Last weekend, one of my closest friends from DC came to visit. As if I’m not a big enough draw, her real reason for coming to Austin was to run the Austin Half Marathon – conveniently located just steps from my front door. I haven’t had any visitors since school started, and it was a blast having someone here that knows me so well from home, and to be able to show her around this town that I have grown to love so much.
Since she was a good friend, she agreed to let me drag her along with me to the Big Lebowski bowling tournament – part of the Cohort Games, and sure to be a hilarious event. I had heard from the 2nd years that last year’s event was hilarious, and this year proved to live up to its expectations. People were dressed in costumes – themed everything from White Russians (Big Lebowski themed) to Elvis to the Wizard of Oz. Imagine you were in a new city, and the first thing you do is walk into a bowling alley, greeted by a huge lion. She was a great sport. The night was a great time, and I even managed to bowl okay (by my standards)…breaking 100! My team was a mixed bunch – full of people from my cohort and other cohorts, and we had a great time.
The next day was full of wandering around Austin, hitting up the shops in the Clarksville neighborhood, and then the Whole Foods HQ in downtown Austin, a necessary stop for anyone – especially if you love natural or healthy foods. Next was a trip to UT, so I could show off the beautiful campus, the building I spend all of my time in, and the Gregory Gym (with two pools including a rec pool that makes me question whether I’m actually on a college campus). The Clinton Global Initiative was taking place on campus, so there was a ton of security and a lot of buzz and chatter about celebrity spottings. We topped off Friday night with dinner at Matt’s El Rancho for the obligatory Tex-Mex dinner, and then toured Sixth Street to experience Austin’s famed night life.
The half marathon was a great experience. I absolutely love watching races, and this one was literally blocks from my apartment. I was able to see my friend at the halfway mark, and I saw tons of my McCombs classmates running in the crowd. I was holding two signs. One for my friend and another that said “Go McCombs Runners” one side, and “The stars at night are big and bright deep in the heart of Texas” on the other. I figured that all of the runners who I didn’t know could find inspiration in that! I found inspiration in them – and am considering running in next year’s race (although I find the hills a little daunting).
The rest of the weekend was spent with friends – laughing and chatting and enjoying various Austin establishments. It was so nice to be able to show my friend my life here and have her experience for herself what all of my excited chatter has been about since I came. While I’m unsure whether my plot to get her to move to Austin will work, I’m confident that she was able to see how much I love it here – and more importantly, why. Another great weekend to put down in the books, and excitement for the fun that will ensue the next time someone comes to visit!