16 March 2011

Spring Fever

With all of the ups and downs of the past year regarding my career switch-from applying to several alternative certification programs around the country, to interviewing with Texas Teaching Fellows and taking my state exams, to applying to a dozen districts in the Austin area, waiting to learn my fate in the coming budget cuts may be the most unnerving.  It will be bittersweet to have made it this far, and complete my certification, yet find myself unemployed.  As nearby districts like AISD make their cuts, the competition for available positions will increase and I could easily find myself fighting for a waitressing job like I was last summer.

Spending my spring break in Austin, remembering why I fell in love with this city last year, is helping to keep me calm.  My mom arrived Friday and Joshua and I had four days to show her the best parts of this city.  We took her to Kerbey Lane Cafe the first night and drove her around campus and the strip of Guadeloupe, a highlight for her was the Party Barn, the drive-thru liquor store.  On Saturday, we walked the growing number of booths of the farmer's market and listened to the live music while enjoying a fresh baguette and hummus from The Mediterranean Chef.  Then we headed to South Congress where we wandered through art galleries, vintage shops and more before savoring crepes from one of the many amazing food trailers Austin has to offer.  We went out to take in the circus of 6th Street for the start of the South by Southwest festival, and mom loved it!  We danced to live music at Friend's and Joshua got his locally brewed beer at Lovejoy's.  We capped the night off with fried goodness from Whataburger, mmmm!

Yes, when people visit Austin, they find themselves eating and drinking a lot.  It is hard not to indulge in a city filled with such culinary creativity.  On Sunday, Joshua and I showed mom some of our own inspiration with cornbread waffles for breakfast, along with apple compote and Joshua's French press.  I took her to the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center where we walked a few miles and took in the rustic southwest landscape and some gorgeous spring color and smells.  The bluebonnets were vibrant, and the Mexican plum trees smelled incredible.  Next up, we took Geppetto to the dog park at Auditorium Shores where he barely escaped from an overly excited, mud-covered spaniel.  Once he was worn out, we headed to Whole Foods on Lamar where we had trouble decided what to treat ourselves to.  We sat outside and talked until dusk, then we realized we should get home to Joshua.  He was starving, so we ended the night with pizza from Conan's and a movie-Blades of Glory, to end our night with laughs.

We slept with the windows open every night and woke up to sunshine and the sound of birds singing, I love spring!  On Monday, mom and I slowly made our way to the capitol to join the other spring break tourists for a tour and a little history lesson.  As if the Texas capitol didn't already look big enough, I learned that most of it is underground, making it the biggest state capitol by far.  Joshua picked us up and we headed west to Lake Travis for sunset at The Oasis, which a few of our friends recommended.  It was a spectacular view of the lake and the sunset, and with more decks and tables than I have ever seen before, we were not surprised to learn that it is the 3rd largest restaurant in the US.  So, it is true, everything is bigger in Texas! :)

Tuesday, we slowly got ourselves together and my heavy head told me that all of this time outside has not been welcomed, my allergies were kicking in.  Of course, the bottle of pinot grigio last night while we watched The Fighter, probably didn't help.  Mom and I took Geppetto for a walk around the neighborhood and Joshua made his famous Pad Thai for lunch, yum!  On the way to the airport, I took mom to Toy Joy to see all of the cool toys and enjoy some homemade cubano/vanilla softserve.  Just a few more tasty calories for the road, which she seemed to like as much as I did.

It was hard to say goodbye to mom, but I am so glad that she was able to stay as long as she did and she had the chance to fall in love with this city too.  Showing her around reminds me that moving here was a good decision, and this last year has been a positive experience, no matter what happens with my job.  Taking risks and setting high expectations brought me to a career that I love in a city full of new tastes and sounds and sights to discover.  I look forward to taking in as many more as I can in the coming days of South by Southwest with Joshua...Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye, vegan cookies, mmmm, can't wait!

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