We Moved to DALLAS!
When I moved to San Diego a little over seven years ago, it was because I found a wonderful job with a great company. Two months ago, that same company offered me an exciting new opportunity to relocate to Dallas, Texas!
Mr. San Diego and I could not refuse the chance to embark on a new adventure!
Although we loved living in San Diego, it was an easy choice to move to Texas. We have no mortgage, no children (and no plans to ever have them), no pets, and a major case of wanderlust. “Why Not?” was the major driver in our decision!
Now that we have lived in Dallas for two months, we thought we would share some of the interesting things we have observed and learned as newly minted Texas.
Before you dive into this list of observations, here is a quick summary about who we are. It might provide context into why we certain things have stood out to us.
I have lived in California my entire life. I was born in the Bay Area, raised in the Central Valley, grew up in the Antelope Valley, and found myself in San Diego. I have been, without a doubt, a stereotypical California Girl with a slight “valley girl” accent and bleeding heart, an obsession for authentic Mexican food, and a love of flannel and flip flops.
Mr. San Diego was born and raised in San Diego and had never lived anywhere else. His deity is Tony Gwynn, his last meal would be a California Burrito, and he wants to make June 19th into the Nationally Recognized San Diego Day because 6/19 is the same as his beloved 619 area code.
So Much Space
The fact that Texas is the second largest U.S. state means that there is a lot of space! Everything is spread out, most parking lots are massive because they can be, and you pretty much have to drive to get anywhere.
All this open land makes Texas beautiful in a way I never considered. It is spacious and green and lacks the congestion of a typical tourist town.
It is also FLAT. My office is on the 42nd floor of a building in Downtown Dallas. I can literally see the dome of Cowboys Stadium in Arlington which is about 20 miles away. There are no hills, no mountains – just a lot of water towers.
Forth Worth Stockyards - Fort Worth, TX - fortworthstockyards.org
The Weather is Crazy + It Is HOT AS HELL
This is no surprise. It is hot - really hot. Not to mention it can get humid – really humid on some days. I have seen many people with bathroom hand towels as fashion accessories because sweating is guaranteed.
When you’re not sweating, you might get randomly rained on - the weather is fast changing and sometimes extreme! Terrifying thunderstorms will come and go in a matter of a few hours, hail the size of golf balls will wake you up in the middle of the night, and it will rain so hard that you will have almost zero visibility while driving. The lightning storms are incredibly beautiful and frightening all at once, and the locals laugh at you when you ask where the tornado shelters are.
The Traveling Man "Walking Tall" - Deep Ellum, Dallas, TX
Dallas is Diverse
Having been West Coasters our whole lives, we had slight concerns that we might come down with a major case of culture shock. When you think of Texas, you might imagine the typical stereotype you see in the movies or hear about in County music songs.
However, walking around Downtown Dallas feels exactly like walking around any other major city. People from all corners of the world can be found in this Texas metropolis and most people I work with are from somewhere else! It truly surprised us to see that Dallas is a melting pot.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealy Plaza - Dallas, TX - jfk.org
Booming Population + West Coast Influx
With the cost of living in California skyrocketing and several major companies relocating their operations to Texas, it is no surprise that there has been a major population boom in recent years, many of which originated from California or other West Coast states. This has caused a bump in the local economy and housing and apartment prices have been steadily increasing. While the cost of living is still significantly less expensive than San Diego, most of downtown is only slightly cheaper.
Globe Life Park, Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium - Arlington, TX - globelifepark.com
The Freeways Are Insane
The roads and drivers in Texas are INSANE. The freeways and highways can have up to three names, none of which will match what your GPS says. There are toll roads everywhere and chances are you will accidentally drive onto one without realizing. Rush hour traffic can be just as painful as San Diego. Freeways merge together without leading room, U-turns are called left turns, and the main freeways have speed limits of 65MPH, while Service Roads can be as high as 85!
Honestly, driving out here can be incredibly confusing. If you’re moving to the state, get yourself a GPS/cell mount so you can SEE where you should turn, instead of relying on the LIES your GPS will tell you.
Also, you will often find trucks randomly parked on the side of the freeways and see people walking through the grassy medians. It took a while to figure it out, but I learned that Texans will stop anywhere to get a picture if there are bluebonnets – even on the side of the freeway.
Deep Ellum Brewing Company - Deep Ellum Dallas, TX - deepellumbrewing.com
People Are Friendlier
Yes, it’s true. Everywhere we go, we seem to have conversations with kind strangers. After our first week in Texas, I had already given a stranger in Target a hug after talking with her for an hour. I love striking up conversations with everyone and this has been one of my favorite aspects of Texas living.
Mr. San Diego, on the other hand, is quite the introvert and was asked three times if he was okay while getting his hair cut.
Dealy Plaza - Dallas, TX - dallasparks.org
The BBQ is Amazing
Obviously, we love food and we love BBQ. Texas does not focus on sauce like other regionally based BBQ styles, but rather focuses on the meat itself. “Slow and low” is apparently the way to go and we are loving it.
You will also get sliced white bread with your BBQ out here. Just plain ol’ regular white bread from a bag. I guess it’s a Southern thing.
Hard Eight Pit BBQ - Coppell, TX - hardeightbbq.com
Other Observations (mostly food)
Texas, um, they do Mexican food differently. If you’re a TexMex fanatic, please don’t get offended – but queso and hatch chilies are on everything and those are two things that I do not particularly enjoy.
Sweet iced tea is INSANELY sweet out here and it literally gives me heart palpitations - BUT, it is so addicting!
Soda is a “Coke”. Coke is a Coke, but so is Dr. Pepper or Root Beer or any other sugary carbonated drink.
Tacos are for breakfast, not burritos.
People go to gas stations for their tacos and it’s totally normal. Fill up your tank, wash your car, and get your tacos at any of the hundreds of gas/wash/taco stations in the state.
Whataburger is King and it’s insulting to say In-n-Out is better, even though it is. Mr. San Diego and I do not agree on this. He’s in love with the spicy ketchup and patty melts at Whataburger. I think it is hot garbage (sorry, Texas).
Everything is “only” several hours away, according to any Texan who is giving you recommendation of where to go. “Y’all should go to X this weekend; it’s only 3 hours away”.
Dallas women are always dressed to the nines! I walked into a hair salon in yoga pants and flip flops and stuck out like a sore thumb. Casual California style is apparently LAZY when compared to the high heels and high hair of Dallas fashion.
All in all, we are really enjoying Texas and I finally feel settled enough to get back to blogging! We’ll just have to wait until the sun starts to go down before embarking on adventures so we don’t melt to death.
Y’all come back now, ya hear?