We've put our notice in at the apartment and by Christmas we will be homeless. Just kidding, we will be living somewhere else, but we aren't sure where that is just yet. We know where we're most likely going to go, like 99% sure, but knowing the universe the moment I say it out loud something will shift and we'll get the call that we're going to Canada or somewhere random. (Just kidding, totally 100% not an option, but you know what I mean.) So it's been a combination of stress and excitement around here and the anticipation makes the days feel like they are passing by faster and slower at the same time somehow. I'm just dying to know. I have a love/hate relationship with surprises. It's fun and all to find things out last minute, but I'm the kind of person who would much rather be "in" on the surprise. I need a little mental preparation. So that part stresses me out. (As easy going as I am, which really, I am.) And Johns been more than a little stressed lately. I say it all the time, but he's working like a mad man and that's because he has to. He has a job to finish. When we moved here the original plan was that he should be done by August. Then it got pushed back to October. Then pushed back to December. For a number of reasons, but all the rain earlier this year sure didn't help. So it's been a lot, a lot, a lot, a lot of hours playing catch-up to get done. (I don't talk specifically about the project he's on for privacy reasons. He gets that.) But besides the not-for-sure-knowing-where part, I am so excited to move again. I think what we both love about moving to new places is that it suddenly makes life feel so alive. There's something just exhilarating about packing up and driving to a place we've never been before and not knowing anyone or anything. It's the feeling of having a home, but not really having a home. It might be weird, but I like saying goodbye (to places not people), and starting over and when everything feels brand new and unknown. Maybe that's all wrong, but I like it. For lack of a better word, it's just fun and I'm dying for that feeling again. (Although I will most definitely get super stressed about it too, but I like to think the excitement outweighs the stress part.)
But until I can get a solid confirmation, I'm just trying to chill out and soak up all the Texas that I can. Because the thing is, we like Texas. We really like it. Something about this state has really found a sweet spot in our hearts and I don't think it will ever leave us. (I'm emotional today, FYI.) Neither of us had ever even visited Texas before we moved here, and I'll admit that I had a certain idea of what it would be like. I totally judged it from movies and stereotypes and country music. (I pictured a lot more overalls.) I thought for sure that I wouldn't really like it, but figured I could live anywhere "temporarily" and at the time it was like a hallelujah to be skipping out on winter. So besides the warmer weather, I wasn't really expecting to like much else here. And it did take me a while to get used to, but then it really grew on me. John I think liked it right away, and I feel like I can say this because I've known him since he was 19, but he's really grown and found himself more in the past year and I think that Texas has something to do with that. I have this theory that you can never really get to know who you are until you go away somewhere completely new and different and leave behind everything you know. When you have no choice but to actually be alone with yourself and figure out what it is that you like and dislike, without family or friends or circumstances or your location subtly hinting at you what you should be like, or what your life should look like. It's something that I think about a lot now that I've been gone for a few years, and I don't think that the growing process ever stops, but each year and each place we live at I can feel myself detaching from who I "thought" I should be, into who I want to be. I'm probably losing/confusing you at this point and maybe it's a whole other topic for another day, but the point is that I think we have both changed since we've lived here. We've grown up a little bit more. Found ourselves a little bit more. (I think we like being married too, and that's probably changed us both for the better also.) And I think out of all the places we've lived, besides our home state obviously, Texas has become a part of us more than anywhere else.
And not just in big transformative ways like growing up and "finding" ourselves, we've changed in little ways too.
When we first drove into the state last year, I texted my sister that "everyone drives a truck." It was something that I noticed right away. And then not even three weeks later, we got a truck. It was for a few reasons, mainly because this was the first construction site Johns had to work on (as opposed to the office) and a truck was ideal for that and will be in the future as he will have to work on more. And because my car about died after the 20 hour drive down here. So we traded it in and got a truck. At first, I was honestly kind of against it. "Let's not become them" I was thinking. "We're not country" I kept repeating to myself. But it's been one of the best decisions ever. Not only for his job, but for our lifestyle. Moving this next time will be much easier now. (Unless we move to a huge city, but not looking that way.) Our dog loves it. And most importantly John loves it. He feels like himself in it, and I can't really picture him driving anything else now. He actually drove a truck forever, until he got a new car (the one that's mine now) a few years ago when we were in Omaha. And I don't think he ever really liked it. The truck just fits him so much better. (Size-wise and personality-wise, haha.) And on the topic of vehicles, Texas has greatly improved my own driving skills. This city (or more like Houston) has crazy traffic and like 6/7 lane highways and I've had to learn how to be a super aggressive driver. And not only does the highway itself scare me a little, but then they have these roller coaster like tall and narrow overpasses that are really scary. Sometimes they're overlapping, like on top of each other. It terrified me at first and I just avoided driving on them for the longest time. (Reminds me of this scene from Clueless...getting the middle finger and all, haha.) But I got used to it. When my parents were here earlier this year my Dad kept commenting on how good I was driving, which is kind of a big deal because I was the girl who failed her first drivers test/no one ever lets drive. So it's been a great learning experience for me, as far as that goes. I may still not ever, ever, ever understand where north/south/east/west is, but I can now change 5 lanes in 2 seconds if needed.
