The Energy of Spring

I’m sipping coffee from my City of Pawnee mug that my lovely husband gave me in celebration of my 34th year while occasionally glancing out the window at a landscape that still feels foreign. I can’t help but feel as if I don’t belong in this place that so many people love, which is an admittedly strange feeling to have.

“You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas.” – Davy Crockett

Today marks our 8-month anniversary of living in Texas, which may not sound that long to some but it when you only live in a place for 1-3 years, it becomes a more meaningful length of time. Seeing as how Texas is big and everything is bigger in Texas, it’d be an impossible feat to experience the essence of every region within the state boundaries during our brief stay. We’re determined to make the most of our time here and despite considering Texas not one of our favorite places we’ve ever lived, we want to be sure to appreciate the culture, landscape, and history of the Lone Star State. Over the past 34 weeks…

…we’ve been to the Alamo – the quintessential San Antonio attraction that illustrates the spirit of the Texas Revolution and since 1982 has unfortunately been synonymous with Ozzy Osborne. Fun fact – Ozzy Osborne didn’t actually urinate on the Alamo…he relieved himself on the Alamo Cenotaph, which is adjacent to the Alamo in the Alamo Plaza.

We also found ourselves on the San Antonio River quite a bit. Arguably the second most-popular attraction in San Antonio is the River Walk – a collection of walkways along the banks of the San Antonio River and manmade canals in downtown San Antonio.

And Historic Market Square, which is home to over 100 shops and stalls that many describe as the largest Mexican market outside of Mexico. It reminds me a lot of the markets in Puerto Penasco, Mexico, where my family vacationed when I was a kid.

Tower of the Americas is the second-largest observation tower (750 feet tall) in the United States and was constructed for the 1968 World’s Fair. It’s our son’s favorite thing in San Antonio so we find ourselves here quite a bit.

We’ve spent a long weekend up at Canyon Lake, which is about an hour outside of San Antonio.

And we’ve found ourselves driving down to the Gulf of Mexico to the Padre Island National Seashore on multiple weekends last fall.

We spent a weekend in Austin and took the kids to Sixth Street and South Congress Ave.

We went to Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg, which may be my favorite place yet in Texas, and then returned for the Christmas Market in December.

We experienced Wurstfest, a 10-day salute to sausage in New Braunfels, a German settlement organized by the Adelsverein in 1844.

On Saturday nights last fall, you could find us at the Tejas Rodeo. The rodeo season has recently commenced for the season and we’re excited to go back!

We’ve eaten our fair share of BBQ (pictured is The Salt Lick and Rudy’s) and tacos.

We’ve spent many hours at the Pearl, a downtown neighborhood defined by the river and the brewery since 1881.

We even put on our winter best and attended a minor league hockey game at the AT&T Center, in effort to escape the heat. We hope to attend a Spurs game soon and look forward to going to as many Missions (minor league baseball) games as we can this spring and summer.

And finally, we’ve hiked countless trails throughout Hill Country. It is during these hikes when I am at my happiest in Texas.

Prior to writing this post, if you would have asked me to define the previous fall and winter, I would have likely done so with a pensive and possibly even a melancholy tone. Despite exploring the area at every possible chance and trying hard to appreciate all things Texas, I haven’t bloomed here. At least I haven’t in terms of ‘bloom where you are planted‘, an oft-referenced phrase in military life. But you know what? Writing this post is helping.  Looking back at what we’ve experienced over the past 8 months has given me a newfound appreciation for this little corner of the country.

Porfirio Salinas

Currently all around me in San Antonio, flowers are beginning to bloom and trees seem to be standing a bit taller. Perhaps I should channel the energy of spring and allow myself to do the same. I may not be the most vibrant I’ve ever been but maybe that just means I’m gearing up for something so amazing that it’s currently unfathomable. San Antonio will not be one of my great loves, but that doesn’t means she wasn’t put in my life for a greater purpose. So here’s to the next year or two…let’s see what we can do, San Antonio.

San Antonio or Bust

army

Back in February, we received official word that the Army would be sending us to San Antonio, Texas this summer. We never would have chosen the The Lone Star state ourselves but that is part of the adventure of relocating at the whim of the Army. Not only is San Antonio the place where barbed wire dazzled folks at Alamo Plaza in 1876 during a promotional herding of longhorns (thus inspiring an alarming number of arm tattoos), it also home to the Menger Hotel, where Theodore Roosevelt recruited the Rough Riders. Not too shabby for the seventh most populated city in the United States.

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Like all of other places we’ve lived, we’re determined to make the best of our time Texas. While we’re not crazy about the lack of mountains, snow, and natural bodies of water in the immediate vicinity, we are excited about the food (oh my goodness – the tacos!), the historic market square, Pearl Brewery, Fiesta, Texas Hill County, the Riverwalk, the proximity to Austin, and the list goes on…(did I mention the tacos?). And with a yearly average temperature of 79 degrees, our sub-zero-tested winter coats will likely be on hiatus for the next two years. We will only be a few hours from the Gulf of Mexico so at least we’ll have the ocean somewhat close during the ridiculously long h0t and humid summers.

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Mark Twain famously stated that there are only four unique cities in the United States: New Orleans, San Antonio, Boston, and San Francisco. San Antonio has been labeled as a cultural crossroad because of the Spanish, English, and German influences throughout the city and Texas Hill Country. Speaking of which, Texas Hill Country is a 25-county area between San Antonio and Austin (the state itself has 254 counties!) comprised of rolling hills, green (!) trees, rivers, tributaries, and caverns. I’m really looking forward to hiking in and around that area – like Old Baldy in Garner State Park.

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In my research of our new city, I’ve come across “Keep San Antonio Lame” in comparison to the famed “Keep Austin Weird” expression. While we’re not residents yet, from what I’ve seen, San Antonio is hardly lame. We may have no idea where we are living, what day we’re moving, what schools the kids will attend, or even technically how long we will live there, but San Antonio is beginning to feel like home. Well – for at least a couple of years.