Monday, June 1, 2009

My City

I live in a beautiful city. I loved Chicago and still miss it dearly, but that doesn't change what I feel for Austin. I have to keep reminding myself that part of what I miss about Chicago is a life and lifestyle that is no longer my own. I miss meeting friends for drinks and then walking home along the Chicago River watching the lights from the buildings dance on the water. I miss walking to shop, leisurely wandering from store to store, rarely buying anything but just soaking up the sights and energies of State Street and Michigan Avenue. I just miss walking in general- I used to walk for miles and never noticed the distance.

But now, with a Landon who is obsessed with being outdoors, who needs space to run and a driveway to draw on, Austin is the right place for us. I love our dogs, our backyard, our space to spread out, and I especially love our big kitchen and back deck that call out for dinner parties and backyard cookouts. I miss living downtown almost everyday, but I'm filled with contentment about where we are now.

One of my goals when JP is done coaching and before he goes back to business school (or doesn't, that's still up in the air) is to spend more time taking advantage of Austin. We did this little hike yesterday- took about an hour of our time, including driving there and back, and it was so fun. Landon was a very serious hiker and marched around the rocks with a focused expression.

Lovely isn't it? My never-been-to-Texas law school friends were shocked at how green Austin is, I had to remind them that Texas is a huge state with many varied terrains. We had a wonderful time together drinking margaritas, hiking Mr. Bonnell, swimming in Barton Springs, shopping on South Congress, eating Tex Mex and breakfast tacos, and talking until I was hoarse. I'm exhausted- the tequila tasting until 2 a.m. Sunday morning might not have been the best idea, but we had a great time.

And I greatly enjoyed having another photographer in the house because for once, I got to be in the pictures!

Landon was very sad to find his lady friends gone this morning. I was too. Luckily we have a long list of plans for their next trip to my new city.


  1. Austin is wonderful! We need to do Mt. Bonnell too.

  2. This is completely off topic, but... What would you recommend as a graduation gift (on a budget) for a fabulous girl just out of law school?

  3. This makes me want to move to austin even more. I have a question, diverse is it? my husband, who is from india, thinks of texas as this all-white, conservative state with a few people from central america living there and that our children who will be bi-racial/bi-cultural would have a hard time being accepted-- my experience says that austin is not like that and is more diverse and quite different than other parts of texas (excuse the stereotypes!).

    So which one of us is correct?

  4. Beautiful! Sounds like a fabulous weekend! Jean

  5. Those are great pictures (especially the ones from the hike). "Its so green here!" was one of my first reactions to Austin. Like your friends, I was expecting a desert.

  6. Seems like a good balance actually... You get to live in a city you love that is great for you and your family on an every-day basis, and whenever you visit another city you love, it will be like revisiting an amazing but expired period of your life.
    I'm at the transition now where I'm starting to realize that the things which will actually improve my daily quality of life might not be the things I consider to be big selling points in my city.
    I think you're lucky to have such a good living arrangement (or just very smart for setting it up that way!)

  7. To dcfullest: you are both correct depending on where you're talking about in Texas. Houston is actually a very diverse city- it's a port and so centered around the energy industry that it pulls in people from all over the world. Unlike some other cities in Texas, I think a majority of people in Houston were not born in Texas -- when I think about it, only a small handful of my friend's parents were born there, all worked for Exxon or Shell and that's how they found their way to Texas. Houston is also the 4th largest city in the US, so that alone brings some level of diversity.

    Austin is also fairly diverse, and even more than that, it is a Very independent-spirited, live and let live, kind of place. The University of Texas brings in students and academics from all over and since it's the "Silicon Valley of the South" there are lots of California and Asian transplants. It is also a predominently liberal city with that goes "blue" every election.

    I think Dallas is somewhat more white and Conservative. It's also a big city so there is certainly some diversity, but for some reason, it feels less so than Houston (though I should have added that I'm talking about downtown Houston and the nearby neighborhoods, the farther out you go, the whiter you get -- I think my hometown suburb was 97% white). West Texas is very homogenous and much more conservative.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that Texas really isn't the South. It's Texas. And with that comes a big more of the independent, leave me alone and I'll leave you alone mentality. It has its own past issues and tensions with race, but really nothing like some of the other more infamous Southern states. Also, while it is a conservative state, for many people it's of the more Libertarian variety than evangelical Republican (though that's still a big group).

    I can say that in Austin being bi-racial would not stand out That much, and to the extent it did, I really can't imagine it being an "issue." I believe the Austin City Data forum has many active discussions on this topic. I think it's a great place to live and would pretty heartily recommend it to anyone!