I am once again participating in Stasha’s listicles this week we’re supposed to write ten things about our hometown. Up until last week I would have had a really hard time figuring out which city to write about. Rome, where I was born but haven’t lived in since I was itty bitty and frankly I don’t even like or know it that much? Milan, where I went to university, met my husband and started my “adult” life? Cuneo, where I live now, doesn’t even come close to being the place I consider home though it’s home for my kids (mind boggling)? No, no and no.
Talking with my therapist a few weeks ago I excitedly told him I was going home for Christmas, and he asked, confused, where exactly I thought home was. Houston, Houston is where my heart is, Houston is HOME. And I’m going home for Christmas y’all, so this writing prompt couldn’t have come at a better time.
So here are my ten things you should know about Houston, from the perspective of a girl who hasn’t lived there in too many years.
1. Every one Sir and Ma’am’s you. In fact, people are polite, and nice, and generally smiley. I miss that so much.
2. The traffic is terrifying. It was barely manageable when I was a teenager many moons ago, nowadays I will not leave the house during peak traffic hours… it just seems that peak traffic hours are almost around the clock. In fact, I’m kind of worried cause one of my best friends in Houston lives way on the other side of town from my Mom so I’m wondering if I’m going to have to go visit her at 6am to avoid getting stuck on the freeway till my old age.
3. There’s a thriving international community. There are people of all nationalities; in fact, there’s a French school (which I attended) where you follow the French curriculum K-12 entirely in French.
4. The weather is almost more terrifying than the traffic. Which is a good thing or everyone would want to live there. I still remember the feeling of the hot, heavy, humid air on my body when I first stepped out of the airport as a kid when we moved there. It felt like I was walking around in a jar of hot molasses.
5. To compensate for the insufferable heat, the A/C is always turned down to hypothermia levels. Now that I no longer live there and have thawed out I need to wear a sweater everywhere I go. So to recap, if it’s summer you want to be wearing the least amount of clothes possible outside, and a sweater and socks inside, if it’s winter you want to be wearing jeans, flip flops and a light sweatshirt outside and possibly a coat, scarf and gloves inside.
6. Everything is bigger and more badass. Particularly the cockroaches. I promise you, you have NEVER seen cockroaches this large, and no, I don’t care if you live in NYC, you have us beat on rats, sure, but not roaches. Our roaches are so big you can put a saddle on ‘em and ride ‘em off into the sunset.
7. Another insect related one: mosquitos and fire ants. I have never seen fire ants in Europe, and for this I am thankful.
8. It’s close to the beach. Not a great beach by any stretch of the imagination, but you can get to Galveston and dip your toes in the water in a relatively short amount of time if you feel the need to get out of the city.
9. It’s got great entertainment. Entertainment I’m going to fully take advantage of starting next week.
10. Houston steals your heart. I’m not really from there, as neither I nor my parents were born there, but I grew up there. The childhood and young adulthood years are the ones that shape you, and this wonderful city, with all it’s contradictions, is in my heart more than any other place where I’ve pitched my tent these past 36 years. And I’m going NEXT WEEK!
I just wanted to add that I had a list in my drafts folder for a post I wanted to write about the things I missed the most and the least about Texas. This is what was on my list: Things I miss the most – Friends, sir – ma’am, politeness, A/C, big houses, cowboys, rodeo, whole foods market, tex-mex, real margaritas
Things I don’t miss about Texas: Cockroaches, Mosquitos, insane traffic, Insane urban planning, fire ants, water moccasins.
Now I guess I don’t even need to write that other post.