Sunday, February 22, 2015

Let's Talk About Texas Part 1

Now that we've been in Texas for over a year, I feel like I can safely comment on both the good and bad about living here.

 I'll admit I wasn't overly thrilled about the move to Texas. I love my home state of Utah and would have happily lived there my whole life. I knew transitioning to living in a new state so far from home would be hard for me, and I would constantly be comparing Texas to Utah. I told myself I could have 5 things I disliked about Texas, but otherwise I needed to have a positive attitude about the lone star state. And while I definitely found my five things, I found a lot of wonderful things about Texas as well.

We'll start first with:

The 5 Worst Things About Texas

1. Allergies/Illness- This is a big one for me. Let's just say that after rent, bills, and groceries, one of our biggest expenses the past few months has been tissues. I would bet that we might have even spent more money on tissues than we have on gas (it's been so cheap here). Colds have been a common occurrence since the day I arrived. I feel like since moving to Texas I get sick way more often and it lasts extra long.  I'm guessing this has something to do with a desert girl living in a humid climate?

Also, let's talk about allergies. Austin is notorious for bad allergies, more specifically Cedar Fever. Thankfully I don't think I'm allergic to the Juniper trees here...yet. Apparently, you may not be allergic to cedar upon first moving to Austin, but a lot of people get the allergy a year or two later. And Cedar Fever is no joke. I remember when I first moved here during the peak cedar season, I seriously thought there was a severe cold/flu thing going around the elementary school I was working at. But no, it's just allergies! There are other allergies besides cedar though, and I'm definitely allergic to something, as is Alex. We're thinking it's mold? Maybe ragweed? Whatever it is, it makes me miserable, even when I take allergy medicine. Traveling to Utah is great because my allergy symptoms almost completely disappear by the end of the trip! I didn't have allergies this past summer, so I'm hoping that they go away again as it warms up.

2. Roads/Traffic- Traffic in Austin is notorious for being awful. I read somewhere that Austin has the 3rd worst traffic in the nation. Ugh. Luckily we live super close to work, and we don't live near downtown. But we do live kinda close to the freeway so if we go anywhere even close to rush hour, it's a nightmare. The other major problem with the roads is that they are not wide and spacious like I'm used to. The lanes are so narrow here and it gives me a heart attack to drive. Sometimes the lanes are so narrow, your tires are literally in the gutter. Yikes. I've gotten kinda used to it though, and I'm a more confident driver for it. Texas also has frontage roads alongside all major freeways, and while they're the greatest, they're also the worst. Below is a picture of how the frontage road system works.

Got it? And if you want to be somewhere on the other side of the freeway, you use turnarounds. They are definitely handy because you don't have to wait at any lights, but knowing if you're in a turnaround lane or just a regular left hand turn lane can be kinda confusing.

3. Nature- I couldn't think of a better title for this category, but there are basically three things I want to talk about. First of all, no mountains. It was really hard to leave those behind. Not just because I'm still completely disoriented to direction, but because they are beautiful, comforting, and home. Sometimes when I look at the wide open spaces it makes me feel uncomfortable with all the... space. I like the protection of being surrounded by mountains and I'm not completely used to how flat it is. Luckily though Austin is on the outside edge of Hill Country, and it's not nearly as flat as say, West Texas. Second, let's talk about the grass. Apparently Texas has decided it's impossible to have nice grass. I always loved walking barefoot in the grass at night in the summertime... yeah you wouldn't do that in Texas. In addition to avoiding bugs and insects like, you know, fire ants, the grass is just completely nasty and uncomfortable. Texas grass looks a little like this:

and this:

and this:

And finally, let's talk about mosquitoes. Austin has lots and lots of rivers and streams, which also means lots of mosquitoes. And since mosquitoes love me, I love life so much when I go outside in the spring/summer.

4. Weather- I have never been one of those girls who gets cold all the time. In fact, I'm the total opposite. I get warm quickly and easily and I hate being hot and sweaty. I was completely dreading the move to Texas for this very reason. This last summer was apparently a pretty mild one, which is good, because I was seriously over the heat come September. And of course it lasted through October. Also, humidity. It's seriously the worst. It makes the hot hotter, and the cold colder. But come the wonderfully mild winter you sort of forget how horrible the weather is in the summer, and all you can remember is the sunshine and pool days.

5. Family-Probably the worst thing about living in Texas is that we are a thousand miles away from our family. This was really hard for me at first, but I've adjusted and I am super grateful for technology so we can stay connected. Visiting family is also super expensive... but totally worth it.

I don't want anyone to read this and think I hate living in Texas. I really do love it. If you had asked me a year ago if I wanted to move back to Utah I would have said yes in a heartbeat. Today, my answer is a definite no way. I feel like Austin is where we need to be right now, and I'm really happy with the life we've created here. Plus, Austin and Texas in general have a lot to offer, and there's still so much we want to see and do! And, to convince all y'all  to come visit us, I'll be doing another post on my 5 favorite things about Texas.


  1. I LOVE this post. I seriously dream about moving back to Texas, but totally feel ya on everything listed above. I remember loving visiting family in Utah as a kid b/c I loved running around in the soft (chigger/mosquito free) grass, and the mountains were so magical :)

    But there's so much i miss about my home state. Can't wait to read the next post!

  2. I'm so glad you're here and we're here at the same time! You guys are one of the best things about Austin!
    Great post!