I am going to try to be consistent with these these updates, even though I am so exhausted I could pass out right now! It was another challenging week at the office, but I think the team here is getting adjusted to the new work load and responsibilities. I did not expect to feel confusion about who I work for, or what office I work in, but I admit that having a new team to build and mold has been rewarding and I will truly miss the people here. I still participate in my research group's daily call, but I am feeling a bit out of the loop with what is happening, and in a way I feel more connected to and proud of the people I work with in Austin.
When Friday came, I was so tired, but looked forward to another weekend of getting to know Austin. After work I went to dinner at a Japanese restaurant called Uchi with some girls from work. I know, sushi in land-locked Austin would probably make most stomachs turn, but it was some of the freshest, most delicious I've ever had. The restaurant is in this charming little house off of a busy street that is hidden behind tall swaying bamboo and rattan screens. The interior is beautiful with a bold red Asian-inspired toile wallpaper and very pale, egg blue ceilings. We started with these amazing bond rolls filled avocado, sun dried tomato, salmon and wrapped in delicate white soybean paper. They were so small, and slightly smokey. I think I could eat them every day. Another memorable part of the meal was a little appetizer of tiny brie cubes served tempura-style with tart apple matchsticks and shoe string squash, served over a sweet vinegar reduction. The food was delicious and affordable. Including wine and several courses, it was only around $55 per person. A far cry from what you'd pay in Boston or LA.
On Saturday, I mostly relaxed, got my first Texan manicure and pedicure (it took forrrrrrrever - there is no rushing here!) Then I stopped into this amazing Mexican supermarket called Fiesta. I meant to take a picture because it just had so many interesting things, including authentic Mexican dresses, cowboy hats, cowboy boots, Mexican spices, dry bulk containers with everything you could think of. The shelves were also really low, and you could see over them across the entire market. There was also a place to get your jewelry repaired, a pawn shop, a small health clinic, a huge food court, and a Wells Fargo. There was a line of about 30 people waiting at the bank, mostly immigrants transferring money home to their families, I presume. This reminded me a lot of California.
Today, I woke up late and went for a 2 hour walk around Town Lake. This could be why I am so exhausted now! It was really windy today, but just great to be outside and clear my head a little. I was telling my sister Christina earlier today that it seems like everyone here exercises. One moment you'll pass a ripped, 70 year hippy dude with a ponytail, and the next, a tattooed 26 year old bartender with huge headphones will sprint by you. There are also quite a few UT athletes and others who take advantage of any of the different distance loops around the lake. I am going to try to make these Sunday walks a ritual, as it is great people watching and I have figured out a strategic way of arriving right at Whole Foods to do a little shopping for the week before I return home. Dangerous, expensive, but amazing. I could dedicate an entire post to the Whole Foods world headquarters in Austin. It's truly incredible.
Right now it is close to 10p.m. and I have the big windows in my bedroom open to let in the breeze. It's about 70 degrees out and I have not figured the AC out in this place. I am actually not sure that there is a "cool" setting on my thermostat, only a "no heat" setting... That could be a problem as we get closer to summer. I have a big tree outside of my window so I can hear the leaves blowing in the wind, as well as the fountain in the courtyard. It's quite peaceful, and the perfect sound to soothe me to sleep before an another early morning and long week.
More from me later...