Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Swimming at UT

After participating in several aquatic programs in India over the course of three years our kids have become pretty fast swimmers. They seemed to enjoy the programs, so before we left New Delhi, I got in touch with one of the swim-coaches at the University of Texas in Austin to see if they might be able to participate. UT runs a program for elementary aged-swimmers (recommended to us by so Austin friends). The Junior Longhorns coach was very kind. She responded to me right away, writing: "Bring 'em on in for a tryout when you get settled back in Austin."
The program has been a interesting experience. Audrey & Evan were able to try out in the giant Texas Swim Center located on UT's main campus. With wide-eyes, Evan pointed out Michael Phelps' name to me high up on the center's record board. Phelps still holds the Texas Swim Center's pool-record for the 200 Fly.
After demonstrating the four major strokes, the kids were accepted as official "Junior Longhorns."
The training is thorough. Audrey and Evan complete a dry-land workout for 30 minutes before each session and then train in the pool for 60 minutes three times a week.
 Pretty cool stuff for a ten and an eleven year old.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Home in Austin's Hyde Park

It's nice seeing my neighborhood with a fresh set of eyes. Being away for such a long time has a way of changing your view of the familiar. Lesa and I have been taking evening walks in Hyde Park... just like we've always done. It's been fun seeing what has changed and what still remains the same.. Our little neighborhood is hot in the summer (not unlike summer in New Delhi), but definitely a nice eclectic place to be.
Hyde Park is where people ride bicycles and motor scooters along side of Texas-sized SUVs.
And where folks have driven vehicles like Smart Cars and Hybrids as soon as they became available.
People paint the trim on their homes to match the blooms on the trees that grow in their yard.
Residents vote for liberal and progressive candidates more often than not. I'm glad it's a neighborhood where most folks tend to be mellow and open-minded, regardless of their political persuasion. 
Austin's Hyde Park is a place where you can still walk to the post office and where the volunteer firehouse is only a few blocks away.
Neighbors have hens in their yards and grow organic gardens now where lawns were once neatly mowed. 
The evening are full of the smells of Texas summer with the hint of barbecue and mesquite smoke in the air. On our evening walks the only sounds to be heard are the occasional dog barking and the soft droning of trucks in the distance as they travel south or north along Inter-state Highway 35.
I have to report it feels good to be back home.