I lived in Austin for almost twenty-five years and called several places home, mostly in North Austin. I have fond memories of all the places I’ve lived. My childhood home was on 360 and Spicewood Springs, a house I’ll return to over and over again for holidays. The home represented stability and quiet. While I didn’t recognize it as a child, only later, it was in a breathtakingly beautiful landscape with hills, endless oak trees, and picturesque hiking trails. I certainly had a childhood of privilege in what seemed like a giant small town. Every corner of Austin is so different, yet the city itself is not a a large metropolitan area.
Reflecting back on the places I’ve lived all around this city, I can’t help but wonder how much it will all change in the next twenty years.
My second homes were dormitories and small apartments all around the University of Texas area. My favorite apartment of all was in Riverside. I met Casey while living there, and experienced my best year in college – student teaching and finally getting to take on the career I had been dreaming of my entire life. On one of our first dates, his car got towed. I made some of my best friends while living in Riverside.
When college ended, I had a few months of bliss before moving to Russia. I worked at an outdoor camp and Casey’s dad ran a small gym. It seemed like a moment lost in time. Everyday was pretty fun, waking up to homemade smoothies from a raw health expert, to weekends at swimming holes around Austin.
There was always some sort of adventure regarding Casey’s dad and a ragtag group of athletes, from barbecues, to cast-iron experiments.
When I returned from a year abroad in Russia, I lived with Casey again near the University of Texas campus. We spent two years in a tiny apartment, where we acquired a cat and decided to move together to California. The apartment was in a great central location. I went from being a tennis coach, to working retail, to working at a call center, to going back into teaching, and discovering my love for middle school, while living in that apartment. I even saved up for a new car. Ultimately, I was glad to upgrade to California.
I’ll always describe Austin as my hometown. There were so many sweet, blissful homes there. It’s weird visiting, because you forget that so many things happened in a certain space, and you’re not quite sure it those experiences were ever real. I feel that sense of listlessness when I visit Austin again, and pass the area of my old apartments and homes.