We’ve been in Texas for just about a week now. In that week we have crammed in a lot of exploring. Our house is currently in escrow and I’m holding my breath, praying that it will go through. This was technically the third offer on the house. The first was too low, the second was great but the buyers changed their minds. This offer is even higher than the last but you know, there are lots of variables that could get slippery. I’m praying that this will be the end of it so that we can settle into our own place soon.
In the meantime, we are staying with Caleb’s parents and praise God for that! They have been wonderful hosts and Luca absolutely adores his Papa and Gigi. It’s been so helpful to have their knowledge of the area and a welcoming home to bunk-up in while we make this huge transition.
It’s been pretty cold here which is a happy change for Caleb and I. It feels good to experience winter as an actual season although I’m learning how to dress for it. So far, layers have been my friend but I hate the restrictive feeling of wearing a ton of clothes so I’ll have to figure that one out. The lightening and thunder were pretty cool, I’m looking forward to more of that!
Probably the biggest challenge we’re facing right now is deciding where we want to live. This area is so different from any place I’ve ever experienced. There’s this whole huge area that is considered ‘Austin.’ It’s not like L.A. or San Francisco where you can really clearly tell when you are in the city and when you’re not. There’s a downtown area but then Austin sprawls out way around it and you could be in Austin and not even see the skyline.
Also, people warned us that the traffic is REALLY bad in Austin. Here’s a pic to give you an idea of what we’re up against. It’s been rough.
See all of those cars on the road? Horrendous. Ok, for reals, I guess it can actually be pretty bad sometimes where it’s more stop and go but nothing like what we dealt with in SoCal.
So right now, we are living in the country by Canyon Lake which is a jaunt from Austin but it is beautiful. It’s reminiscent of Napa actually. I love the way the fog rests underneath the trees and spills into pockets of the hills. Luca loves seeing the deer every morning while we eat breakfast.
I took Luca to The Little Gym of the first time and he LOVED it. It was a nice break for me from the sadness of moving and stress of exploring and all that comes with all of that.
When we did venture into downtown Austin I really loved it! It reminds me of San Francisco Hate/Ashbury or for you SoCal folks it’s like a giant CAMP/Anti-Mall from Costa Mesa. LOVED it. I can imagine it’s a lot like Portland. It seems like everyone has a cause and every restaurant caters to crazy dietary restrictions plus offers mostly locally sourced, humanely treated… etc etc. Austin is more than kinda crunchy, it’s like rock hard diamond crunchy! We had Tex-Mex for lunch at Guero’s which is kind of an Austin staple:
Ok, this post is getting long so I’ll make the rest brief. We went to The Thinkery and Luca did NOT want to leave. We ended-up buying annual passes so that we can take advantage of it lots.
Probably the highlight of our time so far was attending Austin New Church. Of course I was so busy taking it all in that I didn’t get any photos. The worship was AMAZING and the message was impactful. Best of all, the people were really friendly. We ended-up grabbing some lunch with a family who has a 3-year-old son. They just moved here 10 months ago from Chicagoland so it was cool to hear about their transition. We ate at Galaxy Cafe which had a menu that reminded me a lot of one of my favorite SoCal joints, “Gypsy Den.”
After that, we did some scoping-out of neighborhoods in Austin and Buda. Here’s one that I fell in love with but we’re not actually looking to buy right now since we’re not 100% sure where we want to be.
Here’s another new development in Buda…
You may notice that both of these were taken from inside the car. One of the benefits of having a car napper!
It was so mind-blowing to walk into these beautiful HUGE homes knowing that they were in our price range. That just never happened to us in California. Some were more our style than others but really what it’s going to come down to is location.
After house-hunting we met-up with a wonderful family, The Hendricksons. They moved here 3 years ago from SoCal. We were introduced to them by our former next door neighbors AND by our old friends the Rosendahls. They were so amazing! They have two boys, an 18 month old and a 4 year old. Luca had a blast with them and the adults had a good time hashing-out the differences between California and Texas.
It’s so easy right now to only notice the differences. The weather. The home prices. The taxes. The shopping. The food. The fashion. The culture. But I’ve caught myself pleasantly surprised by the similarities too. My mind is in detective mode, hyper-sensitive to every minute detail as I try to make-sense of my new home. I’ve had to catch myself at times because one person, one experience can’t sum up an entire area. Whether good or bad.
Last December in Napa, I remember walking to my car in the parking lot and hearing woman scoff in disgust as a car sped past her. “I forgot how rude California drivers are,” she said. I smirked and shook my head. I’ve never thought of California drivers as rude, especially in the small town of Napa. Yet this woman had one or two bad experiences and now she has deduced that all of California is filled with rude drivers. I don’t want to do that.
I don’t want to siphen all of my experiences of Texas into a pot and say, “See this stew? This is Texas.” That’s just not fair. Sure there are some generalizations or just flat-out facts that you can name but I want to keep an open mind. There are friendly people everywhere. There are judgmental people everywhere. There are open-minded people everywhere. There are country-listening people everywhere. Red, blue, and all around the spectrum, they are everywhere. We choose to see what we want to see and we choose to surround ourselves with what we so choose.
It’s human nature to make generalizations so I’m fighting hard against it. I’m so glad that I am because what I’ve come to find is that state lines don’t mean as much as I thought they would. Making friends isn’t going to be harder here just because I’m from somewhere else. We can always find people to connect with if we try. I’m sure in some places it’s harder to do that than others, so far it hasn’t been hard here at all and Praise God for that!!