A new place and a new job have ways of humbling you and encouraging you and humiliating you, all within a swift few moments that stretch into days, and weeks, and then, just like that, normalcy. Suddenly your house smells like you again and your driveway is familiar and your neighbors recognize your face. Home sneaks in through the cracks and before you know it the new place and the new job are just where you are and what you do. Your eyes adjust. Your brain adapts. And just like that, home is built.
I’ve been in Austin for almost four months now. When I moved, I was ready. I left quickly, without much fanfare and moved into a strange house with a strange man for a roommate, and a new job waiting in the wings. The change has been difficult at times, as this kind of thing generally is; it has a way of teaching leveling lessons that bring out the worst of us in the best kind of ways. I’ve learned a lot of new things about myself and it seems that each day the list continues to get longer. But isn’t this the point of the whole thing? To evolve and adapt and remember the process, and then say thank you very much, thank you very much.
I’ve learned that I’m an incredibly impatient driver. I’ve learned that I am prone to killing plants. I’ve learned that I’m awkward when making new friends and at my best one-on-one. I’ve learned that I continue to be terrible at dating and that I am perpetually attracted to the same kind of man, over and over and over. I’ve learned that I really do love dogs as much as I say I do and that I really do despise sushi as much as I thought I did. I’ve learned that I won’t wait in line longer than fifteen minutes, no matter how stellar the food truck. I've learned that there is something to be said for living around the corner from a banjo player who serenades me on my evening walks. I’ve learned that I prefer to commute by bike as long as I don’t get a flat. I’ve learned that breakfast tacos truly are a gift from above. I’ve learned that tattoos just really aren’t my thing and that I’ll never be able to stay on top of the indy music scene. I’ve learned that I should probably just stay away from liquor and that it’s ok to stay home all weekend and read. I’ve learned that seeking the quiet is as important as ever and that prayer continues to keep me sane. And I’ve learned that loneliness is a complex situation that requires the courage to endure it and not just the wits to go around it.
Yes, Austin is a wonderful place to live. But it’s wonderful because it has provided me the opportunities to make mistakes, cultivate my responses and watch myself grow.
Food trucks, be damned. I’m here to learn what it feels like to build a home.