Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Austin March 24th 2009
Let’s do a bit of “flash forward” for a bit, shall we? We’ve been back in Austin for a little over two weeks now. For the first week I was just disgusted by our old house. It was SO dirty, the yard was in shambles, the kitchen and bathrooms looked dingy…it was just a mess! Plus my first job was scrubbing the woodwork so that Lee could paint it so I was at insect level with the floor and the worst of the dirt. But now I’ve gone on to painting the walls, and slowly things are coming together. As each room gets the woodwork and then the walls painted it starts looking brighter, cleaner, and more inhabitable. It’s very satisfying.
This weekend they laid new sod in the yard. The yard was just a horrible mess. Our house sitter had gotten a large dog which just KILLED the grass. There were SIXTY bags of leaves in the yard! Not to mention all the fallen branches from the live oaks…just pitiful. Now with all the trash hauled away and the beautiful sod in place it really looks nice.
As one thing gets done, it makes all the other things that still need doing really stand out. So the green new yard highlights the filthy deck. The clean painted walls point to the dirty, scuffed floors in distain. The new stove and microwave demanded a matching new dishwasher as well. And on it goes…
Today the new carpet was installed in the bed rooms. It REALLY looks nice. I’ve had a bit of a dread and reluctance about moving back into the house. Because of our situation I’m very hesitant to get attached to it again since its entirely possible that we’ll turn right around and move back out of it sometime in the next couple of months. Of course, it is also possible that we’ll be here another five years! It’s a very unsettling situation, but I am getting used to it. Really I think things will get more settled, one way or another in the next few months.
By some sort of crazy blessing from the sports gods we’ve managed to return to the US right in time for the NCAA College Basketball tournament, and this year Mizzou is doing quite well. Their coach is in his third season at Mizzou and this is the team’s first time in the tournament since 2003. We’ve made it to the Sweet 16 and although the last game gave me a headache from the stress I’m totally delighted. Every game we win from here on is just icing on the cake.
I’m having fun with running too. Austin is such a great town to run in, especially this time of year. I’m running in the Capital 10k this Sunday, just for fun. I’m not doing any serious training yet. Once Sarah and I pick a half marathon for late summer / early fall for sure I’ll get myself back on a definite schedule. But I AM starting to introduce myself to some speed and hill training techniques. Its fun - breaks up my weekday runs and makes them more interesting. I’m either running in the neighborhood close to our service apartment or heading to Town Lake on the weekends. There are so many beautiful jogging and hiking trails in this town.
Spring is really underway in Austin. The wildflowers and blooming trees are just starting to appear. They’ve had some rain in past week that has really helped the wildflowers. I’ve taken some pictures, but really want to take pictures of the bluebonnets when they are at their peak. I’m going to be like the Japanese – running out onto the median on The Capital of Texas Highway (the wildflowers bloom all over the highways here) and snapping pictures like a mad lady!
As for my mental state, well it’s funny. Most of the time I feel fine, but little things can set me off and bring either tears or laughter. Last weekend we went to the China Village shopping center for a bowl of Pho at a Vietnamese restaurant there. This shopping center is very Asian, with signs in Chinese and a grocery store that has everything a homesick Asian could possibly want, from red bean ice cream to durian! I got a lump in my throat at the signs in Chinese and could have wandered around the grocery store for hours just drinking in the sights and smells. I wanted to go up to the very few westerners we saw and ask them where they had lived overseas! Ha, what an assumption! But they were all wielding their chopsticks expertly, so I don’t think I was entirely out in left field.
Except for occasionally fearing that I’m about to turn into on-coming traffic, or puzzling shopkeepers by trying to hand them money or credit cards with two hands, I think I’m adjusting pretty well so far. I’m not expecting this to be an overnight affair, but I also don’t think I’ll suffer THAT much…there’s a part of me that misses everywhere I’ve ever lived, and everyone I’ve ever known. There’s a part of me that holds onto everything and hates to let go. I was always the last one at a party to leave the room…