In an attempt to save a little money, Tom and I decided to drive our two cars to Texas rather than have Tom’s car towed behind the moving van. This meant that both Tom and I drove the ENTIRE way there (approximately 738,000 miles), and that when the kids were awake the parent with whom they were riding was singularly responsible for feeding, entertaining, and tending to them. When we arrived in College Station on the evening of December 12th we were all exhausted, and I was additionally quite grumpy and pudgy (four days of lethargy and fast food did nothing for my demeanor or my waistline).
Moods changed, however, when we woke on our first morning as Texas residents and were greeted by sunny skies and warm (by December-in-the-Midwest standards) temperatures. We picked up our keys, crossed the threshold into our new/temporary rental house, and began to settle in.
Here are a few first impressions jotted down a couple of weeks after we arrived in College Station:
“The pace of life here is a little slower – I notice it in particular on the roads, but also in line at the grocery store, at restaurants, and when I drop off and pick up Will from preschool. People are generally friendly. The local barbecue and Mexican food is delicious, but many of my favorite restaurants (I miss you dearly, Panera) and stores haven’t made their way here yet. There is a disc golf course on campus for Tom, but he has yet to encounter a Texan who actually knows what disc golf is. The daytime winter temperatures are mild, but the nighttime winter temperatures are still quite cold – in the 20s or 30s. I’m certainly not complaining about the weather now, but I can guarantee I will be come summer when the highs are in the 110s and the lows are in the 80s. In the "we’ll have to get used to this" category: most people drive huge pickup trucks or SUV's at least twice as big as Tom’s car, there are drive-through liquor stores that advertise drive-up windows large enough to accommodate semi-trucks, and some bars provide patrons with a to-go cup for unfinished beers. Just a few miles out of College Station is a "Cowboy Church", which church-goers attend on horseback. On the same stretch of road as the Cowboy Church we saw an entry to a ranch adorned with FOUR recently-slaughtered MOUNTAIN LIONS. (We did a little research later that day and found out that yes, there are mountain lions here.)”
We’ve been in College Station for almost exactly four months now, and in that time have done our best to take advantage of all the city has to offer and meet as many people as possible. My first impression is fading, and a more balanced and accurate impression is taking its place. I can’t wait to tell you all about it!