I find that so many people are asking WHY Austin Texas?!!! I wish i had some kind of thoughtful answer… but truthfully I pulled up a map of the U.S. and basically ruled out the cold… I grew up in Michigan and i’m not a fan of going back to the cold. I also wanted to be close to a lake… again, I grew up in Michigan and I miss the lakes, they were truly a source of joy growing up! I also realized that living in California means ‘no land’… seriously , when I tell people I live on an acre here in California… its as if I found and own the” holy grail…”.Nope. I know when my neighbors come and go…I need acre..age… ’cause you guessed it, I grew up in Michigan! We used to give directions to places in miles! not in the number of Starbucks…(don’t get me wrong I’m a big fan of Starbucks!! they saved my life with coffee just this morning!) But as many ( read ALL…) have told me “Texas is hot”….oookay… here in Sunny California for the past couple of summers it has been 90 degrees and above (110)… that is hot!! Not crazy Arizona hot…but HOT nonetheless… !! next the comment ( and I’m not kidding, If I could get 5.00$ for each time… I’d be a crazy rich woman….but since nobody pays … I’m just crazy…wink!) anyway…”its really humid”…ooookay… again, I grew up in a state surrounded by water…i’ve seen walls on the inside of houses ‘sweat’… I know humid… it will be okay and of course I’m a big fan of air conditioning!! smile! Then i’m told the list of wild animals and snakes …yikes!! Well… I’m brave, I’ve lived in Michigan and California and I know that there are many definitions of ‘wild animals’ and certainly of ‘snakes’….
I also find others try to comfort me with the crazy decision by telling me … “well, Austin is progressive…and you need that because … you know…you are , well, your artsy…” hmmm okay… I’m totally good with that… I get it , I do! ! I’m a 6 foot, mostly vegetarian ( i eat chicken.. don’t start with me) tree hugging, animal loving , Buddhist…! … Lets be honest, that’s a whole lot of ‘different’ anywhere I would choose to live….!
I’ve actually only been to Austin twice and since my mom will be moving with me we went together to scope it out… So… we get off the plane and a gentleman helped my mom with her carry on before I could get to it…nice… then off to the baggage area…again another gentleman got the bags off the turnstile when I was reaching for them , tipped his hat and said “not a problem”….whaaaa???? I left mom with the bags ( yes, I know how that sounds…) and went to find the car rental in another terminal.. I went through the automatic sliding doors and the heat and humidity hit me… (we went in August) and I said aloud…(thankfully no one was close by) “oh hell no!”…. sigh… and off I went to get the car… I was mad! seriously …Mad…over weather?…I was going to need wine and meditation!
Later that day, We met our Realtor, Rhonda Riley… ( yes I love the alliteration!) and she drove us??? !! What? in California they would rather you follow them..or meet them… so this was totally odd to me… she undoubtedly thought I was nuts because I kept saying “we have a car”….”you don’t have to drive us … ” and so the process began… I find i’m very “california” in my attitude… I’m guarded…( i’m also the daughter of an attorney so I can only answer a question with a question … and with suspicion…) As this lovely woman is trying to find out about me and what i’m looking for … i’m thinking…. nope nope nope… as we are passing the various pawn shops and tire places… nope. ( holy moly my princess was rearing her ugly head) But as the stars align.. I find out that Rhonda is an animal lover!! yes!! I can carry on a conversation about animals… !! whew! She took us around that first day to see a couple of the houses… that evening as mom and I were getting ready for bed I said…” I hate it here”… yikes!! Mom said, “okay, I’m happy wherever you decide as long as i’m close to you and the girls… so just call Rhonda and tell her we are leaving tomorrow and this isn’t for us”….yay!!
… hmmmm…. as I sat crossed legged on the hotel bed… I looked at the the sheets of houses and info Rhonda gave me… water close by … CHECK… place for mom and her animals.. CHECK… Land for me to build and start a business…CHECK… no associations so I can have my dogs and my business…CHECK… crap. I realize there is nothing wrong with Austin,…. its ME. dammit. So I decided to take off my California girl panties and put on my big girl adventure panties!!
The following day, we saw more houses and spaces and places than I can even recall…. ( of course I can’t remember if I had lunch…) and my perspective changed. I love love a project, I’m not happy here , paying for ‘good weather’… its just dumb. I don’t live a cool California lifestyle , at the beach, surfing and all that stuff… and the cost of living in Austin is 57 percent less than it is here…. i’m good with that!! When the “hot humid ” weather becomes too much… I can afford to go somewhere!!
So i’m choosing Austin… I’m completely excited about the idea of starting again… i’m also completely terrified… i’ll be moving my Mom .. her 2 dogs and 2 cats and my 3 dogs… its a whole other feeling of terror to be so responsible for so many, when I will be so alone. Maybe that’s why I decided to share this journey!!