My Journey From K-town to A-town
Before 1998, I had never thought much about ATX, The Capital City! My brother had graduated from The University (of Texas), but I never saw myself living there until…circumstances and a job opportunity came my way. Quickly and magically I went from living in Killeen, Texas, home of Fort Hood Army Base to living in Austin, “The live music capital of the world!”
To say going from K-town to A-town was a stretch, is a tremendous understatement. The only thing I knew about traffic involved the ‘backup’ when the train lumbered through downtown Killeen. Why that train could add an extra 5 minutes to your commute. In fact, I don’t think I had ever used the term ‘commute’ in reference to going to work or school. That all changed the minute I moved to Austin.
The apartment locator service I used, failed to truly explain to me the terms: Austin traffic, commute, rush hour and drive-times. When they drove me to my workplace from the apartment, it was on a Saturday and traffic wasn’t that bad. So…I signed the lease, luckily for only a six-month term, because come Monday, that commute might as well have been to Corpus Christi.
I’m pretty sure I cried every day for the first month, as I left my apartment by 6:30 a.m. to arrive at school by 7:30-7:45. To add insult to injury, the commute coming home was even worse. Slowly, I learned about merging, street closures, three different names for the same street and road rage! Gratefully, I did find a home much closer to my school, although the six months of fear was over, the traffic was not.
There are, of course, other aspects of Austin that are more endearing and yet also confusing. O.K. straight up.. I am a Texas girl who grew up in Amarillo, went to school in Waco and lived 23 years in Killeen. I did not understand what Keep Austin Weird was all about. Nor, did I ever recall seeing so many weird people in my whole life prior to living in Austin.
Men with long pink hair biking down the street in flesh colored g-strings; watching a million bats take flight from under the Congress bridge; Alamo Drafthouse; The Cathedral of Junk; Lady Bird Lake and of course, Hippie Hollow Park. I must say, neither Amarillo nor Killeen had any swimming holes that were clothing optional. (that I am aware of)
I can’t believe I have now lived in Austin for 19 years. I no longer cry on MoPac, at least not every day. I love all of the unique and cultural experiences our city has to offer, and even though I am a Baylor Grad, I root for the Horns and appreciate The University for what it is.
Austin has the most inventive, creative, rockin’, educated and physically fit citizens in the United States. Almost everyone bikes, hikes, runs or kayaks and everyone who has a dog, takes their dog everywhere.
I’m still in awe everytime I drive across the river and glance up to see the Capitol building and downtown silhouette against the sky. It’s breathtaking and I can’t believe that little old me gets to live here. I am such a lucky girl!