After all of the packing, all of the prayer, and all of the miles logged into our van, we have moved into our new home. The journey was so intricate that one might be discouraged to make it; however, we were sure of our decision and took the complications one step at a time.
The first bump in the road was the house itself. My husband had driven many miles and hours with a realtor to find us a rental home in Texas. While he found one on which we put an application (and had the application approved), less than a week before we were to begin our drive to Texas, the home owner pulled out. That left us scrambling to find a place in Texas, while Ken was back in Connecticut. Our amazing realtor, knowing what kind of home we were looking for, found us another home TWO days before we were to leave. It is lovely, and has room to fit our big family!
Now that we’ve been here about two months and I’ve had a few quiet moments to reflect, here are a few of my unedited observations of Dallas.
Dallas is HUGE. I mean, populated, spread out, and intricate. Thank GOODNESS for GPS on my phone. It has saved me.
Dallas is BUSY. The energy with which people travel and move is dizzying. One of my sons said, appraising of the massive road system (during a non-rush hour time frame), that it looks like there has been a mandatory evacuation of downtown and people are fleeing home. There seems to be an unspoken sense of urgency that my family is feeling and observing, but in which we are not participating.
Dallas is DIFFERENT. The city that I left seven years ago feels foreign. I attribute that to several factors:
- I/we have changed so much.
- We’re living in a different area of town.
- The city has grown and changed quite a bit.
- Very few of our former friends have reached out and talked to us/invited us over. (I don’t say that resentfully or with hurt feelings…just stating a fact.)
We’re making great new friendships with the community with whom my husband is working, but it isn’t like stepping back into a familiar set of old clothing. One other element to this feeling could be that, when we lived here before, my world was very small. I didn’t travel very far outside of my neighborhood, and certainly didn’t travel downtown. This time around, I am living in every inch of the city, venturing to places that I would have never dreamed of journeying before. (Thank you New Haven for making me brave!)
Dallas is BARREN. This is probably the only point that really is a criticism, the only point that has been soul-crushing (at the risk of sounding too dramatic.) After having lived in New England, complete with more trees than can be counted, an ocean as a landmark in town, bicycle lanes wildly used but taken for granted, orchards and pick-your-own places less than 1/2 hour away, and hiking as an ever-present option, Dallas is lacking. The problem is that we moved at the beginning of Fall, when New England comes alive, when all activities are centered around the outdoors – acquiring pumpkins, picking apples, going through hay mazes, driving around to look at the stunning backdrop of changing leaves and enjoying the crisp temperatures – to be dropped in a region where the climate doesn’t sustain orchards, there are very few outdoor activities (it is still to stinkin’ hot!), a sweater is the last thing you’d think of, and the leaves on the trees don’t change colors – they just burn up and drop off. It is surprising to me how much I breathed in the activities of that region, and how I find that don’t breath quite as deeply down here.
There have also been a few lovely surprises.
The new community that we are developing is welcoming and warm. We have jumped into a new church meeting in downtown Dallas that has welcomed us with open arms, and I feel the potential of a few great friends here.
Our kids have found friends pretty quickly within that new community. They’re not linked as heart-friends yet, but at least they have found kids their ages with whom they can spend time and be accepted.
Our home is great, and our landlord is amazing. He has permissioned us to really live in the home and make changes if we wish, and greeted us with a welcome basket and a $50 gift card to a local restaurant.
The area in which we live is diverse and convenient.
We have enjoyed visiting some of the places that were familiar when we lived here before. We’ve visited parks, our former homes, and favorite restaurants, watching the kids’ faces as they stretch back in their memories for anything that they recognize.
No change is easy, and yet, we are thriving pretty well. I am challenged to completely embrace my new city and see what God has for us in this new environment. I’ll keep you posted along the way!