As a class we were forced to spend at least 5 hours together every Tuesday evening preparing for the presentations that took place on Wednesdays. During those times we got to know each other pretty well and became supportive of one another. It didn't take me long to find out that Austin was probably the most brilliant person I had ever met.
After the class ended, we remained good friends and hung out regularly for the next two years along with Chloe, Marie, and Etienne. A few times each quarter we would all meet up and hang out for an entire day. We somehow always managed to keep conversations alive for nearly 12 hours at a time. We would talk about anything ranging from research to family to chicken tikka. We never really knew how we ended up talking about the most random subjects, but Austin once pointed out that that was the natural development of a conversation.
I think part of the reason we always ended up spending so much time together was because Austin was an amazing listener, but he also really liked to keep conversations going. Unlike with most people, I don't recall ever running out of things to talk about with Austin.
What I liked most about Austin was his honesty. He was so honest, sometimes to the point of being brutal, but I always knew he meant well. I remember that for his surprise birthday party last year I got some prickly pear sorbet. Austin was the first to try it and he said it had a terrible aftertaste. He then advised everyone not to eat it. At first I was a bit saddened by his reaction because I thought he would like the sorbet, since he was usually really willing to try new things. Nonetheless, I then tried the prickly pear sorbet and I had to agree, it tasted terrible.
Around campus I could quickly spot Austin at a distance because he had a distinctive way of walking. When he wore his backpack he would always lean forward a lot and take really quick steps. For some reason, this always made me smile.
Something else that I always found endearing was that in winter he always wore his green hat, which was knitted by his mother. He would pull the hat down so that it almost covered his eyes. Also, something that always intrigued me was that he rarely wore jackets, even when it was freezing outside. But then we would go indoors and he would take off what seemed like an endless number of sweaters.
This message is really disjointed but I just wanted to share some of the memories I have of Austin.
I don't think Austin ever realized how much of an impact he had on my life.