Hey geeks. Long time no talk! As a couple of you know, I moved to the suburbs of north Houston about 18 months back. My wife spent most of her adolescent life here. Moving to Southern California for a career opportunity in the early 2000’s; where we met, settled down, and started a small family.
Fast forward to 2021, her parents are in their late 70’s, and starting to have a pretty hard time living independently. Like many others at the time, we were both working remotely (wife was way before Covid), and had the opportunity to more or less move anywhere in the country. So, after discussing with one another, her siblings in Dallas and the SF bay, we decided to be the ones to move back to Houston, buying a home a few miles from her parents house.
As there has historically been a bit of bad blood between two states, I thought it would be fun to share my experience, as an implant from CA.
1) The dollar goes WAY further. From the price of gas, no state income tax, and much more affordable housing, I’m much less financially stressed. I was able to take the equity from my tiny 1000 sq ft 2 bed/bath beater condo in OC and put 20% down on a completely remodeled 3200 sq foot 4 bed/3 bath home on almost an acre of land. It has a pool/spa, large yard, etc. etc. Not to mention I’m paying 1000 less monthly on the mortgage, even with the higher rate on this loan, vs the last.
2) The people are generally much friendlier and hospitable. A lot more smiles and salutations from people we encounter daily, All of our neighbors are super friendly, welcomed us to the neighborhood and frequently invite us over to BBQ or watch some sports. I suspect some of that warm welcome has to do with my wife’s roots here, and they definitely throw in a dig now and then about CA and “not to bring our politics here”, but it seems pretty light hearted. I more or less tell them I don’t really follow politics or watch the news, and think both sides have good/bad ideas and leave it at that.
3) The quality of life. Moving from an overpopulated urban area to a large planned suburb definitely improved my quality of life. There are great fishing holes all over, green belt trails my daughter can ride her bike to school or friends house on, no helicopters, airplanes or loud cars driving around at all hours of the day. It’s just silent after 9-10 PM, sans a few frogs and crickets looking to hook up.
4) The BBQ. No explanation needed on this one.
1) The weather. It can be absolutely brutal and is so random. Cold and rainy one hour, hot a rainy another, then hot and humid the next. Moving from somewhere that was basically 75 and sunny year round, the weather has definitely taken some time to adjust too. There’s also so many skeeters! It’s pretty much impossible to go outside around dusk in this part of Texas. You’ll get annihilated in no time.
2) The what I like to call “Freedom to be a Christian” phenomena. When most people from Texas talk about freedom, they really compartmentalize it. You’re free to walk into a grocery store open carrying, but not free to buy a bottle of liquor. You need to go special stores for that, and of course… those aren’t allowed to even be open on the sabbath. You’re free to use public education to indoctrinate children into Christianity, and even forced to display a copy of the 10 commandments in all classrooms. But anything to do with other religions, or secularism is of course not protected by those same “freedoms”. Personally, I just want school to teach my kid to read, write, math and basic economics and civics. Leave the social justice, religious, sex, tranny crap from both sides for the parents to deal with.
3) The drivers. There seems to be no understanding of passing lanes and the proper way to use a highway. You got people and big rigs going 60 in the passing lane, other people going 80 in the merge lane, and a mixture of people going 60-90 in the middle lanes, all swerving in and out of traffic. Like seriously, is driving progressively slower from the left (passing) down to the right (merging) not a thing here? It’s complete chaos!
4) The Mexican food. I’ve found a few decent taquerias and had some pretty good food from taco trucks, but none of it comes close to SoCal. And that’s not even getting into the whole Tex Mex garbage; which shouldn’t even be allowed to call itself Mexican food.
So yah. That’s been my experience so far. I miss some things from home, but glad to no longer deal with others. Texas has been mostly great and has alot or charm and things to offer, but has it’s own challenges. At the end of the day, I think what I learned most is I want to live all over the US and experience all the great places this country has to offer. Life’s too short to spend in a single bubble!