Thursday, June 5, 2014

A new familiar

Something incredible happened this past weekend: Nothing. As in, we chose not to tackle any big projects around the house, there was no party to prepare and clean for, which meant no mandatory trips to Home Depot or Target or the grocery store. For the first time since we moved in, it felt like we could finally relax and actually just enjoy our weekend, even accepting last-minute invitations to hang out at different places just because we had absolutely nothing going on.

And that’s how we found ourselves at the nearby Bull Creek park, where we could hike in the nature trail and wade through the shallow but lively creek, recently made livelier by a couple days of thunderstorms the week before. It’s interesting how the Austin landscape changes with rainfall, because when we first arrived here, most of these creek beds were either completely dry or just merely – sadly - trickling water. Now, the rushing waters remind us of just how much life water brings to this world, as the surrounding greenery feels greener and resplendent, and the echoes of children’s squeals and laughter reverberate as they slide down waterfalls on their bony little bottoms, unfazed by the slight discomfort of bone against rock.

On this day, we explored nature, we played in refreshing water, we picnicked under a magnificent old tree right by the creek, and we felt like we belonged.


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BullCreekPicnic Of course I would be in the one picture that involves food

But that wasn’t the only new-to-us experience last weekend. The next day, we were invited to venture outside of Austin, to a little town north of it, to visit the sellers of our home, who have now become our friends. Yes, that is part of the amazing “how we got this house” story that is forthcoming, but the reason they sold our place when they did was because they happened upon this house in Georgetown that was in an airpark. “What’s an airpark?” you may wonder, as I did when I first heard about it. It’s a subdivision of homes that have hangars in their lots, built right by an airstrip, for airplane enthusiasts like our friends. They had to have a pilot’s license to purchase property there, which they both had.

The drive there alone was interesting because we had to drive past many vast fields of corn, a landscape that was so familiar to us in our years in the Midwest. Even Little Miss mentioned, “This reminds me of our drive to Champaign, to see auntie Roselle,” and she was right. Corn fields as far as the eyes could see. That’s a lot like Illinois all right. Until we came to the air park and their home, where the pool shimmered and the hangar was part of the structure of their home.  Wow. That’s where the similarities ended.

The girls, once they saw their pool, couldn’t help but splash in it despite not having their bathing suits, until they got so soaked that we just let them go all out. Or in, rather. Dress and all. These water babies are wired as such: See water, jump in. That’s all there is to it. Pool? Jump in. Creek? Jump in. Puddle? Jump in. Fountain? Jump in. Bathtub? Jump in. They’re predictable like that.

And that explains why they’re in this state of undress in the following pictures.


This plane is a work in progress


IMG_20140601_185819 They’re inside a beautiful, antique 1948 Stinson, which a friend of theirs flew while we were there so we could watch the plane in action, including taking off at the airstrip right by their house

So yes, it wasn’t a typical weekend for us, at least not what we’re used to in Chicago, although instead of the visit to the creek, we would’ve gone to the beach by our house there. There are certainly similarities, in an unfamiliar way, but we did do something that reminded us of our old life. We went on a late-evening date! Our first in the ATX. My Guy had surprised me by arranging for a sitter, a fellow parent with whom we would swap date nights (yay for community!), and he was excited to show me the place he chose. I have to admit, as far as firsts go, it was pretty special. We drove in the convertible with a 360-degree view of the city in twilight, the sun setting behind some distant hills and the downtown buildings reflecting the soft glow of an evening full of promises.

When we arrived at our destination, I giggled, and you’ll see why. He picked well, this guy.

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Just like our past life, we waited 35 minutes for a table, with a cocktail in hand, and we indulged in escargot, steak, and halibut on the pretty outdoor patio, where the warm air felt slightly cool in the absence of sunlight. It all felt familiar to me. This could’ve been Chicago, except it wasn’t. The view that accompanied our drive told us a different story. It was a new familiar. 

In fact, this entire weekend felt that way. The old and new intertwine to give us a sense of adventure and belonging, comfort and excitement. It was certainly our kind of weekend.  And the only thing that made it bearable when it was over was knowing that this was just the beginning.