It's been a year since Bart moved to Texas. We really wanted to move somewhere, and Austin seemed like a great place to start real life on our own. It seems a bit funny in retrospect that Austin seemed so great to us, seeing as neither of had ever been to Texas at all, let alone Austin. Bart moved here with no job, no friends (only two friends of family), and no where to live. Now we are both employed, we've bought a house, we have friends ("Friends! We are friends, aren't we?!"), and a life here.
Here's what I love about Texas:
- The weather. The mostly year-round warmth was one of the big selling points for us, actually, pathetic as that might sound. I grew up in Las Vegas where it never gets all that cold and after three years in Utah, I was fine with never seeing snow or below zero temperatures again.
- The seasons. I love it that, unlike Vegas, the trees actually change colors, there is a real (albeit short) spring, and a fall where everything smells fabulous (like camping!).
- GREEN! Now that it's spring again, I'm amazed how green everything is! Vegas, of course, is fairly brown all year long, and so, when I moved to Utah to go to college, I thought it was pretty green. I realize now that I was wrong; Utah is still a desert. Here it is green as far as you can see, with trees, grass, and gorgeous wildflowers growing everywhere (except in our backyard which is growing three foot tall weeds, rather than bluebonnets. Such is our lot in life).
- H-E-B! I'd never heard of this grocery store chain before moving here, but now, when we go back to Utah or Vegas, everyone I talk to who is from Texas asks me "Don't you LOVE H-E-B??" And I do. It is, possibly, the greatest chain grocery store on earth.
- Southern Hospitality. I would never have believed it, but people really are nicer here. I've never met more people who go out of their way to let you merge, open the door for you, chat you up in the grocery store or check-out line, or simply smile. Who knew?
- Great schools. This is only theoretically awesome, seeing as we have no children and therefore no children in school. Still, if we stayed here long enough, our imaginary children would get a dang good education. Even if those schools teach them that "y'all" is a real word. Please. When I start saying "y'all," I'll know it's time to pack up and move on.
- Cost of living. I read blogs of people who live in California and see them post pictures of houses that are smaller than ours and cost triple or quadruple what ours did. Whew, I'm glad to be in Texas.
- Restaurants. There are a lot of fun and interesting places to eat around here, and I love that. We've gone out to dinner dozens of times since we moved here and we haven't gone to Chile's once. Or Applebee's. (Don't ask about Wendy's).
And yet, for all the good, there is bad. Here is what I don't like about Texas:
- Bugs. I actually started thinking about this post when I was lying on the couch and hearing the cicadas buzz on the back porch. There are so many bugs here. We fortunately haven't seen many in our house, but I'm disgusted by how the fire ants (oh, who knew ants were not only creepy but painful?), the cockroaches, and the spiders. (Dear Family, please still come visit. We spray our house and promise you will be safe within our walls. Love, Janssen).
- Road Kill. I have never seen so many dead animals in my life. You can't drive a quarter of a mile without seeing at least one dead something. I now avoid looking directly at the road when I drive. It is also physically necessary for me to shudder violently when I see an animal lump on the road.
- Austin airport prices. The airport here is fairly small and while that usually means there are almost no lines, it also means it's more expensive to fly out of here than other more major airports. And that makes me weep, seeing as we fly far more than we used to since we live far away from both our families.
- No family. Although I love being on our own and having our own lives, it is really sad to me that we aren't close enough to go to family events. My cousin got married a week or so ago and we couldn't go, which really depressed me. It's sad to know everyone else is there and we aren't.
All in all, though, Texas, you rock! Thanks for letting us in, even if it was at the cost of giving up the best drivers license picture I ever had for the worst blotchy, red-faced picture ever taken of me. I forgive you.