1. I-35 is a parking lot. No matter the time of day.
Born & raised in the Los Angeles area... I grew up around traffic. Six lanes in each direction, 'stop & go' was a guarantee for the morning (6-8AM) and evening commutes (4-7PM) on any interstate. However, Austin's stretch of I-35 doesn't care about the "normal" commuting hours, the time of day, what exit you're looking for or if it's even the weekend. It is CONSTANTLY packed with cars (& trucks - #Texas).
Whether its 10AM on a Tuesday or 2PM on a Sunday, the standstill exists. It took me 20 minutes to drive 3 miles into work on Monday morning. THREE MILES. That's it. There were no accidents or even construction delays - just simply, overwhelming volume.
Why? I haven't figured that out yet. Solution? Leave earlier. Or scooter.
2. Bring your own bags to the grocery store.
I learned this the hard way. Twice.
I had heard a lot of great things about H.E.B., the Texas grocery store, and was interested to see what the hype was all about. The food looked good... and there's plenty of locally-made items which I'm all about. But I filled my cart only to find out (once reaching the checkout counter) that if you want bags to put your groceries in, you will be asked to buy them if you didn't bring any yourself.
I do have reusable bags somewhere... but until I unpack that particular box (wherever it may be), I'll be dishing out 25 cents a bag and overloading my arms with anything that doesn't fit & making the trek back to the car. Better for the environment (which I'm all for!), but another quarter short in my wallet.
3. Holy humidity.
The suburbs of southern California, the foothills of Colorado, the plains of West Texas & the high desert of New Mexico... none of which see any major problems with humidity. Moving to central Texas --> HUMIDITY PROBLEM.
I've been here a whole 10 days and have not stopped sweating since I stepped out of the airport. Yes, it is the hottest time of the year. And yes, I realize the differences in climate will take some getting used to. But no one can truly prepare you for a heat index of 106 degrees. I feel like there's a constant layer of salty water on my skin at all times. And I stick to everything.
Afternoon errands --> shower. Walk to coffee --> shower. Take the trash out --> shower. Dinner --> shower.
I've now come to accept that I will be a heaping sweaty mess of melting make-up & uncomfortable perspiration until October. Real talk.
4. This town was made for BBQ & happy hours.
On every street in Austin, you'll more than likely find a local restaurant with a unique flare & another with a sign labeled "Texas BBQ". I have begun eating my way through this city and have found no shortage of delicious food & instagrammable cocktails. From South Congress, to Downtown, to Rainey Street, there is a little something of everything here. And let's not count out the dozens upon dozens of food trucks in pockets all across ATX.
How do people not eat out for every meal here?! And even if they do, how do they not let it show?! I'm well on my way to a 'freshmen 15' -- a good 15lbs in my 'freshmen' year of living one of the best food cities in America (IMHO).
5. People are friendly - for no reason.
Some call it 'the Texas way'... but the fact that people are willing to strike up conversation for no other reason than to be kind... can be a little off-putting. At first I was skeptical... but I now find it refreshing. From my movers... to the guy behind the counter at the dry cleaners... to my new co-workers... these people are truly nice just for the sake of being nice. No agendas. No hoping for something in return. No tip in exchange. They're just... nice.
I like it. And I hope to be more like 'em.