Houston is My New Chicago

After university, I really wanted to move to Chicago.  Chicago was only a short distance from where I went to school, and we spent a fair amount of time there.  I loved it and thought hard about relocating.  Then jobs and money and other plans intervened, and I stayed in Minneapolis instead.

Something weird is going on lately...I am loving Houston so far.  I had anticipated that living in Houston was going to be something that I would have to get used to, something for which I would have to rearrange my expectations of what a city should be.  I had only heard depressing things...the heat, the sprawl and the lack of personality.  Instead, my initial impressions are that Houston might be  combination of some of my favorite places.  To be honest, it kind of reminds me of a warmer Chicago.

We are surrounded by tons of restaurants and our neighborhood has far more personality than I expected.  I'm not having to search for interesting things; I'm stumbling across them on my way to one of the four grocery stores which are all a mile or so from our home.  I am no longer streaming public radio from Minnesota on the internet; I'm actually enjoying Houston's channel enough to keep my dial local.  I know the weather will be hot and disgusting later, but for the moment it's lovely and sunny and reminds me of a nice long autumn season.  It hasn't been a hassle to set up all of our new services and utilities; it has been fast, easy and smooth, reminiscent of the Minnesotan efficiency that I crave. People help with the familiar "yes m'am", and cheerful smiles that I remember from our deep South time in Louisiana.

The first week we were here, when we were visiting and looking for a place to live, we had dinner with my husband's hiring manager.  In the course of the dinner, I asked him if he was from here because he seemed quite settled in the area.  He said "No, I'm not from here, but I got here as soon as I could," with a big smile on his face.  I remember thinking that his enthusiasm seemed extreme and borderline cheesy to me.  But maybe he's on to something... I'm getting the taste of big city that I always wanted, the character, food and friendliness of the deep South that I enjoyed last time around, the functionality of my logical lovely Minneapolis, and the easy "winter" that I never knew I wanted.  I could stay here a little while, I think.  At least longer than our current twelve month average in a place.