worst blogger ever

The 2 year mark in Austin has come and gone, yet it's been over a year since the last post on this blog. It's funny how I begin to chronicle a new milestone in my life with so much energy, only to find that excitement dwindle to nothingness once the reality of life sets in. Sadly, what used to be a healthy time to process the ins and outs of life gets run over so that I could fill it in with other "busy-ness". I really have such an admiration for bloggers. How do they manage to consistently have new and exciting information? They wouldn't let themselves go a year without a post! Well, I have come to the conclusion that I don't make a very good blogger, but here I am to continue trying anyway. When I read my old posts, I realize that these short snippets do help me, especially during times of transitions. From them, I am able to assess where I have been, where I am and where I will go from here. Cliche, I know.

Now, I find myself at another transition point. I spent the past 4 weeks out of town. Three of those weeks were spend in my home country. This kind of experience is something that never leaves me the same, no matter how short the time.

Even as I write this, I am not yet back in Texas. There is some apprehension with that impending task for some reason. I am faced with the challenge of getting back to normal life within the next two days. No matter how many lists I create to assist me with getting back to life before I left, I still yet feel unprepared.

So, I thought, well, why not take this time to start new routines. I've already been writing down things that I wanted to accomplish, so getting back would be the best time to start! Luckily for me, I've also run  into a neat article that speaks right to the heart of what I want to do. It's a challenge to "Declutter your world in 10 days". Let's face it, it would take more than 10 days to do that! But, why not try. So I figure, a good way to start is by waking up this blog in order to have space to write down my experience. Wish me luck!


Flowers on the Lake

A couple of weekends ago, I went kayaking on Town Lake. This is one of the small pleasures that I find in Austin. It is easy to take part in outdoor activities since the weather is mainly mild and because Austin is filled with many active people. Months ago, I bought a voucher. Since it was about to expire in 5 days, I had to make use of it quickly.

During this ride, I ran into the usual things in the downtown area. There was a little shallow part that made ducks look like they were walking on water.  Turtles were popping their heads up through the water as well as sunning themselves on the rocks. There was the familiar musky odor and distinctive screechy noise coming out from the Congress Bridge where thousands of bats live! 

Then, as I glided through the water, I noticed that right under the surface, there were tiny white flowers blooming. I looked harder and saw that these flowers were growing everywhere and in some parts, they also broke through to the surface! It was pretty magical seeing this impromptu garden of delicate flowers right in the middle of the lake.
pretty flower growing in the lake!

When I got home, I googled it (of course!) and discovered that they are called fanwort.  They look like the picture above. Isn't that adorable?

The Austin Statesman even had an article written about them earlier this month: http://www.statesman.com/news/local/beneficial-plant-takes-hold-in-lady-bird-lake-2426364.html.

It seems that the appearance of these plants is pretty unique! So, considering the high probability that I would not make it out to the lake again for a while, I'm glad I got the chance to enjoy these flowers before they disappear.


Camping Fun

Tonight, my friends and I are heading out to camp at the Big Bend National Park. Sure, there's definitely feelings of excitement. But, I am not gonna lie. I am kinda nervous. It's not like I haven't gone camping before.  However, this is the first time we're doing it backpacking style, carrying all our water, food and... (the best part) using the big outdoors as our toilet. A sarc mark should be inserted somewhere there. Although, growing up in the Philippines has given me some experience in that latter issue, it seems more intimidating when coupled with backpacking out in the desert rather than near the comfort of a house and family. And we're gonna be out there for 5 days! Fun!

Preparing for this trip has been pretty interesting, though. I got a legitimate backpack and even got myself a hydration bladder! Though, that's not the interesting part. What I found most surprising (or I guess not considering where I am) is that the outdoors equipment store here called Academy sells guns at their store! You don't see that in New Jersey.  Life in Austin does not usually afford too many "real" Texan experiences. But this was a good reminder.

Of course, since I'm about to embark into the big wild desert, I start thinking of what kind of wildlife we may or may not encounter. Snakes and scorpions are top on my list of critters not to meet. However, there could be the possible mountain lion or black bear. I have to admit that the thought of running into one of these make me one to get something extra to protect myself just in case. Don't worry, I didn't get one. The thought only just grazed my mind.

Anyway, I think I'm worrying too much. This is going to be one fun experience and a great trip, I'm sure. We're supposed to head to an area near the Rio Grande River as well! I'll let you all know how it turns out.