Bluebonnets, as seen on a weekend nature hike. It’s so warm here! There are flowers before April! Huzzah!
It’s been a whopping 1.5 weeks in San Antonio, Texas and while I feel like I’ve been out of touch with the blog for far too long, in Texas time, it’s been a blink of an eye.
The move itself was stressful but went off without a hitch. Filling up a 26′ moving truck from a storage unit and a condo, and getting said condo patched, cleaned left us pretty tired, but ready to start driving to St. Louis. The dogs were amply stressed the first day, but settled down significantly for our drive from St. Louis – Dallas (over 10 hours) and on the final day, I rolled in to San Antonio in the car, with the fella about 45 minutes behind in the biggest truck we’ve ever driven.
We like big trucks and we cannot lie.
Since then, I started working downtown(ish) with the team at my new job and the fella started a new job as well. The apartment is semi-unpacked, we know there are a ton of restaurants and spots to visit and socialize (though my attempts thus far have been awful to snag a great dinner spot since I am terrible at planning).
Needless to say, I am joyful. The apartment we signed up for (that I had never seen) is beyond perfect. It’s about twice as big and only $50 more a month than my 1 bedroom on the north side of Chicago and it includes a dog park, gated parking (free parking I might add!), a pool and weekly free events (like free wine on Wednesdays). My frugal heart is happy.
The property itself is lined with oak trees and dotted with flora that I get geeky about- palm trees, myrtles, loquat trees, papyrus, magnolias and every apartment seems to have their own patio garden. We’re within walking distance of a library and a nature path for walking/biking. Heaven. I’ve found it.
Copilot Matilda who was very ready to leave St. Louis when this photo was taken.
I have moments I miss Chicago- it was a dynamic city with things going on and some awesome people that we’d befriended in the last year- but it wasn’t a fit for where we wanted to head next. It was an expensive city, where we would never be able to afford a house and our incomes were barely keeping up.
As we’d read article after article about the sales tax hikes(now the highest in the nation), rising housing costs and spiking property taxes (that went up really, really fast) and paired with a city that seems to nickel and dime you for registration, tickets, parking costs and fees- it didn’t look like a city we could grow in…we’d just barely keep up.
We got down to Texas and we can finally have some breathing room in our budget. Not only is the cost of living lower here, but our commutes to work are much, much shorter even with traffic and without a train/bus system. All the job offers I received over the last year were for positions out in the suburbs- a 1.5 hour drive (since trains didn’t always go out there) or if they were downtown, it would still be a 45 minute hike since I couldn’t afford (or want to) live downtown.
Getting to work in 15 minutes and not having to dig my car out of the snow and fight for parking when I get home has made my mornings far less stressful.
Also, I get to work within walking distance of this:
Of course, it’s not all sunshine and roses- summer will be hot, but honestly- I can say that moving to Texas has been a huge load off of my shoulders. My partner and I felt so stuck over the last 6 months and finally, we have clarity and we like what we see. It feels like a place we can grow, a place that wants us here (unlike Chicago which I termed “the city that doesn’t love you back”) and the state is full of places and cities to explore that we’ve never seen.
Fact of the matter is, some people will love Chicago, some people won’t. Some people (like me) will be all enamored with Texas, and some people can’t wait to get out. If I’ve learned anything, it’s that where you live matters, because your happiness matters. I already know I would be miserable in NYC or San Francisco where I can’t afford more than a shoebox to live in, and I’m bored to death of little cities without a lot of young people and a good startup scene or new things to do- San Antonio is just my speed.
There will be times when you make a decision on where to live that makes people scratch their heads. When I left California for Chicago, people thought I was nuts...Why would I leave??! When I told my circle that we were leaving to Texas, some of my die-hard Chicago loving friends didn’t understand the move at all…Why would I leave????!
Not everyone has to get it, you do you. Nobody is paying your bills, nobody is in your head, and nobody else has to live with your decisions (and how much those decisions take out of your paycheck), so people will support you, or they won’t- but the good ones support you even when they don’t get it, and I’ve been lucky to have plenty of supportive folks that made this transition possible.
It feels good to be a Texan. I’m excited to be here. Things are cheap(er than Chicago, by a lot). People are nice. I smile a lot more. It’s just right for us. Texas is it’s own world, but we cannot wait to be a part of it.
It’s a happy new chapter and I cannot wait to share it with y’all. (see, it’s happening already.)