Texas Tales: One Year On, from Hampshire, UK to the Lone Star State
My family and I have officially been living in the Lone Star State for 365 days and it feels like something to celebrate. Moving to a new country was daunting but we’ve embraced the challenge and can’t believe how quickly the time has flown. Keeping it light-hearted, here are my highlights, and lowlights, of the past 12 months:
The Weather: From Hotter Than Hades to Stormy Adventures ☀️🌪
When we arrived in mid-May 2022, the Texas heat welcomed us with open arms—or should I say, with a fiery embrace? Even the locals couldn't believe the scorching temperatures we encountered. It was like walking on the sun! From over 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37 degrees Celsius) for months on end, to weeks of blistering 110-degree heat (45 degrees Celsius), we had our fair share of sizzling days.
School's Out For Summer... Really Early! ⏰
Texans seem to start their days early. My alarm goes off at 5:45am and I have the kids out the door and at school by 7:25. I’m often back home by 7.30am. It’s taken some serious adjusting, but we’ve nailed the early-morning hustle. And just when we thought we had the school schedule figured out, surprise, school finishes mid-late May and the kids are about to have 3 months off for Summer Break.
Making Connections: From School Gates to Neighborhood Gatherings 👋
When you're in a new country, as an adult, making new friends can be tricky. Thankfully, with three school-aged children, there have been plenty of school events and PTA volunteering opportunities that have enable me to meet other parents. And having a British accent definitely makes me memorable.
We’ve discovered that Texans know a thing or two about hospitality. We’ve been welcomed by neighbours with open arms and friendly smiles and have lost count of the number of neighbourhood events we’ve been to.
Missing Out? Video Calls to the Rescue! ☎️
Ah, the wonders of technology. When homesickness strikes, and I’m craving a catch-up with family and friends, video calls become my lifeline. Distance may make the heart grow fonder, but video calls make it easier to survive those miles.
Healthcare: A Bitter Pill to Swallow 💊
Entering the American healthcare system is like venturing into a whole new universe. As a Brit, I’ve never taken the NHS for granted, but was so shocked at paying $190 for some ear drops for my son. It's a journey of navigating insurance plans and medical bills, one that we're still getting used to.
Driving: On the Road to Boldness 🚙
Everything's bigger in Texas, including the roads! Now, I've always loved driving, but tackling those enormous freeways initially made me nervous. I liken the Freeways and Express Lanes to Mario Kart.
UK vs. USA: Let the Battle Begin! 🇬🇧🇺🇸
The UK's secret weapon: Cadbury’s chocolate. The US may produce their own version, but sorry, it's just not the same. There's no substitute for that smooth, velvety goodness.
The Brits may know a thing or two about sports, but the Americans take it to another level. In the land of opportunity, sport is EVERYTHING! The level of dedication and investment at the grassroots level is simply mind-blowing.
Eating out and ordering takeout seem to be a national pastime in the USA. That's not to say it's all unhealthy though and let's just say, Texans have a flair for satisfying their taste buds. We've been impressed by the incredible variety of cuisines.
The Adventure Continues: Buckle Up!
With the first year complete, we're already gearing up to explore more of the USA and discover hidden gems in Texas. Here's to the next chapter and all the adventures it holds!