- Hot (or at least warm - 80+ F) most of the year
- Enough cool coffee shops/bakeries around that the staff don't say: "Wow - I've never seen anyone fill up their frequent user card in 3 days before!"
- Townies who will say hello when you look them in the eyes
- Bike lanes ...and riders of all shapes & sizes who actually use them
- Drivers who allow pedestrians to cross at crosswalks and elsewhere
- Band fliers stapled to light posts (honestly, that's a real standard for me)
- Festivals, Festivals, Festivals
- Creeks or rivers without a single alligator
- Police aren't summoned when there is a guy on the main drag in drag.
- Restaurants and other businesses in old houses (I'm a sucker for it).
- Really creative graffiti.
- And of course, lots of runners.
You can see why I have settled down nicely in Austin, Texas and why my husband will need back up from the National Guard to pry me away from this incredible town when his two year grad program at UT is over.
Of course, I have been humbled. My pace on these mountains* has gone from "slow" to "She's mighty sweaty for a walker." I met up with a group last night for their "Slow run," for which their website description is as follows:
You know you're a slow runner if:
* Your shih tzu is waiting for you at the next water station.
* The dust from your grandma's walker has already settled.
* Your 8GB iPod starts repeating the same songs.
* You started at 5 o'clock and the bats have already flown.
Unfortunately, their prose is more entertaining than accurate, for I ended up huffing and puffing a mile behind them, trying to signal "I'm okay! I'll catch up!" in between hills. But that's fine. It's good for me to try harder and check out the scenery. Besides, without the distraction of a group, I was able to people watch and read from the flier whose playing at Stubb's tonight.
*Okay, I know locals call them "hills", but this former Miami runner begs to differ.