12 Days in Austin

Still no internet at the house. I was told it was supposed to be hooked up by the 7th, so hopefully it’s coming soon. I am anxious to get on Skype and video chat with Lauren. It has now been 12 days since I left Minneapolis, surpassing my 2007 10-day trip to New York/DC as the longest I’ve been away from the Twin Cities since moving there full-time in 2006!

There are obviously many differences between Austin and Minneapolis. The most glaring of which is clearly the weather. Since I arrived in south-central Texas last Monday, the thermometer has surpassed 100 every single day. For a normal year, Austin would yet to see its first 100-degree day, surprisingly. Apparently July 11 is the average first 100-degree day of the year. It has barely bothered me though. I feel like I have spent 95% of my time in heavily air-conditioned buildings. The only time it really hits me is when I go to get in my car after it’s been sitting in the sun all afternoon.

Another glaring difference is the traffic. When I was moving here, everyone warned me about the terrible traffic. In Oklahoma on my way here, a woman at Applebee’s told me, “you wouldn’t believe it, I used to live in Austin and it took me twenty minutes to get twelve miles to work from my front door.” Uh…. that actually sounded pretty good considering the traffic I was used to in Minneapolis. It used to take almost 50 minutes in the morning to drive 22 miles out to Chanhassen, and even longer in the evening. I’m able to drive the ten miles it takes to get from my house to the office in easily under 20 minutes. Traffic is not a concern as much as the roads themselves are.

The highways here are very odd. Every major highway has access roads. There are three lanes, for instance, of Hwy 183 South. And there are three more lanes of access lanes for Hwy 183 South. Basically you could take either set of lanes and get to the same place. These access lanes essentially take the place of exits, only they have stop lights whereas the highways do not.

The roads all have multiple names as well. And by multiple I mean like three or four names each. Hwy 1 is also known as “Mopac Expressway” and the “Loop” and “Farm-to-Market 2222” or something like that. As if driving around a city of 799,000 people isn’t tricky enough, they had to go and name each road several different times! Tuesday, for the first time, I was able to navigate to work without the aid of my trusty GPS… slowly getting the hang of it!

One final thing about driving here and how it differs from Minneapolis. The drivers here actually seem more courteous, and I’ve even seen people drive under the speed limit for no particular reason. When I used to drive to work in Minnesota, if I wasn’t doing 70 in a 55 on Hwy 212 in Eden Prairie, I was being blown off the road. Here, I actually zoomed around a car going under 55 in a 65 for no reason. Didn’t see that quite as much up north.

I won’t get into much of my job today, but it is going well. There are a couple other workers with northern ties, including a couple Vikings fans. People have been making fun of my apparent northern accent, especially the way I say my O’s. I never realized there was an accent!

Back in Minnesota, Lauren is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her brother Matt, who will be taking my place in the apartment. If all goes to plan, Matt would like the place a lot and decide to stay there, making Lauren’s move out extremely less painful. Lauren has been painting and organizing and cleaning like a madman, but it’s all she can do to keep her mind off the fact that I’m 1,100 miles away! So sad!

Anyone know how to use my Droid as a mobile hotspot and get internet on my laptop?

Update: For those of you who like photos over text, head over to my other blog at Tumblr where I have been posting a photo per day every day in 2011 so far.

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