I can’t tell you how many times I heard the saying,
Everything’s bigger in Texas!
while we were on our one-week house-hunting trip to Houston. And it’s kind of true: the houses, the highways and overpasses, the portions at restaurants, the double drive-thru lanes at Chick-fil-A…
I can’t say I ever envisioned myself living in the “great state of Texas” (never mind raising my children there—Will they have accents??). I guess I never really envisioned myself living in the South at all.
I grew up near Cape Cod, went down to school in Manhattan, then made my way past the Mason-Dixon Line to Virginia. Sure, we’re just a couple of hours from the Confederate White House, but if you’ve ever been to Northern Virginia, you know it’s not really the South.
But here we are, chasing an opportunity—one too good to pass up.
I have to admit, the idea of packing up and moving to Texas did give me pause. I mean, without having ever been to Texas, these were the things that came to mind:
- Cowboys: ten-gallon hats, boots, rodeos, and all
- Thick southern accents
- Gigantic churches
- George W. Bush
- Pickup trucks
- and last but not least, PeeWee’s Big Adventure: my very first childhood impression of Texas. Remember, “There’s no basement at the Alamo!”?
Go ahead, treat yourself to 2 1/2 minutes of PeeWee. I won’t tell.
And none of these things are me.
But once we got to Houston, I didn’t really see any evidence of all these stereotypes (well, maybe a few accents here and there). I’m sure these things exist, but my friends who live in Houston tell me that it’s a really diverse city, with people from all over the country and the world. It’s also the largest city in Texas, the fourth largest in the country (behind NYC, LA, and the Windy City), and one of the fastest growing cities in America!
Houston’s in the middle of a major boom right now, so it’s kind of exciting to go where the action is, but I’ll definitely miss a lot about Virginia, the place we’ve called home for ten years, where we got our first place after college, our first jobs, where we lived as newlyweds, and where we welcomed our beautiful babies.
Here’s what I’ll miss most:
- Of course, all the friends we’ve made. The older I get, the more I realize good friends are hard-earned. It’s taken me years to build a network of women I love and trust, and the thought of being so far from them and having to start the process all over is so very sad!
- Being immersed in our country’s history. Did you know I was a history and government teacher years ago? Call me a dork, but I live for this stuff, and I’ve always thought it was so cool to be surrounded by sites dating back to our country’s founding.
- Most everything is free: museums, monuments, historical sites. All the best stuff to do in DC costs you nothing at all!
- Being just a one-hour flight from my family in Massachusetts.
- Having four, true seasons. (I guess we won’t be needing our snowsuits anymore??)
- Our house, the place where my babies spent the first years of their lives.
But making this list, I realized that once I get past my sentimentality, the list is rather short. There were other things I thought of adding, but then I realized they’re not unique to Northern Virginia, like a diverse community with lots of different languages and cultures and cuisines at our fingertips. Houston has that, too.
Houston has a lot of exciting things, and we’ll love it there. At least that’s what I keep telling myself as we pack up our lives and move to a place I hardly know.
So far, one thing’s definitely been super-sized by Texas: my perspective on what our future may hold.