I have mentioned in previous posts my efforts to look on the bright side more than I used to.  I have been lucky and life is good, and there is truly no reason for me to grumble about small matters.  My thoughts on moving to Houston are governed by this policy.  But, as I've also mentioned, there has been a bit of a life hangover lately. Definitely not an uncommon sensation after the holidays, although my case feels more move-related than holiday-related.  It takes considerable time and energy to find the people and resources that make one feel at home in a place, and I have been dragging.

However, yesterday morning, my sluggishness about what needs to get done, and my recent lukewarm feelings on Houston dissipated during a routine household errand.  I walked a few blocks from our place to pick up some espresso beans from a place a few blocks away.  There were some local fliers and newspapers, which I read while enjoying an excellent cappuccino and an almond croissant.  In the fliers, I found tidbits and news items which gave me some ideas about how to find more of what I'm looking for in Houston.

It sounds trivial, but it got me excited again.  I have been excited to come and be part of a vibrant, creative city ever since I left Minneapolis (again) in 2010.  My husband and I had heard that Houston was a concrete jungle, polluted and gross, sprawling and without personality.  Calgary had been gravely disappointing to me, not in those ways, but in the sense that it was a healthy city with a strong economy, and a fair amount of people, but it still somehow lacked creative energy and spirit.  So after that experience, and knowing that Luanda would also have been unlikely to make us feel part of an urban experience that we liked, we decided to look at Houston as an opportunity.  After all, as the fourth largest city in the country, it seemed that there must be some creative and progressive initiatives under way.

But my first month in Houston did not bear the foodie fruit or unveil the energetic local creative economy that I sought, and that I miss so much from Minneapolis.  We don't eat at restaurants as often as we used to, but when faced with a city like this, we love to find some places we like.  We have been to maybe a dozen restaurants in the immediate 5 mile radius around us, and not once have we eaten somewhere to which I can't wait to return.  At the end of the meals we've had we usually feel bloated and a little gross.  When I feel that way at the end of a meal, I am not compelled to go back, and I don't like to feel both guilty and unhealthy after what is supposed to be a relaxing treat.

So, yesterday morning, with my caffeine buzz in full force, I left the coffee house, ready to tackle annoying life tasks and to forge ahead with my Houston exploration.  Right next door to Inversion is an art supply store, and I need some paint for a project at home, so I stopped in.  It looks very plain on the outside, like a warehouse building, but on the inside it was inspiring.  It had a strong collection of fashion and textile books, along with all kind of other bits that made me want to run home and figure out how to make everything.  The staff was thorough and friendly, and I ended up wandering around there for over an hour.

Relieved and energized, I strolled home in the seventy-degree sunny weather and got myself back on track.  While the power of the internet for situating oneself in a new place cannot be denied, there is still some ground-level investigation that has to be done.  I was happy to have rediscovered my appetite for the hunt.