Wednesday, July 9, 2014


There’s never a dull moment around here…

This week, we’re playing hosts to friends from Chicago. They’re our second guests; the first arrived from Chicago two weeks ago, and we’ll be hosting another in a couple of weeks. In between all of that, we also had a little Fourth of July pool party with our local friends, and we’re planning an ice cream social to get to know our neighbors in the next week or so.

All that to say, things are a little summer-hectic in the Landed household, which means we’re busy in a really good way, with friends old and new bridging the gap between our previous and current lives. It’s been wonderful to see familiar faces on this side of the world, and while we’ve been showing them some parts of Austin that we know, we’ve also ventured into unknown territory with them. Tourists, all of us.

It’s both exciting and affirming for us, because the more we see of this city, the more settled and happy we are with our decision to be here. Sure, we miss Chicago like crazy sometimes, but that’s a given. You can’t be someplace for 16 years without it having a hold on you in some way.

Thankfully, we have plenty with which to distract ourselves, and here are the highlights:

The weather
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After years of weather that fluctuates quite a bit from day to day, it’s nice to see that, even if it’s a bit warmer than I like, it’s consistent here and that summer is summer—hot and sunny. When it’s this predictable, it’s easier to establish a routine, like explore the outside in the mornings, stay in for the afternoon to avoid the peak heat, and swim in the evenings. Not a bad way to enjoy the season, if you ask me.



Fourth of July


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I asked My Guy to get some kind of 4th of July decoration, and he came home with a flag. I suppose that works. Together with the trifle that the girls and I made, we were all set with the festive making. Yes, we’re all about subtlety here, folks.


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  Good times


Sparklers now, fireworks later in the evening, although Little Miss and I were the only ones who drove to see it; the other two passed out in bed.


First time for everything



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A toast to our long-distance friendship

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Summer, the ATX way – water and more water

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My brave little explorer



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Drinks at sunset (while My Guy puts three kids to bed at home – he’s sweet like that)

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The girls’ first time at the Texas State Capitol. They wanted to see the inside of the big domed building; I wanted the air-conditioning. Everyone wins.

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The House Chamber and Gallery

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The Lone Star


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Outdoor BBQ and live music – can’t get any more Austin than this

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Friends since high school, and now business partners

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This is accompanied by fancy cocktails; it’s our kind of double-date night

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Yes, the meat was as good as it looks. I like that the restaurant, Freedmen’s, is housed in a historic building, built by freed slaves. Hence its name.


Tonight, there will be some sunset drinks again, and we hope to hit a different nature trail or two with our friends before they leave this Friday. I love that, despite the hot season, we can still always find something to do here. Everyone eventually learns to adapt to their environment, after all. Burning sun? Find shade and water. And BBQ, apparently. Clearly, we’re adapting well.

A flurry of activities in the heat also means the girls and I are now a deeper shade of brown and My Guy is, well, a little less white. Growing up in Malaysia, having fair skin was prized above all features –“Look! She’s so fair, so pretty,” and sometimes I catch myself cringing at my darkened arms until I remember where I am and snap out of it: Wait a minute, who cares? Now, I look at our skin that is turning a deeper, richer shade with each day, and what I see is the evidence of a summer well spent.

And that is a beautiful thing.