I rolled out of Southern California with the intention of spending a maximum of 2 years in Texas. Then I discovered Austin…and Matt…and fell in love with both the city and the man. Now the latter is pulling me onward and the former is letting me go and I am paralyzed in the middle. I am happy to follow Boz and I am so eager to explore Tokyo… and I am really worried that we won’t return to Texas and so indescribably sad to leave Pancho. I am the personification of ambivalence right now.  I love this city, but it is ‘just’ a city and this self-proclaimed adventure junkie should be ecstatic over the opportunity to spend a year in Asia. And I am. I am ecstatic. But somewhere between leaving California all bruised and confused 10 years ago and accepting a proposal from the best person I’ve ever met, I calmed down. The thought of buying a home and growing roots under the sweltering Texas sun sounds just as appealing as eating the world’s finest sushi and struggling to catch my breath on Mount Fuji. There were so many years when running away to Asia would have been the most appealing option in the world but now, now when it’s actually my reality, I would be just as content to spend every day hiking the Hill Country. I’ve lived all over the U.S. and traveled abroad extensively, but this…Austin…this is home.

I love the 8 straight months of sunny days.

I love the envelope of heat that snuggles around me when I leave to workout before dawn.

I love the health-conscious vibe and the beautiful greenbelt and the plethora of outdoor activities.

I love my perfect yoga studio.

I love the people that don’t give a rat’s ass when I wear an outfit that, in Boz’s words, ‘could pass as a Halloween costume’, to dinner.

I love the football mania (but mostly I love the day-drinking that accompanies it).

I love camping along the Frio and the coast and in the pristine (and oh-so-prolific) state parks.

I love the creativity and the music festivals and the art. I really, really love the art.

I love the unique and genuine and brilliant friends that I have here.

I love that I found Pancho here.

I love that I (finally) grew up here.

I love that this is the only place I have ever hesitated to leave and I love that I hope beyond hope that I will return.

But mostly I love that I found someone that I love more than all of this. So…I’m going to follow my man and absorb Asia for a year and I’ll probably get lost a million times and arrested a handful. And then, God-willing, we’ll come home.

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and striving, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study and the passionate possession of all Texans.”

-John Steinbeck