I left you all with the tease about tacos and the gospel, and indeed, I met a group of 8 folks at Maria's for spicy food, live music, and Sunday afternoon dancing. I indeed felt blessed :). Since then I've been busily doing what I do here in Austin while trying to fit in as many sites with as many people as possible. There isn't a thing I can think of that I'd like to do (except jump in the ocean) that can't be done in Austin. I've even joined a "Francophone" group but I've yet to have the time to get there! See below for a few highlights of the past 2 weeks.
There were many comments/queries regarding my current seasonal job. Honestly, I don't mind the job itself a bit; it's relatively mindless and there's nothing that can't wait till tomorrow. In fact, when I was 4 or 5, a favorite "task" of mine was to organize my mother's penny can into groups by date or by sets of 5 or 10 or more. I didn't realize what great job training that was. I am literally perusing, organizing and moving nearly a thousand pieces of paper daily by category.
I have to say that the people are as nice as can be, and I'm lucky to be sitting near a tax examiner who writes short stories; we've bonded. However, there is a food obsession among many that reminds me of Seinfeld's "birthdays at the office" episode.
I'm now past 3 weeks and expect to see 3 more weeks before I say "au revoir". It's the schedule and "lock-down" that's just too inflexible. There is no flexibility to the 7:30 am - 4:00 pm scenario (which I haven't done in about 17 years), and once I'm in the office, there is no wi-fi, no leaving at lunch, and no Web access. Tight security for understandable reasons but as one gal said to me, "Does this patio feel like a jail yard to you?".
Right now I have 19 items on my "to do in Austin before you go" list, and with an estimated departure date of May 17th, I really can't keep going to work! Austin reminds me very much of Portland, OR in the mid-to-late 90s, and I'm so lucky to be here now. It is indeed in heavy gentrification mode with astronomical housing prices and continued sprawl. I've even been hearing people say, "Why do the Californians have to move here and ruin it?". Flashbacks to Portland and Seattle.
I must say that housing aside, I am in glee with how cheap it is to live here. Eating out is a $10 investment vs. $25. Produce is amazingly cheap (there is no limit on how much asparagus I will consume here). My favorite wine is a pinot noir at $3.15/bottle; NOT on sale. Gas is still $2.12/gallon at Mobil, and O'Malley, I haven't paid a single toll in 5 weeks! Between the job income & the prices, I'm living high off the hog, baby! Until next week ...
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover