Going home.

It’s nearly Christmas. Which means it’s nearly time where I will find myself in my grandma’s kitchen, eating black olives off of my fingers. It means I will curl up on my mom’s couch and watch It’s a Wonderful Life with the family. It means a snowshoe trip in the mountains, unwinding our tired muscles in my dad and stepmom’s backyard sauna.

Have I mentioned how much I love Christmas?

Here I am sitting in the airport, watching a Texas sunset. I have on my flannel and grey knit hat. I am ready to go home. The few people I am getting to know down here fear that I don’t make it back to Austin. That I will get swept up in all that I love in Seattle and forget about this little life I’m creating down here.

I’ll be tempted. Oh how tempted I will be.

But don’t worry Texas, I’m not done with you yet. I know you have more to offer me, and I grow more curious about you by the day. Sure, you make me tired and lonely. I am sometimes weary of your unending friendliness coupled with this realization that I have few friends down here.

But I’m still intrigued.  I want to get to know what’s so special about a Texas spring. I want to conquer a full Texas summer. I want to always have freckles sprinkling my nose. I want to soak you in.

So my short trip to Seattle will be amazing. It will be filled with friends and family. I will hold onto people too tightly. I will eat too much food. I will indulge and laugh and embrace the cold and rainy that I have missed.

But I will be back to Austin before the New Year. I will make 2013 (or at least a majority of it) the year of the Texas. The year of throwing myself fully into this big Southern state that still feels foreign in my mouth.

My last night in Austin (before the holiday) was spent at a local food pop-up dinner. I met people who care about food as much (if not more) than me. I let all inhibitions go, tried a piece of wild deer (yeah, you heard me) and toasted to local food. It was so delicious in fact that I’m not even going to post a recipe. With my recent life changes, I haven’t had access to a kitchen and have relied on the kindness of co-workers and sisters to feed me. Welcoming in my holiday season with a huge, local, decadent meal was outstanding. Just soak it up through the picture. That’s recipe enough.

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My life can be beautiful here. I can feel it, deep down.

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