I've been putting off writing this post because I'm not sure where to start (and also because I just procrastinate). All of these pictures are from Instagram because I left the real picture-taking up to Dillon this trip. I only took my actual camera out twice, and I haven't even uploaded those pictures to my computer yet. Instagram is much more convenient all the time, but especially this trip since 1) I was the hostess with the mostest and 2) was too busy trying to keep track of thirteen bloggers, also 3) didn't feel like carrying my camera because 4) I've been to Austin a million times, so 5) probably already had a picture of [insert thing here] anyway.
My two weeks in Austin were chaotic, just complete madness sometimes, but I wouldn't trade it for anything. I was needlessly stressed a lot of the time–worried that no one was having a good time, continually getting led astray by my phone's GPS, pestered by feelings that I was annoying everyone else. Which was stupid. As everyone reminded me, and as I would have told anyone else had they been hosting: As long as we're together, it's going to be a good time. And it was. It was great.
Nicola arrived first and stayed the entire two weeks with me at KaCee's apartment where she not only got witness how weird KaCee is, but how weird KaCee, Melany, and I are together. I'm sure we scared her, but she never tried to escape, so it couldn't have been too bad. I made sure to take her to Target, where she bought a lot of cups, and the day before more bloggers arrived the three of us took her to the beach. We got caught in the rain and had piña coladas, and also witnessed a man throw a child to the ground to save a parrot. KaCee found the bikini lady shirt of her dreams, and Nicola had her first Blizzard. We buried Melany in the sand, and later she was pooped on by a seagull.
It was cloudy and rainy for the first four days. Last summer, of the ten days I was in Seattle, it did not rain once. But, naturally, in Austin–a place that averages 300 days of sunshine a year–it was raining. In fact, it rained so hard on Wednesday (the day that Lina, Miguel, and Natalie arrived) that Natalie's flight was delayed. Over the next couple of days, I took them to some of my favorite restaurants (Snack Bar holla), a few vintage shops, and the Museum of the Weird where we saw the Minnesota Iceman.
Shelby, Sam, and Dillon arrived on Friday. That evening we ate at Galaxy Cafe and explored the graffitied walls of Castle Hill where Dillon injured himself on a piece of rebar, naturally. After we doctored Dillon's ankle in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, we went to the Velveeta Room where we all laughed at the (mostly inappropriate) comedians and I had the best rum and Dr. Pepper of my life.
Saturday we went to Schlitterbahn, which was a disappointment, honestly. It was a weird day. I'm not sure what it was, really. It was just weird. But the day ended wonderfully with all of us gathered around a table at Magnolia's, eating pancakes and telling stories. As I said last year, the meals were my favorite parts in general, but this one especially made my heart feel full.
On Sunday, everyone else arrived, which was an adventure as we navigated our way through Austin in three separate cars. We ate at Torchy's where Dillon took an incredibly unflattering picture of me shoving a taco into my mouth–something I still have not forgiven him for. We drove to watch the sunset at Mount Bonnell. I, admittedly, did not realize beforehand that climbing a hill right after eating tacos isn't the smartest move, but we made it up okay. Shelby and Sam only hated me for a couple of minutes, anyway. We ended the night with Amy's Ice Cream and talking in the hotel room, where a lucky few of us witnessed Dillon prowl across the bed and panther scream at Natalie. ("Remember that time Dillon panther screamed at Natalie?" is the new "Remember that time Shelby stuck her foot in a public toilet?")
The rest of the week was spent taking them to (even more) of my favorite places in Austin as well as a few places I'd never been before. (Unfortunately, the rest of the week also consisted of scattered goodbyes. Let's just suffice it to say that I hid in a corner of Uncommon Objects and cried after Shelby and Sam left, and that I definitely shouldn't have taken Dillon to the airport by myself.) There was a lot of shopping and a lot of good food–so much good food.
On the last night, those of us left sat at P. Terry's for a good while asking Nicola questions about life in England. ("What about that show Skins? Is that realistic?") Then we went to see the bats emerge from the Congress Bridge, which was actually incredibly cool, and I finally made good on my threat to take them to the Capitol building, which was beautiful as usual.
So yes, those two weeks were full to bursting with food, exploring, friends, laughter, tears, and all the other emotions. It was insane. It was perfection. I miss you all so much, and cannot wait to see you again at Shelby and Sam's wedding. Hopefully this year goes by as quickly as the last did.
P.S. For more pictures, quotes, and the like, take a look at our Tumblr.