My parents moved back to Houston (from Redlands, CA) around 2 years ago and ever since, my mom has been trying to convince us to move back to our hometown, too.
One of her reasons? Well, houses in Houston are quite cheap. The cost of living is relatively low. The amount Jordan and I spend on our apartment in Orange County could easily get us a sizable 5-bedroom home in an upscale part of Houston with discretionary money to spare. It goes without saying that the subtext is for us to settle down and find comfortable nests to start making babies in. 🙂
She’s also probably suffering from empty-nest syndrome, which is totally understandable. We grew up in Houston and had a ton of church friends, school friends, & family friends. With four of us kids, our house was never empty. My parents, particularly my mom, loved to entertain. She made sure our fridge was always stocked; if she wasn’t on duty she would make meals for the barrage of teenagers who constantly slept over; she would hire the DJ’s and rent the margarita machines and buy the liquor for our house parties. She simply knew how to have a good time and she would allow us to do the same. There were a few times that my parents would even rent a hotel room for themselves so that we could enjoy our parties, parent-free. Simply put, the Fortajada home was house-party central.
We made some wonderful memories in Houston. As children. As teenagers. As a family. It was a wonderful chapter that eventually had to end. We all decided to move to California in 2005 and thus the end of our Texas timeline.
In all honesty though, I wouldn’t move back there. If you ask any one of my brothers or my sister (all of who live in California), they wouldn’t move back either. I can also bet that the friends & families I know who have moved out of Houston/Texas, would answer the same way.
Let me first state the obvious.
California is great :). Climate-wise, it surpasses Texas a thousand times over. I wouldn’t trade a Southern California summer for a sticky, humid Houston day EVER. I detest Texas weather with a passion.
California also has the most beautiful topographical diversity – the beaches, the mountains, the valleys, the hills, the Bay. Texas is known for…wait…it’s farmland, I think? Perhaps the oil-rich plains? And who want’s to swim in the Gulf? Ick. It’s not much of a place to be.
The climate & topography also play a huge part in the culture of each place. Houston is still known to be the #1 fattest city in the U.S.
“It’s just not a place that’s conducive to getting out and doing stuff,” says longtime resident Kent Martin, a competitive runner and MMA coach, “and that’s because of the humidity. It’s brutal here in the summer.” Houston typically suffers through a hundred or more days each year with temperatures in excess of 90 degrees, combined with relative humidity that rivals Manila’s. – Men’s Fitness, 2012
Whereas, California has a generally active culture – surfing, skiing, snowboarding, skating, ATV’ing, riding, sailing, beach combing…you name it, Californians do it. I love a culture that caters to my fitness agenda!
Another self-serving factor is the tech industry…California is home to the heaviest tech sectors: San Francisco, Cupertino, Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, San Diego, & Irvine. Of course, Texas has Austin…but that’s a small blip compared to California’s contribution. If California can cater to my techie career path, I’d be stupid to move.
I understand that California isn’t necessarily ideal for everyone. But it’s definitely ideal for me.
And it’s apparently a perfect spot for my siblings…
Faith – LA’s medical marijuana culture
JD – Loma Linda’s medical field
Isaiah – Hollywood & the movie industry
That’s not even the half of it. California [LA particularly] is huge in the art / fashion / culinary / wine / geek / gaming / sports / music world, etc. Texas [Houston] doesn’t even come close.
I’ve kinda seen Texas as a stagnant middle ground. It’s that comfort zone. It’s safe.
It’s where my parents are at in their lives right now – they’re comfortable. They’re happy in their bubble. It’s not wrong of them to want us to be comfortable, too, but we won’t truly be living…we’ll only be stuck…settling.
Our sights are set much higher than comfort zones.
I’m sorry, mom & dad. 🙁 You both have a right to want us all together again, but we’re trying to dream bigger. We’re trying to do more than what Houston can offer. More than that, I want so much for my own kid(s) to have Disneyland nearby…and palm trees…and drives down Pacific Coast Highway…and sensational weather…and fresh oranges & avocados…and paddle boarding…and sand castles…and the aspirations to become actors / singers / musicians / models / artists in LA or the next Steve Jobs’ of Silicon Valley…or active lifestyles. California is where the magic happens. It’s the Happiest Place on Earth. It’s the Walk of Fame. It’s where people Think Different. There’s no other place like it.
1 According to Houston Agent Magazine, the average monthly mortgage payment in Texas is $824 (http://houstonagentmagazine.com/monthly-mortgage-payments-average-in-texas-finds-lending-tree/). According to Wiki Answers, an average monthly mortgage payment in Houston is $700 (http://wiki.answers.com/Q/WhatisHoustonTXaveragemonthlymortgage_payment)
2 Men’s Fitness http://www.mensfitness.com/training/lose-weight/the-fittest-and-fattest-cities-in-america
3 USA Today http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/talkingtech/story/2012-08-22/top-tech-startup-cities/57220670/1