Wednesday, 24 October 2012

All Roads Lead to Home. Or Houston.

Today I was finally able to see Downtown Houston for the first time since arriving here. I am failing to find the words to describe Houston but it's not at all like London or any other city I've experienced: Hong Kong, New York, Boston. It's so different. The Business District is strictly business, a distinct lack of cafes, shops, etc, and lots of mismatched skyscrapers. It's quiet, or at least in the morning it felt it, and has a lack of public transport, but it's oddly charming. It has a lack of history too, but driving through some of the outer neighbourhoods (Montrosse, Rice Village) it feels different still. It's incredibly diverse but small, or at least it felt it. I'm sure it'll be different next week.

The buildings are so interesting, as Houston has no building laws - you can legally build a skyscraper anywhere. No two buildings are the same, and the blue sky reflected off of each pane of glass creating a mirrored sky. Awesome. The blue sky and sunshine made the whole experience all the dreamier and I fell in love with the city as I'm sure I will every time I go in. I love everything about being in Houston: the family, the neighbourhood, the people I've met, it's all been fantastic. While I was homesick for the first two days, I can't imagine being anywhere else now. Maybe it's the fact that I've settled into life here so much, or the fact that I'm halfway (I know, can you believe it? And yet the best, Halloween, the Election, and Thanksgiving, is yet to come...) through my trip, but I've had several moments of clarity where I realise that I could spend the whole year here. Reading, cycling, nanny-ing, doing what I want to do and all whilst soaking up a totally brand new culture and country.

Enough existentialism.

After our visit to Downtown, we headed to Rice Village where I was a few weeks ago and was very kindly treated to lunch in Ruggles cafe where I had my first American burger experience! I think the photos below sum up my experience pretty well, but it was fantastic. The food here has been an experience, be it Mexican, Texan, Southern Fried Everything, French.....none of it has failed to disappoint! Even the Starbucks is brilliant here.

After lunch, we found a pure British shop (I know, a whole British shop!) run by an English man and his American wife and I spent a good 20 minutes just swooning about all the biscuits and all the tea! Plus Emma Bridgewater mugs! Port Merion China! Guiness merchandise!

I couldn't help but laugh at the sheer British-ness of it and it was good to treat myself to some teacakes before we came home. Now, on with the nanny-ing this evening as the boys are about to arrive home from school via bus, bike, and on foot. This weekend I have my Jonathan Safran Foer book signing and a manic week next week, with the youngest's birthday AND party, Halloween and Field Day at school. All very exciting, and all very busy. Not to mention a British Fair next Saturday which I must go along to. Amongst the hectic life at home here, and the time to spend in the sun reading George Eliot and time spent exploring Houston, I'm having the most fantastic time. I am struggling to put it into words how happy I am here in the Houstonian sunshine.

My city!

Ruggles. The had fresh pots of tea on offer too; something I hadn't found here before!
A big plate for a little person...
...but no challenge is too much for my stomach, right.
4860 miles away and I can't escape him. 

Oh America, you do love our royals.
Oh and on a final note, the election is less than two weeks ago and it's all getting very exciting over here! The debates were a hit (with me at least) and we passed a wine store today that had, "We have binders full of wine!" on a sign outside, mocking Mitt Romney's comment on, "I have binders full of women!" which I couldn't help but smile at. This time in two weeks we'll have a new/old president! Exciting!

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