I never lived outside a 3-hour radius of my hometown in the Midwest. But when I turned 22, I graduated college, got married, packed up and mailed (yes, mailed) all my worldly possessions and moved to Austin, Texas, knowing not a soul. I left my husband in South Carolina — where he’d be going to school. It was just me. Alone. In the middle of Texas. Without a car.
This city caused me angst I’d never felt before. I had my only mode of transportation — a bike — stolen from me. My grandfather, who’d made plans to visit me because he wanted to see me in my new city, died before he got the chance. I pulled 80 hour work weeks to make rent and cried almost every night because my husband wasn’t there with me. And for the first time in my life, I hated school. Hated learning in a classroom.
Austin sucked. A lot.
But having been gone from there a couple years now….I so get it. Austin is a city full of passion, full of life, full of constant change and growth and quirk and spirit and humor everywhere. The joke is Austin’s native bird is the crane because there is always construction. Development and experimentation define this city. Not everyone’s happy about it, though.
I took this picture on one of my first nights out with new people; we were all strangers to one another and strangers to the city. We went for a walk along the lake south of downtown, and in the background (behind Congress Street Bridge, home of the largest urban bat colony in North America), you can see development. The crane in action. A change in the skyline.
The only way to grow and to change is to have that angst and struggle. Austin and I? We were growing together, figuring each other out. It was right where I needed to be, and it will always occupy a huge chunk of my heart. ~Kelly Jensen