Jun 02 2014

Texas is Weird (For a Newcomer)

So, after about 3 weeks in the lovely city of Houston, Texas, I’ve got quite of a list mentally prepared of things I’ve noticed that make this city, or possibly this state, very different from every place I’ve ever lived.

Now, first let me review where I’ve lived before. I grew up in rural Northern Minnesota, at 18, I moved to Gulfport, (Biloxi sister city) Mississippi, moved then to Bellevue, (Omaha Suburb) Nebraska, lived there until I got divorced, then moved to Des Moines, Iowa (capital city!) and a year later to Ames, IA (home of Iowa State University.) That’s where we were before moving here, to the lovely South-East Texas city of Houston.

So, we moved down the weekend of the 18th of May and have had a few weeks to digest our new home and city. Given that this is going to be a much more permanent experience for us, we definitely have to get used to, and learn to like, this city and state. Including all the awkward, weird, and downright strange things that come with it. So today I’m sharing the first 5 things that immediately come to mind about why this city is so different from everywhere else I’ve lived.

-The number of same stores in a short distance is incredibly overwhelming. Along a 3-4 mile stretch of one single road, you can find 2 Home Depot stores and 3 Target stores. There’s at least 4 Krogers within a 5 mile radius around my home. This city is SO dense that as odd as it seems to me, it actually makes some logical sense for this area!

-There’s a ton of great produce, and it’s gorgeous. Even walking through the small produce section at Target, the produce is better than it was in the Midwest. I haven’t even hit up one of the 7+ farmers markets yet! and I already know it’s going to be great for my veggie lovin’ self.

-Poor/Homeless people are everywhere, not just the “bad parts” of the city. We live in the suburbs and less than a mile away is an intersection where people walk along every median knocking on car windows asking for change. And it’s apparently normal. And incredibly sad.

-Dogs and Cats are overwhelmingly abundant. Just ask the shelters! I went to the animal shelter last week on Wednesday so that I could meet the dogs, but had to wait until Friday to adopt a pup. I went right away at noon (opening time) so that I could hopefully get the dog I wanted, and there, staining at then entrance were vehicles with over 20 kittens, 10+ grown cats, 5+ grown dogs and over 15 puppies waiting to be surrendered to the shelter. That count is only what I gathered from the vehicles that we’re lined up before 11:50 and what I could count before it was my turn in line to adopt my new pal (see bottom of post for pic of Mandi!) It broke my heart.
This is just part of the line of cars waiting for the shelter to open. Almost all surrenders.

-Lastly for this immediate first five list, Kolaches. Those are a thing here. We drove around for the first two weeks wondering what it meant when the Donut stores signs said “Donuts & Kolaches” and we’re just like “Whaaaat the heck is a Kolache?” and then made silly jokes about them and went in search for one at 8pm on a Saturday (which by the way, is impossible,) anyway, here’s a link to what they are in case you also don’t know. I think Nick had some for breakfast this morning, really delicious as far as I know.  
Anyway, that’s just a first five things that come to my mind. Moving here has been a major culture shock but one thing above all, I LOVE it here. After moving out of the south back in 2010, I’ve yearned to move back since then because I just feels great. It’s so hot outside, but I’m loving the sun anyway. I haven’t made any friends yet (I’m REALLY bad at that) but in general, the people are friendly. 
Any of you Texans/Houstonians, any advice, oddities about your home that come to mind, etc, that you want to note? Comment below.
Mandi, our new family member, is the sweetest and most calm and gentle pup I’ve ever met!

(Visited 119 time, 1 visit today)


  1. Nick Hamden

    Had two kolaches. Pretty enjoyable, but I didn’t go diverse enough. Later in the week will try again. Hopefully will get one with gravy in it.

  2. Trish

    I’ve only ever driven through Texas, but it’s so big it does sort of feel like you moved in for a while ;-) And it almost does feel like a different country down there. If given the chance I’d totally move there!

    1. Shelby Michalek

      It does feel a lot different, but every day I’m realize how much more “normal” it feels and is and I actually forget how far it is from everywhere. I don’t feel like I’m any farther from everywhere. I realize I don’t make sense right now and probably need coffee.

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