Five years ago (almost to the day), my husband and I began a journey that took us away from everyone and everything familiar and cherished. North Carolina had been our home for almost 50 years and we loved it there. Family, friends, fulfilling careers, and a treasure chest brimming over with memories (collectively, roughly 100 years worth) surrounding special people and places resided in that state.
We were entering uncharted territory.
Fueled with a mixed tank of emotions...anticipation for what lay ahead and heartache for what lay behind, we headed west. New life opportunities are like that. You know what you are leaving behind - and if it is great, it hurts to move forward. And yet...I believe the human spirit is hopeful, expectant, and open to new adventures and the wonderfulness that can be added to the whole of life.
Houston, TX, home to millions, many of whom we would discover were also "transplants", wrapped us up in a sea of concrete and escorted us along one super highway after another until we reached our new home. Permanent vacation....that is what it felt like for a while. Such a strange thing to never see anyone you know around town. In NC, I always made sure to do a double take in the mirror before I headed out the door - I was guaranteed to see somebody I knew before returning home ...
With its wide open spaces, pickup trucks, longhorns, and cowboy boots in abundance, we did our best to settle in, meet new friends, and fill up our social calendar. Due to a very intentional "plugging in" campaign, in a relatively short time, we were enjoying the company of many new friends. Life in a sprawling metropolis ensured no shortage of exciting things to experience with others and we have done our best to take advantage of much of them: professional baseball, football and basketball games; ballet, theatre, symphony and opera ; world series dog show, nation's largest rodeo, polo matches, horse races; zoo, aquarium, concerts, and museums, just to name a few! Travel 45 minutes in any direction and an entirely new set of possibilities for fun abound: San Jacinto Monument, Kemah Boardwalk, Galveston, NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, the Texas Renaissance Festival, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum, and on and on. Looking back, I can see that we have been successful in packing in as much as possible during the past five years!
And then there is...the FOOD...oh my! To be open for business is to be spectacular. With the immense competition, it is impossible to stay in existence otherwise. Odd fact (yes I have data), but true: Houstonians eat out at restaurants more often than residents in any other city in the US. I can honestly say that we have done our best to prove the statistic correct and to sample every cuisine offered. Some foods became our favorites and some well...not so much. My least favorite hands down, was a crawfish boil!
What I know for sure is that everything happens for a reason... This Texas adventure has grown and stretched me in immeasurable ways and has given me the opportunity to explore new interests, make new friends, learn new skills, and add a new dimension to my professional life... There will be remnants of my life in Texas that continue to find their way into my thoughts, conversations, journal entires, and I have no doubt, a future children's picture book. Yes, everything happens for a reason...
The movers are just about finished. It is time to go home. Home...where the hearts of loved ones beat the loudest.