Our vocabulary has changed slightly. I started thinking about it when I noticed John was using the word "ain't" a lot. At first I would always correct him because "we're not county", but then I started listening around and I hear it a lot. I think it's just one of those words that are more acceptable here than they are where we're from. He'll also occasionally say "ya'll" and it always catches me off guard. He doesn't believe, me but I swear I've never said it myself. I think he catches onto these things more than I do because he's around more people than I am on a daily basis. (Although the 5 year old I watch uses "ya'll" a lot and it makes me smile like th-----iiiii-----ss big every time.) But I know myself personally, and I'm sure I've picked up a little bit of an accent. I remember when we were in Omaha and I caught myself saying words differently. But it will never change enough to make a difference. Just the other weekend someone commented on mine, so I know it's still there. (They compared it to a Minnesota accent and I was like, nooooooo!") So I think those are kind of stuck with us no matter how many "ain'ts" or "ya'lls" we throw in. But I have gotten used to being called a Ma'am. The first time I heard it was at the bank, and I stopped and was like, "who me?" Hahaha. It's another word I don't think we hear up north often, but it's become normal to me now. (This man we live near is always saying to his dog "no ma'am!" and we laugh SO HARD about it, haha. Not to his face obviously..)
And not only have I gotten used to John casually using the word "ain't", I've gotten used to him wearing cowboy boots too which was another thing that I was really against at first. I didn't say like, "no don't do it!" but I wasn't like excited about it. If it isn't obvious by now, that was something I was really worried about. Where we're from, being country was kind of a fade a few years ago (maybe it still is, I don't know) so me-being-me back then, I tried to be country. John makes so much fun of me for this, because he was away at college so he wasn't really part of this phase, but yeah I tried to be country. I had (really expensive) cowboy boots (sold on eBay, thank you very much) and my friends and I would go to country bars and I'm not kidding people would line dance and two-step and guys would wear cowboy hats...and it was kind of ridiculous because nothing about our lives were country. (Other than living in a very small, boring town.) I even went to a hoedown once, in Detroit, which makes no sense! So I was very, very against us becoming country because I had already been through that phase and was quite honestly embarrassed about it and wanted to forget it ever happened, haha. But back to John, when he said he was going to get some, in my head I was like, "no not my John!" I didn't actually say that, but I think he knew I was a little apprehensive about it, like "go ahead.." But now, they are SO him. I almost can't picture him in anything else. He wore a pair of converse-like shoes to the airport when we went to Vegas and it just didn't seem like him at all anymore. And something about his confidence when he wears them is pretty sexy. He's been researching getting another pair for a while, and I am all about it now. I can just imagine it being his thing, and someday our (future) kids just knowing that their Dad wears cowboy boots. (I don't know why I have these thoughts, but they make me happy, haha.) But, me on the other hand. No. Never. My style is always changing as I'm forever searching for what's "me", but I don't think Texas has had too much of an effect on that. I wear belts a bit more..but I think that's just an everywhere trend right now...right?
The biggest physical change in my appearance from our time in Texas is probably...the 5 lbs I've gained in bbq and Mexican food. Haha, no just kidding..it's probably the 4 butter cookies I ate just now. But really, the food here is #theebest. I'm pretty sure that Johns two favorite food groups were already bbq and Mexican food, so no changes with him, but now so are mine. More specifically though, I am obsessed with Mexican food now. I have a few more places on my bucket list that I really hope we'll have time to try before we leave. I just can't get enough. (Give me all the queso and fajitas and margaritas!!) And I have a new fast-food love by the name of Chick-fil-a...which is good because there are Chick-fil-a's where we are probably moving, and maybe bbq...but probably not good Mexican food. (Hint-hints.) OH, and donuts. I know a donut is a donut, but I think what I love about Texas is that it's so donut encouraging ;) Donut shops everywhere. I've probably had more donuts this year than all of my years combined. And John looves Kolaches. We had never heard of these before, but they're pretty good, I must agree. Basically it's a little dough ball filled with fruit or meat and cheese. Johns favorite is ham and cheese. I of course go for the more sweet sugary fruit options. Or a donut if that's available..
