It was not love at first sight.
In fact, when David told me he wanted to move to Dallas to attend Dallas Theological Seminary, my response was, “Uh, I’d rather not.” I love Columbus. My family is there, I was born and raised there, all my friends were there, I’m a Buckeye, it has Hounddog’s and Donatos. What more could you ask of one city? I never expected to live anywhere but Central Ohio. Enter David and his dreams of attending DTS.
I agreed to visit the campus in February 2013, three months before we got married, with the hope of putting the idea to rest for good. We flew to Dallas on President’s Day weekend. When we were walking off the plane and onto the jetway at DFW, I had an overwhelming feeling that I was coming home. I was furious. I knew then that this was the place where the Lord was leading us. While I wasn’t happy about it, it became a simple decision to move here, and we did in August 2013.
Since then, my love for this city has grown immensely. Once I let go of my resentment over it not being Columbus, I was able to see that I can love Dallas, too.
So how do I love thee, Dallas? Let me count the ways…
- Our church. Here I found the first church I’ve ever really loved. The Village Church has been our home from the very first Sunday I was here, even before David moved down. We joined a home group the first year, and have been leading one for the past two and a half. David has worked there for a year and a half now. There are few things that have brought me as much joy as being part of that community.
- My job. I LOVE my job. Every day is exciting and I was honestly thrilled to go back after Christmas break. It can be draining and exhausting, but it is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I watched a video last week about Millennials’ need to feel that they’re making a difference in the workplace. Maybe that’s true, because I really like feeling that I’m doing something worthwhile. Teaching third grade is not a job that always provides instant gratification. The results of what I do every day may not be seen for years. I believe so strongly in the mission of my school that it makes it a joy to both help develop my students’ character and introduce them to Old Yeller.
- The weather. Ask me in the height of summer how I feel about Dallas and I will tell you I hate this place, but right now it’s pretty great. We had some snow on Friday (which my kids were THRILLED about) and it’s going to be 76 on Wednesday. Sitting on a patio at a restaurant is an activity that can be enjoyed nearly year-round. Outdoor activities are really only off limits in the summer, which is the opposite of what I grew up with. I’m thankful for my school schedule, because it allows me to spend most of my summer in a pool.
- The skyline. Dallas is beautiful, especially at night. Reunion Tower and the Omni always have fun things to look at. This building is my personal favorite. We live fairly close to downtown, and EVERY TIME we drive home on Ross close to sunset, David makes a comment about what a nice view of the city we have. Every single time.
- The restaurants. Geographically, there’s not a lot going on here. When people visit, the thing we do for fun is usually go out to eat or to a bar. There is some amazing food here. David has been converted into a Tex-Mex lover, and now requests tacos for every meal.
- Torchy’s. You might think this should be included in the “restaurant” category, but you would be wrong. Torchy’s deserves its own category, and it might be the thing I miss most when we leave. Really, Torchy’s queso deserves even more recognition, but I’m trying not to get carried away.
- Katy Trail/White Rock Lake. When we’re not going out to eat (and it’s not summer), these are the places we love to go. White Rock Lake has a path around it that’s fun to walk (and bike, if we had bikes), and great spots for picnicking or just sitting and reading. The Katy Trail runs through the heart of the city, and is a great place to walk or run. This is kind of cheating because we almost always stop at the Katy Trail Ice House and have a drink or lunch, so it is also a “going out to eat” activity.
- The coffee shops. We go to a lot of coffee shops. And by we I mean mostly David. My favorite is Oak Lawn Coffee (the shaken espresso!!!) and his is Houndstooth-and-Method because he couldn’t decide between the two.
- The parks. We go to Exall Park fairly frequently because it’s around the corner from our apartment. It has a great path that runs around the perimeter to run or walk, and there’s a baseball diamond, basketball court, and lots of green space for flag football or Ultimate Frisbee. Klyde Warren is downtown, and is worth a trip just to visit the food trucks. There’s one park David and I found while we were driving around one day soon after we moved here, with an adorable gazebo and fountain where we ate lunch. We haven’t been able to find it since, but I haven’t given up hope.
- Texas Forever. Texas pride is a special thing. I’ve rarely seen anything like it. I teach Texas history, and it’s really fun to learn about and see where it all came from. My amazing classroom parents gave me a basket full of Texas-themed gifts at the end of the year last year. I’ve enjoyed every one of them. We’ve gotten to see some other amazing parts of Texas since we moved here. Our friends Michelle and Thomas always make us feel at home in Tyler, and there’s a winery in East Texas that we visited for our first anniversary. We’ve visited Hamlin, Castroville, Austin, San Antonio, and Fort Worth, and hope to explore Houston soon. Plus, clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.
- Our marriage. We moved here barely three months after getting married, so most of our married lives have been here. While it was difficult to be away from everyone we knew, it helped us grow. We have had to depend on each other from the very beginning. We got to figure out what we wanted our lives to look like, and had an opportunity to start from the ground and build. I’m thankful that these foundational years of our marriage have been here.
- The people. This is the aspect that is most meaningful to me and helped me to put roots down. We have amazing friendships here with people we never would have met if we had stayed in Columbus. For the last three and a half years, we have lived our lives alongside people from all over who have all ended up in Dallas for one reason or another. Some of these friendships were formed through DTS, some through our home group or church, some through one of my jobs. There are people here that I can’t imagine living across the country from for the rest of our lives. That’s what makes it feel like home, and will make it hard to leave one day.
Dallas is home now. Columbus is home too. There is a quote by Miriam Adeney that says, “You will never be completely at home again, because part of your heart always will be elsewhere. That is the price you pay for the richness of loving and knowing people in more than one place.” Part of my heart is here and always will be. So, Dallas, as much as I never thought I would say this, I love you. And I think you love me too. Texas Forever.