- FIRE ANTS--Have you ever heard of a fire ant? Well, come to Texas and you'll know all about them. In fact, you have not really experienced Houston without getting bit by a fire ant. Don't be a wimp. You can do it. Just step in a pile of fire ants (unless you are allergic) and see what happens. It only stings a bit. But then it will itch for the next week and you will get a white puss head at the peak of the red bump that will form on your skin. It's just a part of life in Texas. Get used to it, and buy some fire ant killer. Then you must use it after each rain storm, which brings more of these harmless-looking microscopic-sized nuisances into your yard. P.S. If you do happen to be allergic. You may not DIE, but you will have a bump, or welt on your skin as wide as a baseball. Welcome to Texas!
- Cajun Food--Almost every Houstonian loves Cajun food, which really comes from Louisiana. One word for you--SPICY! Spencer and I only gave it a try once. We had fried alligator meat for an appetizer. It wouldn't have mattered what type of meat it was--squid, liver, duck, elk, snake--all we could taste was HOT! So if you ask me what alligator tastes like, sorry, I really couldn't say. We had some other type of fish for our main course, but again, too spicy to enjoy. I do, however, need to give GUMBO a try. To tell the truth, I don't entirely know what it is, but I hear people talk about it. I think it is some coagulated meat sauce that you serve over rice, probably spicy?
- Downtown--I like it. It's clean. It feels safe. I don't think there is much culture here compared to other places, but it's still fun. Some of my favorite places are the butterfly museum (A man-made rain forest with all types of butterflies fluttering around. If you wear bright, flowery colors, they will land on you), the Miller Outdoor Theatre (has free concerts, plays, and events year round. We look forward to seeing "Hansel and Gretel," the Opera this summer), the Houston Children's Museum (one of the best in the country), and Hermann Park (Houston's "central" park with lovely gardens. A mini train runs through it and it has water fountains to splash in).
- Phraseology--In my experience, every native Texan has been known to say one particular phrase that drives me crazy. The word is "fixin'". "I'm fixin' to put gas in my car", "I'm fixin' to cook dinner", "We're fixin' to go to church". Not my cup of tea.
- Real Estate--The best thing about Texas is the price of the homes. The homes are mostly made of brick. They are building the homes so much bigger these days and in Houston, they are affordable. For instance, we bought out house for about $170K and it is 2700 square feet, two story, high quality home. Lovely. How are we ever going to move away from such luxury?
- Scenery--You'd be surprised at how green it is in Houston. West Texas is flat, ugly, dry. Houston is rainy, humid, and very green (still, nothing compared to the east coast). Lots of pine and oak. You can grow various tropical plants here.
- Master-planned communities--The only city that I know that has these wonderful neighborhoods is Houston. They build subdivisions like a mini town with walking trails, ponds, schools, stores, pools, rec. centers, tennis courts, golf courses, etc. If you are interested, take a look on-line. (Fairfield, Bridgeland, Greyson Lakes are some of the biggest and best). That's another thing. Every subdivision has a name that can be seen while driving. Most names are put on stone or brick with flowers and plants surrounding. FYI, I live in "Lakewood Glen Trails."
- SUMMER--Lastly, and worstly, the summer. If you want to move here, come visit in the summer and see if you can handle the humidity and the heat. If you know you do not want to move here, avoid the summer at all costs. I prefer to leave in the summer but if I do stick around, I will catch you indoors or in a pool. Of course, you can't let this prevent you from ever coming. It only lasts 4 months! You can handle it! Come on!
I'll close this post by telling you we LOVE it here (wow, this kind of sounds like my Houston Testimony!). We live 10 miles from the temple. Winter, Spring, and Fall are wonderful. The schools in Texas are good. Come join us. We only lack one thing in Houston--family connection! (Cousin Jon is four hours away, and Uncle John is 11 hours away).