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Ten things I’ll miss about Texas

Hey y’all! (said with a Canadian accent). The countdown is on…we are packing our bags and moving on in just a couple of weeks. We will soon call Calgary, Alberta home…again. It’s been an emotional few weeks as we packed up our house, had the last day of school and watched the moving truck leave our neighborhood for the last time.

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This is a greeting card from my friend Mindy: www.kikineumann.com, handmade in Texas.

We’ve really enjoyed living in The Woodlands, and I can honestly say, I never thought I’d end up living in the great state of Texas!  It’s been so fun to experience a little Southern living – hot humid nights, gators, fresh lemons, bayous… flash floods (ok, not so fun). It’s a way of life I’d only previously seen in the movies – think Steel Magnolias, Driving Miss Daisy and Fried Green Tomatoes. 

While we are excited to be moving back home – to a city where we lived for 9 years – there are definitely some things I’ll miss about Texas.

Here’s my top 10 list:

10. The weather – Ok, I know it’s brutally hot right now. It’s easy to complain about the humidity and the way your sunglasses fog up when you walk outside. But, when you come from a country like Canada and freeze your butt off for 6-8 months of the year, swimming in your pool on Christmas day is pretty sweet. 

9. Tex Mex food – Texas has perfected and pretty much elevated the taco to a separate food group. I only ever made tacos from the Old El Paso box at the grocery store, so now I truly have a new appreciation for the taco! Here in Texas no one would bat an eye if you ate tacos for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I’ve also become a big fan of burritos, enchiladas, pico, queso and Rotel!!

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Mexican-Korean beef tacos from Oh My Gogi food truck

8. Flowers and trees – Houston’s climate is considered sub-tropical so, for me, that meant a whole array of flowers and trees I’d never seen before. While walking the dog, I would often marvel and even take pictures of newly discovered berries or flowers. The magnolia trees here are so beautiful and I will miss seeing their big showy white flowers every spring. Bluebonnets, Beauty Berries and Crape Myrtle trees are just a few of the other gorgeous colors that Texas shows off each season. My only regret – I never could get that Bird of Paradise to take root!!

7.  Convenience – When I first moved here, a Canadian girlfriend who was already living here told me this is the “land of convenience.” And, she was right. Where else can you get dry cleaning pick up and delivery? A pediatric medical service that makes house calls. Rent a gaming truck for a birthday party. If you can dream it, you can pretty much find it here in Texas. 

6. Cheap wine – You can get a really decent bottle of wine at the local grocery store for $4!! I honestly don’t pay more than $10 for some of my favorite wines. I was shocked when the same bottle cost almost double in Calgary.

5. Concerts – Almost every week there is an amazing artist or show taking place in Houston. Some of our favorites included Lady Gaga, Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons, Katy Perry and the Houston Ballet.  We’ve seen Kelly Clarkson, The Fray, Amy Shumer, Duran Duran, the Zac Brown Band and Pit Bull at the Woodlands Pavilion, a world-class outdoor concert venue 20 minutes from our house.

 4. Backyard pool – We loved having a pool in our backyard. I never thought I’d ever live in a house with a pool. Here in Houston though, it’s almost a necessity. We loved the resort-like feel of our backyard, and the dog enjoyed it every bit as much as we did. Even with kids of different ages, this was always something fun we could do together.

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Our dog, Charlie, enjoying his daily dip in the pool.

3. Tennis – Tennis is huge in Texas…who would have thought? I loved playing tennis as a kid, so when we moved into a house with a tennis court nearby I decided to sign up for lessons. I never looked back. I ended up playing in a weekly tennis league and met some of the nicest ladies. But don’t let their sweet southern smiles fool you – these ladies can hit a mean ball. Yes, I’ve already started researching indoor tennis in Calgary.

2. Kids sports (on steroids) – Ok, this can be a good and a bad thing. I’ll admit that sports, dance and activities here can be super competitive. Whether you want your kids involved at that level is a personal choice. But opportunities for kids here abound – your kids can play virtually any sport (even hockey!) and train at a very high level if they choose. My daughter has a couple of Olympic hopefuls on her swim team right now and my youngest daughter took class from some amazing choreographers from New York and LA. You don’t take these things for granted when you come from a small Alberta (or Nova Scotia) town.

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Saying goodbye at their last dance practice.

  1. Our Texas friends – Someone asked me the other day if moving gets any easier, to which I replied no. I can get over numbers 10 through 2 pretty easily, but #1 is a tough one, for all of us. You see…when you are feeling a bit like a “fish out of water,” having a network of warm, kind, generous and supportive women around you can really make all the difference. I’m so thankful they allowed themselves to get close to an “ex-pat,” who they knew would eventually be moving on. It’s also heart-wrenching to watch your kids say good-bye to their “besties” too. I don’t pretend to understand what our kids are going through right now… I went to school with the same kids from kindergarten to high school graduation! The saving grace here..and I can’t believe I’m going to say it… is social media. We keep telling the girls that texting and FaceTime really does make the world a smaller place, plus we’ve already scheduled a few visits. Our Texas friends know the welcome mat is always out for them at our new home in Calgary!

 

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Michelle
 

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