Saturday, 5 September 2015

Reasons I Like Houston

I decided when I got home from visiting all my family in Canada and Utah this summer to write a list of things I like about living here in Houston (well, technically Katy, but it's a suburb of Houston, and I count it the same.)  So here's my list in no particular order.

  •  Sea-level means absolutely easy candy making.  Boil to a soft ball means boil to the exact 235 degrees and it turns out perfect every time.  No fiddling with altitude changes on your temperature reading.
  • Diversity means that we have an import store from anywhere in the world roughly within a 30 mins of our house.  7 just on the main street over from our subdivision.  People watching is fun when you're out and about.  And I like that my kids experience that.
  • Restaurants. This kind of ties to the diversity thing, but I love the restaurants here.  There's a delicious Colombian cafe (best I've been to besides the one in Chicago) within two miles of our house.  We've also been to a yummy Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown part of Houston, and oh, my favorite, Middle Eastern food to die for.  I love lamb shawarma and cucumber salad and baklava like no other.  Seriously my favorite cuisine by far. And we've tried other stuff too, also good.  Anyway, it's fun to be able to pick a new place every time we go out to eat.  Yum. 
  • Also tied to the diversity, is my kids' bilingual program.  Every time Elena talks in Spanish to Leo, my heart sings a little.
  • Blue Bonnets.  Texas blue bonnets really are all that.  I love the spring when they carpet the sides of the highway and are out in the fields.  Beautiful.
  • The Texas Renaissance Faire.  I love that it has school days where everything is edited for kids.  Also, just that it is so huge and cool.
  • There's also a ton of museums here.  We really should go to more of them.  But the Children's Museum is AMAZING.  Love it and my kids loved it.  Also the Fine Arts Museum was super nice and actually they had a great program for kids too.
  • The beach is fun to visit.  Especially nice for taking photos as pirates and camping.
  • JoAnn Fabric, Hancocks, Hobby Lobby and a independently owned quilt store are all within 10 minutes of my house. And the JoAnn's is HUGE.  I don't think Leo likes this so much, but I have taken advantage of it to its fullest. 
  • The medical care in Houston is world famous and excellent.  And we've benefitted from that a lot since I've had two surgeries and Isabel had a surgery since living here. It's just nice and comforting. I also love my pediatrician and ob, and Ana's orthodontist was excellent.
  • There's a Christmas Dicken's Faire in Galveston. I've yet to go due to conflicts in scheduling, but I would go every year if I could.
  • I know I mentioned diversity in stores earlier, but this is a special shout out to Fiesta and Aldi. Fiesta is a Hispanic supermarket that's like Krogers or whatever in size.  And I can get really great deals on produce there and they have weird stuff all the time too.  Always fun.  Also, I can buy delicious German herring fillets in horseradish sauce for me and Pony Malta and guanabana pulp for Leo there too.  And Mint Aeros.  Yum.  And Aldi, well, I know Aldi is all over Eastern United States, but it's not in Utah, and that's a shame, because it has really random deals on household items that are dirt cheap but amazingly, are actually pretty good quality.  And they have delicious imported European chocolate.  What's not to love?
  • Once Upon a Child is fabulous to shop at.  I can pretty much find whatever I'm looking for every time I go and it has less expensive prices than Goodwill, but the stuff is much nicer and in better condition, and they have a play area for kids that my toddlers can't get out of.  Love that.  
  • Yeah, another store gets it's own post, The Phoenicia Market. I think it's Jordanian, but it is the voted the number #1 supermarket in Houston consistently.  It is amazing.  Last time we went they had lamb's head for sale.  A whole isle of olives.  Feta cheese in 5 gallon buckets.  You get the idea.  Anyway, I don't go there that often because it's 15 miles away so it takes about 40 mins to drive there in traffic.  But it is super cool.
  • My daughter goes to the same high school that Clint Black went to.  This is more of fun fact than a thing I love, but oh well, it's making the list.
  • Craigslist is wonderful.  10 million people in the area means that if you wait long enough, you can find anything you want on Craigslist for a decent price eventually.
  • I have several sewing students and it is so fun to teach sewing. I'm grateful all the time for that opportunity to learn to be a better teacher and share my love of sewing.  (Yeah, I know, I'm pretty pathetic that I'm sappy about sewing, but I really do love teaching it.)
  • Bro. Allsop's Strengthening the Family and Strengthening Marriage classes were just what I needed, and I know it's the church's curriculum, but without his expertise it wouldn't be the same.  I loved that I had the opportunity to go to those.  
  • Pecans!  I love picking pecans off the sidewalk and munching them.  Yum, yum.  
1.  This does get a number one, because it is far and above my number one reason for liking Houston, and that is my absolutely awesome friends and ward that I have here.  I have so many fabulous friends and seriously, everybody is so kind, it's stunning really.  I've mentioned my family being sick on Facebook and received 5 offers to bring us dinner within an hour. Asked where to buy something and had it delivered to my door.  My friend Karen takes my kids to and from school everyday--my kids adore her kids--Elena and Audrey are best friends, and Chase and Sebastian are best friends.  My friend Britney always amazes me with her wisdom and spiritual strength, I seriously want to be her.  And I could just go on and on, Vickie, Chelsey, Alison, Diane, just to name a few, and all the great times I've had with them at playgroup (which should be renamed "Mother's Support Group") and swim team practice while waiting for our kids.  But not just my close friends are super kind and generous and fun to be around, it literally is the WHOLE ward. I think I know more people here than I ever had in my whole life in one ward, from young newly married couples, to elderly retired couples.  And not only that, but Relief Society here is the best.  I honestly feel like I learn so much from the other women in class, they are spiritual giants, and I feel lucky to listen to their lessons and hear their comments.  Kim Higbee, I wish she taught a class on Isaiah just because that would be awe inspiring.  Anyway, I could go and on, but I really do feel that I've been so blessed by so many people here.


The Haws Family said...

We have Aldi (and a new one much closer to us!) and we love it. We also have Fiesta but we never go cause it's further away, but I can get mint aero's at Publix. Also, friends are amazing. I am getting more and more and more sad that we have to move next year. Luckily, most of them are students and won't be in Miami much longer either. 😀

Lynn said...

Just reading this makes me miss Calgary all the more. More things offered there. More diversity. More culture. *sigh* Lucky you! Glad you enjoy where you live. Don't get me wrong..LOVE it here now too.....just miss the bigger city with more options somedays. :)