What I Learned My First Year Living in Texas…
Can you believe it’s been an entire YEAR?! This time last year we were spending our first few nights in our beautiful new home in Austin, Texas. I’ll admit, I don’t think I necessarily had the confidence in our bold decision back then like I do now but deep down I knew without question it was the start of a wonderful new adventure. Fast forward one entire YEAR and Austin is officially home. Based on the lack of particular furniture items in my home you might not physically recognize it as being a home (STILL team no coffee table over here), but it’s home. To find a place where we feel so positive, so uplifted and hopeful is something my little family is so very happy for and looks forward to continuing to cultivate in the years to come in our home. Mainly me, I look forward to buying a coffee table. Who knows, maybe year two is the year of the coffee table.
All jokes aside, a year has absolutely flown by. I remember my mom telling me how fast it would go and I’m not sure I fully comprehended the actual speed at which 365 days could zoom by in front of my very eyes. Granted I was in a different place in my life when we first moved here - I had a full time job I was juggling, I didn’t know anybody, wasn’t sure where I was going to workout, etc. - but nevertheless a year has come and gone with tremendous speed.
As someone who grew up in California and spent (at the time) my 28 years of life in that state, moving to a completely new state was certainly challenging and scary all at once. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies last year. While I say we’ve never looked back since moving here - which is true, I never wanted to physically return to the place from which I came - there were still plenty of moments of uncertainty. Moments where I wondered if I made the right decision, if I was ever going to make friends or find my community in Austin. All of which are still ongoing paths I’m walking but after a year of exploring them - and not to mention changing up some of my life circumstances - I finally feel like I’m moving in my stride.
So what did I do in a year? Yeeesh, a whole lot. Like a LOT. *Please refer to latest Instagram reel @almostfabme for more details.* So I won’t bore you with the details of all the restaurants we explored, the antique stores we frequented, or the day trips we made - although I guess let me know if you do want me to get that detailed on any of the above?! - I will dive into the things I learned after living in Austin, Texas for one whole year. Most of which are very silly and perhaps even totally wrong (don’t come for me fellow Austinites!) but as a lifelong Californian (cue the SNL music), I’m sharing what one year in ATX has taught me.
1. Austin is a food lover’s paradise - and that’s coming from a self-proclaimed ‘non-foodie.’
2. Austin is also a coffee lover’s paradise. Now THAT’S something I can get behind.
3. And finally, Austin is a vintage lover’s paradise. Take it from this little vintage/antique/thrifting loving soul of mine.
4. Not all H-E-Bs are created equal. The ones that are good are gooood though.
5. Turns out it does get cold in Austin (cue ice storm imagery).
6. Insulation for your outdoor pipes is a necessity - get some BEFORE the storm comes and everyone and their mother can be found in Home Depot wiping out the entire supply.
7. Water activities will be your best friend for a solid six months out of the year. At least.
8. Most people who live in Austin are not from Austin. Don’t be ashamed of your transplant status (Unless you’re a Californian bringing all your ’California vibes’ and not the good kind - then maybe consider keeping that one to yourself).
9. South Congress is not an accurate reflection of Austin - it’s where the tourists come to experience Austin. Not a bad thing by any means, just take it with a grain of salt.
10. Rodeos are a religious experience. Go.
11. As is the State Fair actually! It’s also in Dallas so keep that in mind when planning your outing.
12. Everything truly is bigger in Texas. Don’t take my word for it, check out the Texas Sized Donut courtesy of Round Rock Donuts.
13. The weather is unpredictable. Again, cue the ice storm followed by 75 degree weather mere days later.
14. It’s one of the dog friendliest cities - people bring their pups everywhere! I mean everywhere.
15. Dog allergies are a thing and can be heightened by this crazy weather.
16. The Austin airport is one of the best in the world. And I’ve seen some airports in my day.
17. However, finding good, direct flights out of ATX can be challenging. Might need to put in a little bit more work when it comes to your travel plans.
18. Not all Austin ‘must-try’ food destinations truly are a must try. Don’t be surprised and do your homework first.
19. During the summer, AC is on blast EVERYWHERE you go (indoors) so be prepared with a light sweater/jacket if need be.
20. Events at the Moody Center require AMPLE time for parking or pre-arranged parking situations (i.e. pay for parking ahead of time).
21. Sunday is a day of rest, or the Lord’s Day - truly. Low key and slow vibes everywhere.
22. Yes, those are birds you hear. They’re called grackles and they’re loud AF.
23. The thunder here is some of the loudest I’ve ever heard in my life. My life!
24. Texas drivers are an aggressive bunch. And that’s coming from someone who lived in LA for 10 Years!
25. Smoothie King. That’s it, that’s the lesson.
26. Texas Tags are worth it! There’s a lot of tolls in this state and sometimes having the Texas Tag can save you significant time in your commute.
27. When you go to Amy’s Ice Cream for the first time (and you will), whatever you do get the Mexican Vanilla flavor. You’ll thank me later.
28. Ever heard of Buc-ees? Again, you’ll thank me later.
29. The town is painted orange during the UT football season. Hook ‘em, Horns.
30. Gas truly is cheaper in Texas. Remember when it was $6+ in California? Yeah, I’ve never seen a 6 in front of my gas price. Ever. Probably not even a 5 actually.