Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our First Months in Houston: a Reflection

Well, we’re officially settled and back at work and finally able to take stock in our new home. Our friends want to know how things are going and how the city is treating us…let’s just say it’s been an adjustment.
Change is tough. We spent the past year finding fault in Austin in the hopes that it would make the transition to a very different city a little easier. And for the most part, we kept an open mind before the big move. Now we realize how much we took our former home for granted and that all the little things that bugged us about Austin (the traffic, the high concentration of fixed-gear bikes and hipster bars, the cost of living) were blessings compared to what we’ve seen in the suburbs of West Houston. That’s not to say it’s all bad; there are definitely some perks. Maybe I should start there.

Things we’ve liked:
It rains here. I know, right? Austinites might not even know what that word means since it happens so infrequently in Central Texas. But yes, rain is awesome. We have a yard with grass and beautiful landscaping that will not die because of that glorious liquid that falls from the heavens like the nectar of the gods. My skin is appreciative of the humidity and, despite the mugginess that can result from rain, it keeps the temperature down so it never reaches 110 degrees.
Dear god, the food here is good. I mean, really, really good. I’m used to restaurants that make fancy drinks and focus more on ambience and d├ęcor than on the food itself. Here, it’s the other way around. Sure, I’m in a strip mall (see later in section of things we don’t like), but the food is amazing. By far the best of many types of cuisine, all very close to my house. Granted, this will make me fat. At this point, I do not care. It’s one of the few things I enjoy here.
-Cost of Living
Things here are cheap. Our mortgage payment feels more like an Austin daycare payment, and our daycare costs are still less than our mortgage. On top of that, we’re both making significantly more money than we did in Austin, therefore justifying our decision to move. Our debt will be paid off in no time and we’ll actually get to open a savings account. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, it’s a place you can put extra money and allow it to accrue interest. This concept is foreign to me.
Brian gets to work with his dad everyday and I’ve been able to see my mom, sister, and niece more in the past few months than I have in the past few years. It's great being so close to the people I love and, since we really haven’t made any friends yet, they’ve been our social network.