By Sally Torbey
Houston here she comes!Uploaded: Jun 12, 2015
It is immediately obvious whether the person to whom I'm speaking has ever been to Houston when I mention that our soon-to-be-college-graduate daughter is moving there for a job. Folks that have lived in Houston or visited for longer than an overnight business trip are actually pretty enthusiastic. Those with less knowledge or personal experience in the city, not so much. They give me this incredulous look that says it all. "Houston, really?"
I admit, when I first heard the news I made the same kind of face. I didn't have anything against Houston, in fact, other than watching the Apollo launches as a child, I had never given Houston more than a few moments' consideration, but now Houston is front and center in our lives!
The first challenge of having our daughter move there is that it is the only major metropolitan area in the US where we don't know anybody. Not a single third cousin, business associate, or former college roommate settled in Houston. So, we made a point of telling everyone we know that she has accepted a job there in hopes of finding someone who knew someone in Houston.
In the end, it was our youngest daughter who hit the jackpot by sharing the news of her big sister's plans with her swim team carpool. The mom driving that day had not just one, but two, very friendly friends in Houston who both immediately responded to an email introduction with recommendations for livable neighborhoods, great restaurants, and offers to meet for a meal or a tour. Eureka!
A few weeks ago my daughter and I met in Houston to scour the city for an affordable apartment in a walk-able neighborhood. To our surprise, we found a number of apartments that met her requirements, and her apartment will be the envy of her friends living in San Francisco in apartments half the size and twice the price. Did we mention she has a pool, too?
We also ate amazing food, drove by a lot of museums we intend to return to, walked along the bayou, shopped at an authentic upscale Middle Eastern market, and on a balmy evening stumbled upon the Houston Opera's performance in the park of The Magic Flute. The luckiest thing about our trip, though, was that we flew home before the freeways were submerged under 14 feet of water. Torrential rains swept through the Houston only hours after we departed causing flash flooding, deaths, and extensive damage. We were assured by the locals that this happens only once every 10 years. Hopefully she will be back in California before then!