It's been a week since I arrived in Austin and I have a lot to say about this city. In short: Austin has terrific music. Music makes people happy. Happy people are nice. Yesterday I caught myself wondering something I've only ever wondered about San Francisco, which is: why would you live anywhere else? I know, that's a loaded question, and to be perfectly honest the fact that I could barely support myself in SF is one of the reasons I probably could never move back there. But life in Austin is so incredibly care-free and fun, it's someplace I hope to visit throughout the rest of my life, and maybe even live at some point.
My corporate apartment is comfortable and only about a 10 minute walk to the office, which is a good thing since I've been spending most of my time there. This job is going to be a challenge but I'm trying to take it one day at a time, one project at a time. The people I'm working with and training have been great so far. I think that we're going to have at least a month of growing pains as we transition project work from our New York, Boston and SF offices to our colleagues in Austin. Many of the people I am training have never worked with clients before, so in addition to the challenge of learning the subject matter of each project, there's a big "client service" learning curve. (sorry for the work lingo...)
The apartment is also a few blocks away from 2nd Street which has some nice boutiques and cafes. It's all brand new, like less than a year old, so it seems a bit contrived, but it's really neat to see things being built and developed in this city. Yesterday my colleague David (who also went to Hamilton with me), was nice enough to pick me up and give me a tour of the city. He's been so good to me and has invited me to go out every night and even watch the Super Bowl with him and his friends today. David has lived in Austin for a few years and shared all sorts of fun facts about the city. One interesting story has to do with Pres. Linden Johnson's wife. Legend has it that, in the last years of her life, Lady Bird Johnson donated massive amounts of money to the city and UT to convince them not to build a skyline. She said she wanted to be able to look down Congress Avenue and have an unobstructed view of the State Capitol. Unfortunately, the moment she died, tall office buildings and condos started flying up, and today every street you walk down is the site of some sort of large construction or development project. Maybe people felt guilty about doing that to the former first lady, so they recently re-named Town Lake "Lady Bird Lake". Hopefully she's got a good view of the Capitol from Heaven.
After driving around the city and seeing some neat neighborhoods, David and I stopped in to a restaurant/bar called Doc's where we ate and drank in the 72 degree sunny weather. I felt like I was in California and couldn't stop smiling. A few other people from GLG met us at Doc's (people in our office here also hang out socially all the time). After drinking outside for 4 hours, we decided to leave and check out some of the cools shops on South Congress. Some of you have heard me talk about Allen's Boots, and maybe some of you have even seen the boots I got there last year. Allen's is an Austin tradition, and a must-see for anyone visiting this city. I think, like me, people aren't even there to shop, but to take in all the rows of colorful boots and leathery smells. Some of these boots are true works of art and can cost as much as $5,000. After Allen's we went to a handful of vintage clothing stores, and I have to say they are some of the best I've ever seen. I definitely plan to spend more time on South Congress as it's a really great part of town.
Today I am going to go for a run along the river/lake (no one can really give me a straight answer as to what this body of water is). But whatever it is, there are trails all along it, not unlike the walking and biking trails along the Charles River or even Chrissy Field. Then it's back to work in the morning and I hope to have more to share throughout the week, or at the very least, next weekend after some new adventures.