It's hard to believe, but this week marks ten years that my family and I have lived in Austin, Texas. It took forever for me to refer to myself as a Texan, because I was a proud Iowan. As far as I was concerned, I only lived in Texas, temporarily. I would return to Iowa someday.
My wife and I, and my then 16-year-old daughter, moved to Austin in late August of 1999 from Des Moines. On the day we left, the weather had been unusually cool, but once we hit Texas, temperatures skyrocketed to something crazy like 110. I remember feeling like I was going to smother under the weight of the sun. My skin burned, and I was astonished by the number of people who were actually outside jogging. My shirts were perpetually damp from sweat, and I gave up on the idea of ever smelling fresh again. No amount of antiperspirant was a match for Texas heat.
Those first few years in Austin were the most exciting time of my life. Everything was so new — new job, new apartment, new people. Dishwasher! The apartment we moved into was brand-spanking new and it had a dishwasher. It was the first time in my life I'd ever had such a convenience. There were new places to eat, new stores to shop, new parks to explore. Every day served up a new adventure.
We've been here ten years now, and we love Austin today the same as the first day we move here. I can say it now, "I'm Texan."
For the next week or so, I plan to write about my journey to Austin. What brought my family from the corn capital of the world to the live music capital? What were our highlights over the past ten years? The low points? And what's on the road ahead?
Pictured: I tried to find the perfect picture to post, one of my wife and family when we first moved to Austin, but I couldn't find one. The picture above is of me and two of my three brothers on the day before I moved to Austin, at a going-away party given by my extended family.