I was 23 and living in Austin, TX during my internship with the middle school program at a church. If you've never been to Texas, it's really hard to explain their enthusiasm for their own state. Texans, native or transplant, LOVE Texas. The pride is incomparable with any other state where I've lived.
Adjusting to Texas after living in the Pacific NW and Colorado was an experience all on its own. The accents are heavy, the food is intense and the old-school mannerisms are prevalent. I don't think I once opened my own door in the presence of a man the entire time I lived there. I also had to get used to being called "darlin" and "ma'am" a whole lot more than I would have liked at first. Eventually the accents become contagious, the food seems tamer, and the southern manners become endearing.
As part of my internship, I was provided room & board with a family from the church. I could have gotten a normal, run-of-the-mill family and that would have been fine, but instead I spent the year living with Sam and Lilas and their dog... Guinevere. These two were a couple of empty-nesters, both born and bred in Austin. Their kids were grown and they had extra space and big hearts for housing guests. They welcomed me from the start and I can't imagine two kinder people. They definitely had their share of quirks though! Both former journalists, they were well-educated and full of relatively liberal opinions in a state known for being conservative. Their dog was the center of the home and the bane of my existence. She was cute but pompous, if it's possible for a dog to exhibit that characteristic. I always felt as though she was looking at me in a condescending way. Plus she had a horrendous habit of sneaking into my room and pulling socks and underwear out of my laundry bag, then chewing them and abandoning the pieces on the carpet.
Despite the oddities of my living arrangement, I loved Austin and my job. The kids I worked with were amazing and my boss was fabulous. We spent the majority of our time at work laughing and it was wonderful. Austin is a great city and there is so much to do. Kayaking on Town Lake, bbq at the Salt Lick, live music at Antones and Momo's, two-stepping at the Broken Spoke, plays in Zilker Park, shopping at the Arboretum, driving Congress at night towards the Capitol building. The list goes on and on and it was a great time in my life.