I've actually been writing and rewriting this post for a while now because other than trucks and boots, and donuts, I was having a hard time trying to explain exactly what it is that we like about Texas. I asked John the other night, and he said something about its "this is who we are and we don't care what you think" attitude. Like, Texas doesn't apologize for being Texas. (Like how I'm talking about a state like it's a person lol?) And maybe that is part of it. I had always heard that Texas was like it's own county, and I couldn't agree more. They make their own rules here. I can't think of any real good examples to use, but off the top of my head, here's this one: they have some 80 mph speed limits here. Maybe it's like that in other states/areas too, but the first time I saw it I did a double take. How is that even legal?! (Or safe?!) There's one of these areas on the way to Austin, and there are houses nearby and everything. I feel like they are very lenient on driving/road rules. I better not jinx it now, but I have never been afraid of being pulled over here for some reason. We live next to a police station and I fly past it everyday. It just doesn't seem like they care. Or they just let everyone be? Or they don't need the ticket money like Michigan does, haha...I don't know. I can't even tell you how many tickets I got in Michigan (once for driving through a yellow light, once for pulling out into the left hand turn lane..), but I've never been worried about it here. Which I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. People put their dogs in the beds of their trucks for gosh sake while they fly down the highway! Once I actually pulled up behind a truck and a man was sitting in the back casually eating some takeout. With a fork and all. It was the longest red light of my life trying to not make eye contact with him. His expression was totally like, 'I'm from Texas and I don't care.' (Jk, lol.) I'm pretty sure that would be illegal where I come from (the dog too). And this actually is illegal per the google search I just did...but we always thought drinking in the car was legal (not the driver obviously) because they have margarita drive-thru's?! Seriously! Maybe those are bad examples, but you get what I mean. It's their own little (actually, big) world here, and they do what they want, and I think we kind of like that attitude.
And speaking of dogs, we got a dog! (And he will never go in the bed of the truck.) I think he's contributed a lot to our happiness here. We always knew that we wanted a dog "someday", and I wrote more about it here, but something just felt right and we finally did it. And I know for sure part of that was being in Texas. When I was first calling around for apartments here, they would always ask if we had a pet and I would reply that no we didn't, and I remember one man saying, "oh well Texas is great for dogs!" And I remember thinking how that was such a weird thing to say, like where wouldn't it be? And then we moved here, and I get it. It is a great place for dogs! Everyone has a dog (or two, or three). Ted has more friends than we do, combined. (Really, we counted once.) Our apartment and every other place I looked at has a dog park. I can only hope that wherever we end up next will be as dog obsessed as this state is. And has a gate (Texas thing? We don't know). And maybe has snow because we are dying to see how Ted reacts to snow, haha.
But maybe we're just happy. We've been happy here (most of the time). And that could have little or nothing to do with this actual state, and more to do with what we're both doing here. Like, yes the weather is nice, we like that it's November and still in the 80's. But I think we're mostly happy because we're both doing work that we like (most of the time..), we like where we live, we've been able to see and do a lot of things, we have a little sense of home with some family (mine) nearby and we got that little Teddy guy. Life has been good. Maybe it's Texas and maybe it's not, but I know that I will always hold fond memories of this place and the year we spent here.
We don't really care where we're sent to next...as long as it isn't country. Just kidding, we really don't care. We try to keep an open mind. So right now we have our Plan A...and that's about it, but whatever happens we will manage. We're easy. But in the mean time we're trying to enjoy the last of our time here. When we were walking a few weeks ago, John was talking about how cool the clouds looked and asked me if I thought that they looked different here. Like, they are closer somehow. And at first I said no I didn't think so, but now I catch myself looking up at them constantly, and I think maybe they do. I keep trying to, but it's so hard to capture them. Whenever I'm outside with the dog, when I'm driving (hence the top photo lol). Kind of how I can't capture what it is that I like about Texas, and why it's been different. I just do and it just is. It's something that I can't exactly put into words. (Forever trying to find the right words.) So all I can say is that we like you Texas, and we're so thankful for you and our time here. (Treating it like it's a person again...lol.)
Hopefully I'll be able to confirm something soon, because as much as we like it here, we're also looking forward to the next chapter, whatever that may be. So until then...John will be working and I'll be staring up at the clouds and eating all the food ;)