Austin, Austin, Austin! That is the second half of 2014 for me in three words or less. I’m so glad we made our move to Austin this year. Austin has been exhilarating, challenging, and ultimately very rewarding. I remember being jolted upright by the realization that chasing your dreams was, like, A LOT of work. So much work. And yet the hard work of chasing my teaching dreams was easier than delaying them any longer.
Austin gave me a chance to grow. I learned how to live (mostly) peaceably with two roommates after living alone for a decade. I learned how to run my own business. I learned how to combine finances with my partner. And I’m still learning what exactly I need in this new freelancing lifestyle of ours to make it really work for the long haul.
And with that, let’s check out my favorite photos from July-December of 2014. (For Part One of this series, click here.)
* July: July was our last month in College Station. Leaving was a bittersweet experience. I knew that it was time to leave, yet I was sad to see that chapter of my life draw to a close. As much as we all made fun of College Station, it was still our home, and we had a comfortable life there.
The photo above is from an evening at Hullabaloo Diner, legendary for its menu and train-car-turned-diner restaurant space. We played Connect Four while waiting for a table; that’s Paul checking out his next move. I love that photo as a reminder of the fun night we had with friends; we were out celebrating our friend Matt’s birthday, and it was an altogether great evening.
* August: In August, we settled into our new home in Austin, and Paul and I got busy working on our professional websites. I spent much of August studying chemistry and genetics, trying to get ready for the fall 2014 semester. In August, we discovered (via a friend) the riverfront trail that runs along the Colorado River in Austin. The trail quickly became one of my favorite spots in Austin. That’s me on my bike up there in a photo snapped by Paul.
* September: In September, the fall semester started and I worked on marketing our various tutoring businesses. The photo above is from Spider House, a groovy coffee shop near the University of Texas. Courtney and I went on several field trips to advertise our services, including the Austin Writing Shop, and I snapped a photo of the art at Spider House.
* October: October was a crazy-busy month for me, as the semester kicked into full speed and my tutoring schedule filled up. I was so happy to have paid work because it meant I was doing it! I was making a living as a freelancer! It meant I was adding value to people’s lives using my teaching skills.
It was pretty great. But it was HARD, too, in ways that I could not appreciate until I started doing it. I didn’t have much time for blogging, photography, or any of my other creative hobbies, but I did spot the gorgeous roses at Whole Foods one day, hence this photo. We can always find a few moments to appreciate beauty, no matter how busy we are, right? Right.
* November: Another photo from the riverfront trail! We figured out that the trail can be used to ride to west Austin, to UT’s campus, and to downtown Austin. I think this photo is from a UT/downtown trip. In this photo, you can see some of the downtown buildings through the branches of this wooded part of the trail.
November was a great month. I was pretty busy with work for most of it, but tutoring slowed down during the week of Thanksgiving, and I had some much-needed time off. Paul and I celebrated my birthday with a long bike ride and a trip to downtown Austin for Anthropologie and fresh juice and snacks at Whole Foods. It was a low-key celebration with my love, and it was perfect.
* December: December was by far the hardest month of 2014. I was crazy-busy with work and worried sick about our house’s financial health. I got pretty worn down by all the stress, but about a week before Christmas, work slowed down, and I was able to calm down and recover from all of it. We had a fantastic party on New Year’s Eve as we said good-bye to 2014.
The photo above was taken from one of the bridges that crosses the river from downtown into south Austin. You know I can’t pass a pretty sunset without taking a photo of it, and this one was no exception. Austin is such a pretty city, with great views all around. I look forward to exploring the city more, hopefully on foot and on bike.
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2014 was a banner year for me. I achieved a lot of goals and survived big challenges. 2015 might not be quite so exciting, but it might be even more rewarding. I’ll be sharing my 2015 goals soon. Until then…