December 30th. The plane lands in Austin and Amanda can only begin to imagine what the coming year will bring. Jess is waiting at baggage claim, they step out into the warm December, and Amanda sees her first palm trees lining the shuttle route. On the cab ride to the apartment Amanda cranes her neck, taking in every non-midwestern feature. After a rest, they head to South Congress. She looks to her right and sees more palm trees, an expanse of road, and the Capitol Building at the end. Little does she know how far this road will take her.