Settling Down in Texas – Kveller
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Settling Down in Texas

As I am fast approaching my six-month anniversary on arriving in Austin, Texas, I thought it would be a good time to stop and take account of everything.

The last time I wrote about arriving in Texas, it was pretty much a pity party and everyone was invited. Many of you responded to my RSVP request with emails of support, friendly suggestions, and even a few shidduchs for my husband with his job search.

So here I am, almost six months later. I do not cry myself to sleep, nor do I think of New York every second of every day (although, I still do think of it often, very often). I mourned the loss of the only place I ever felt at home, slogged through the grief, and am proud to say emerged on the other side just fine.

Sure, I still don’t like it here much. It was over 80 degrees here last week. It is February, people! Got winter? (*Dodging virtual tomatoes being hurled at me by people under four feet of snow*). My family and I are fair-skinned redheads! Isn’t the summer torture enough? Couldn’t we have kept February in the 60s? Can someone call in a favor for me upstairs?

It isn’t even March and I have to start thinking about where we will escape to for the summer. Staying here indoors for two to three months (correction: 4+ months) would be miserable for us, especially for a toddler who loves to run around outside.

OK, enough about the weather. (It is actually very nice in the evenings to go out without wearing a puffy down coat.)

I still don’t know my way around very well, and the best playground I have found is the one at a grocery store. The closest thing to take my son to for fun is, yet again, the grocery store. He has space to move and a cool machine he puts fake money into, presses a big red button to win, yay, a 1-point ticket. When you have 500 points, you can pick out a prize. We have five prizes. Think we go to the grocery store a bit much? And yet, when we stand in line with other parents to use this machine, we trade tips on which grocery store has the best payout. There are also food sampling stations and all the portions are kiddy size! So Aiven leaves the store satiated with a pocket full of points and a full belly.

I should also mention that I teach him stupid pet tricks. This comes in handy when we are at the cashier paying for the groceries as he puts on the charm so they will give us piles of fake money for the machine. The latest trick: “What does a monster do?” to which he growls “ARGH!” and raises his clawed hands. I can’t get him to stop smiling though, so he doesn’t look too ferocious. Clearly, though, our strategy is working because you don’t get thousands of points by playing one Buddy Buck at a time.

We’ve been going to the Tot Shabbat most Fridays at the JCC and I have met some wonderful people there. We are slowly filling our calendar with birthday parties, holiday events, and the like. I even bump into people I know around town now, and a couple of us new transplants have even formed a book club (suggestions are welcome). We’ve been to a Superbowl party, I’ve had a few coffee dates with girlfriends, I’m enrolled in a pottery class, and we’ve invited couples over for dinner. Apparently you can have a life in this arid desert that looks like a giant ash tray (note to self: try saying something nice about it here without adding a negative… it’s getting old).

We are still trying for Baby #2 and I found a great fertility doctor who is pumping me full of meds to speed it up. There is more humor in this process than I had anticipated. Sharing my experiences with other women, I have heard the funniest stories and am tempted to write a book called “Semen Stories.”

My husband quit his active job search a few months ago to follow his dream of entrepreneurship. And so our adventure became even more adventurous. We went into business together and will have a new product in the marketplace in a couple of months (heschser coming soon). We are busy and excited and hopeful. I am dreaming big again with visions of us being able to buy a house somewhere where we can put down roots. (For those of you who have a kitchen with countertop space and a yard, don’t ever take it for granted!) I know this won’t happen overnight, but we all need a dream, right?

But perhaps most importantly, we’ve started celebrating Shabbat on a regular basis again. Letting the light of Shabbat back into our lives has brought us closer together, given us a tradition to anchor ourselves, and blessed us with a time of tranquility and reflection.

So there you have it. We have adjusted. I don’t think I will be here forever, but I am here for now. I am happy, busy, and grateful for what is.

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