ON THIS DAY | Hamilton Pools – Texas Hill Country – 2007

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I have been going through a lot of old photos recently — backing them up, transferring them from one online storage space to another, consolidating albums, etc. In the process of doing so, I received an email from one of the online album sites that I recently updated. The subject read, “Your memories from this week 8 years ago…”

I clicked on the link,expecting to see photos that looked ancient. But this? THIS WAS EIGHT YEARS AGO? I actually went back to the original photo files to see if the dates were correct. They were.

Eight frickin’ years ago today Sly and I were in Austin for a wedding. We had only been dating for a few months and were still living on opposite coasts. Dating long distance did not come easy for us (or maybe just me) — a lot had happened the previous year on my end and I wasn’t sure if I felt ‘ready’ for a ‘serious’ relationship. The thing with long distance relationships is that they tend to either be serious right away or super relaxed and open-ended. I wasn’t looking for the latter, but I wasn’t sure I was ready for the former either.

Sly will tell you I put him through hell while we dated, but I was pretty conflicted too. I saw Sly as long term material — something I felt immediately when we reconnected — but I didn’t know if the timing, location, etc was ‘right’ for us to make it work. I “just wanted to date and see where things went” but that was proving difficult to do when we lived on opposite sides of the country.

From the original blog entry way back when:

I asked if I could bring along a date. I never really thought too much about bringing a date, but it seemed like a good middle ground for the both of us (Sly and me) to meet up, as well as a good way for him to meet all my Austin friends…

Sly and I ended up driving out to Hamilton Pool–a waterfall/natural pool in the middle of Texas Hill Country. I love it out there–it always has some kind of power of relaxation. We played in the water in our floaties, and then walked around under the caves, and then slid down the mossy rocks underneath the waterfall. Afterwards, we relaxed on the rocky beach and ate grapes and cheddar goldfish, and fell asleep. When the crowd and echoing voices of children against the canyon walls became too loud, we hiked to the pedernales river–which is super shallow. You can essentially walk across the river, going from rock to rock. We found what we called, “nature’s couch” and ended up sitting there for a while, watching dragon flies flutter over the gentle current. It was very nice. Very peaceful….

This trip to Austin was the first time Sly came ‘home’ with me. He met my mom, brother, nephew, cousin, and a bunch of my long-time Texas friends. I took him to a lot of my favorite places, including Hill Country and Hamilton Pool Preserve. In a way, it was sort of a turning point in the dating part of our relationship.I have always loved Texas hill Country — it’s just one of those places so closely tied to my soul. Seeing Sly in that setting, among family and friends and favorite places made me realize how much he fit right in.

At the airport, Sly waited with me until I boarded, and I actually felt kind of sad to say goodbye. Not that I don’t miss him, but something about this trip was just right. For the first time, I felt better about things…about *us*. I felt relaxed, like we were just living in the moment, not worrying too much about the future, enjoying being home.

Maybe that’s what it was. It just felt like home.

A couple weeks after this trip, my mom sent me this email:

When will you and Sly get together again? I like him! Too bad you are so far from each other. But if you care for each other, nothing can stop the relationship. No one thought Dad and I could end up in marriage in the US. Sly showed that he really cared for you. His effort to continue seeing you every 2 weeks proves that too. Hope he’s the one for you.


A couple years later we were married on a ranch in Texas Hill Country.

We always talk about moving back to Texas one of these day, specifically to Hill Country. Or, now that it’s super trendy to live there these days, maybe some place further West.

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  • funnelcloud rachel
    June 9, 2015 at 4:38 am

    And now I want to go to Texas! This looks amazing!

    And what a sweet note from your mom! Glad it all worked out! 🙂

  • veronika
    June 9, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I’m glad it worked out too!

    A lot of people love hating on TX but those are usually the people that have never been and/or are close-minded. Obviously I’m biased (like most Texans, I love my Texas) but it’s such an awesome, low key, very diverse place with amazing food, good music, friendly people, and big TX skies. I think you two would really love it especially Austin/Hill Country and West Texas (Marfa/Big Bend). There’s like NO people at Big Bend, and it’s huge, beautiful, and has ghost towns. 🙂

    Sigh. Now *I* want to go back to TX. 🙁

  • veronika
    June 9, 2015 at 11:51 am

    plus — one of these days you need to have my mom’s cooking! 🙂

  • funnelcloud rachel
    June 9, 2015 at 2:17 pm

    Yes to all of it! I’ve always thought Big Bend looked cool…especially since no one ever talks about it. And Austin sounds amazing for many reasons. I should’ve visited and stuffed my face with Texas BBQ before I gave up meat! 🙁

  • veronika
    June 9, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    Big Bend is great — I think it’s one of the largest yet least visited parks in the NP system. Besides ghost towns there’s also a natural hot springs right by the river. Marfa, which is about an hour or so away, is a super artsy (and now, kind of hipster) town with some pretty badass lodging options and thriving art scene. It’s one of my top 5 favorite places ever. If you every go, I would recommend visiting in Oct/Nov — it’s usually cooler (and Texas is a hot like you’ve never known) and there are usually meteor showers around that time. Because there’s very little light pollution (International Dark Sky status) the meteor showers are crazy — like watching a million fireballs explode across the sky.

    You might need to make an exception for TX bbq bc omg hell yes, though you probably would convert back if you did. The good thing about Austin is that it’s a super hippie town (birth place of Whole Foods!)– you wouldn’t have any trouble finding tasty, interesting,vegan/veg food.

    I could go on forever. I miss Texas, even more so now that I live that much further away. Can you plan a trip already so I can live vicariously?

  • funnelcloud rachel
    June 9, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    I’m convinced! And now I’m dreaming of a fall trip!

    (And maybe dreaming a little of BBQ, too. We went to a cool BBQ joint in DC this weekend and they had tons of vegan options, which was awesome. Not the same as real TX BBQ, obv, and while I was munching on my seitan wings, our friend was describing his amazing trip to Texas a couple years ago to sample all the BBQ he could eat. Drooling!)

  • veronika
    June 9, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    Yeah! Hit me up if/when you need recs 🙂

    The way I feel about meat (and sweets) is if I’m gonna eat it, then I want to eat the best, most lovingly prepared I can find and/or have an awesome food memory or experience. You will def. get all that with TX bbq. SO good. No bbq outside of TX — even so-called TX style places –comes close for me. (We even had on site pit smoked bbq at our wedding. :P)