me how great Brian is with children.


Sam’s wobbly tooth fell out that night. She was completely nonchalant about it. She didn’t cry at all. What a brave little girl!


We had a wonderful time visiting the Orbases in Dallas and look forward to visiting them again soon. We might have to wait a little while, though. Next weekend we’re driving to Houston to attend Richard and Amy’s wedding. Stay tuned for another road trip recap in a couple of weeks. 🙂

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