Just for fun, I decided to come up with a “Texas First Impressions” list! I thought it would be really interesting in a year’s time or so to see which of these have changed, and which have remained the same.
There’s more “First Impressions” than I can even name, but for now here are just a few:
1) Pretty place.
It’s a different kind of pretty than Colorado, but it’s still pretty. If most of Colorado is all about the mountains, here they’re all about their rivers. And water happens to be one of my favorite things in nature, so I am really enjoying that!
One of the coolest things about the house the Lord got us to rent (see the story here) is that there’s a park with a river only residents here in the neighborhood have private access to. So not only did the Lord get us the perfect place to meet all our needs, He found us a place with a private park we could go and relax, too! It is so restful and beautiful, and I love it!
2) Kind, polite people.
You hear about “Southern Hospitality” all the time, and I have thankfully seen that in action a time or two already.
Here in Texas they are really, really good at fine service and follow-up. When we first got here everyone in the family except for me got pneumonia, which meant they all had the chance to “test” out the hospitals here. What was really neat about it is that the doctors themselves call the very next day to see how you’re feeling, if you have any other questions, how your experience was, etc.
Our jaws nearly dropped at that! In Colorado, you’re lucky if you can even get a nurse on the phone if you have any questions, and even when you do, they can often be irritable about it.
As much as I don’t want to offend my Colorado peeps–we really can be rude and not very friendly. It’s a fact.
P.S. I could really get used to being called “Ma’am.” Though I know I don’t even look like I’m out of school and am used to being passed over and not taken seriously because of it, I’ve been called “ma’am” several times here. And it is such a refreshing thing! They say it as a term of honor and respect, a verbal cue that they take me and my opinion/experience seriously, and, yeah. It’s just refreshing and feels lovely.
3) No such thing as “lone stars”–they’re everywhere.
Okay, I’m probably going to make some Texans mad (so it’s a good thing I don’t know many yet!), but you do not have any “lone stars.”
They are everywhere.
On every flag, building, license plate, business, houseplant, and pet.
On my way here alone, I counted two hundred and ten.
I know the history of “the lone star.” Buuuut, I gotta tell ya, it has ceased to be “lone.”
You’ve heard of glitter guns? Ah, Fuhgeddaboutit. Star it. All of it.
(And let me just cliffnote this by saying I’m pretty sure I’ll be doing this too in a year or so, which means I don’t have any room to talk! 😉 )
4) Texas scent.
Texas smells different. It’s kind of a musty, wet smell that never goes away.
It’s probably because of the humidity and all that, but I have to be honest and say that it isn’t my favorite. I’ll probably get used to it, but for right now… yeah.
The perpetual smell of barbeque, though–that I can live with!
5) Cultural diversity.
There are many different people from many different kinds of cultures here, and I never realized how much I enjoyed that until I experienced it.
Being in church with so many different skin colors and nationalities all praising the same God and acting as the family the Bible calls us… so neat and powerful!
6) Places to GO and things to DO.
Good golly, probably one of the biggest differences, right here! Every week they have something new going on!
Back in Colorado where we lived, there were probably five major events per year that I can think of at the top of my head, and most included lots of traveling: the fair (in town), the Craft Fair (30 minutes away), the Hotel Colorado tree lighting (40 minutes away), Country Jam (an hour away), and the X-Games (an hour and fifteen minutes away.)
Here the town has already had three really big “fests” in just the couple of months we’ve been here, and there is always something to do or some new place to go, even without traveling! And if not, there’s a major city only thirty minutes away.
The first couple of weeks, my mom and I were marveling that we didn’t have to travel an hour just to get to church or find a Hobby Lobby. Both were just here! (I can remember when our old town finally got a new movie theater that didn’t have a stain on the screen, and how the opening day of our first ever Wal-Mart was like the first stop on a Queen tour.)
I never knew how much of a tiny town I lived in until I moved here, and so far, I really like it!
I don’t like the extra traffic and living more in the country is still preferred, but having access to so many different things is a lot of fun.
7) Everything’s bigger in Texas–including the bugs. (And except for the deer.)
Seriously. I have seen more bugs in just the few months I’ve been here than I ever did living in Colorado. Wildlife of all kinds flourishes here.
The deer here though are hilarious. Compared to Colorado’s type of deer, they are the scrawniest, teeniest little things I have ever seen.
Don’t get me wrong–they are extremely cute! I just don’t really even know if you could call them “deer.” Maybe an above average-size chihuahua?
8) The weather.
The difference in weather is probably one of the most obvious ones. I thought I’d rarely be cold, but that has turned out not to be true.
I still wear sweaters occasionally and have to have my space heater on pretty much every morning. (Thank you, Dad, for having the foresight not to throw it away in the move!)
However, I can pretty much wear my trench coat and be just fine. No more big, bulky snow jackets for me!
And no. Snow. Or snow driving. Or slush or ice or frozen car doors.
Ah! Thank you, Jesus!
I actually got a teeny bit sunburned the other day. In December.
9) Later dinner?
The verdict is still out on this one. I have no idea when people eat dinner here. The few times we’ve been out at restaurants around what our usual dinner hour is (6:00 or 6:30), they’ve been completely dead.
…I guess those cooking shows weren’t kidding about “slow roasting” their meat?
10) No kiddos around.
This is actually just a personal difference rather than a cultural one. But from the time I turned 14 until now, I have never not been around any kids. I have always had a baby on my hip– the baby(ies) have just rotated throughout the years. My first job was as a mother’s helper, and I’ve worked with kids ever since.
Only a few days into the trip out here, I found myself marveling at that. I’d forgotten what it felt like. For the first time in ten years, there was no little person hanging onto my arm, clamoring for my attention.
My appendages were remarkably light. There were no little voices fighting, pointing out things excitedly, crying, or asking questions, it was just quiet.
I had this realization sitting in a hotel breakfast room as a family of five sat at the table across from me.
I was in readiness mode, my head flying up when I heard the kids talk or the baby cry, ready to get whatever it was they needed, whether it was food, a hug, an answer to a question, a diaper change, discipline, or engaging with them as they talked and played.
…But, they didn’t need anything at all from me.
No one needed anything from me, and I didn’t have to have all senses tuned to the baby’s cry or kid’s chatter or any possible danger they might put themselves in, because they weren’t “my” responsibility.
So weird! I was the person on the other side of the room for once, free to do whatever I wanted really, just eating breakfast.
It’s been a long time since I’ve only had to be responsible for my own welfare, so it’s definitely been a new experience for me in the few months we’ve been here!
So there you have it! Ten first impressions.
That’s all for now, but I’ll be back to document more of life here soon!