6 Ways Living in Houston Will Keep You on Your Toes

Living in Houston is often an adventure of sorts. I think of Houston as constantly changing, and that's part of what keeps things interesting. There is an odd rhythm to this city. It's fast-paced, but not absurdly so, and there are quite a few things that keep things exciting, if occasionally also presenting us with challenges. In short, Houston is one of those places that keep their residents on their toes. Here are a few of the ways it does that, because life here sure isn't boring!

Houston is my home too.
Houston is my home too.

6. You're never too far away from wildlife

Houston is called the Bayou City for a reason, and the network of waterways that this town is built around is home to all sorts of creatures that probably wouldn't make appearances as often in other cities. Yes, we're famous for tree roaches the size of sparrows, but there are all sorts of other critters making their homes in our backyards. When I lived in the Heights, the bayou winding through nearby Timbergrove Manor seemed to channel all sorts of fauna into the surrounding neighborhoods. Pretty much everyone I know in Houston has encountered possums, raccoons, skunks, and other small mammals, but I've known people who claim they've spotted coyotes near the bayous, and have seen a water moccasin the size of a fat guy's belt laying in the street in front of my house. Houston may be the fourth largest city in America, but it's also home to a lot of wildlife. Those chance encounters can occasionally be startling. It's a regular reminder that Houston is never more than a few steps away from the primal swamp on which it was built, and nature will always creep into even the swankiest neighborhoods. 

Houston's food culture covers a lot of great territory.
Houston's food culture covers a lot of great territory.

5. The food Houston has a legitimately brag-worthy food culture, with nearly every kind of cuisine finding a happy home here. Keeping on top of restaurant openings and closings, and being in the loop with new trends can be a full time affair for area foodies, but it's that type of quickly changing food scene that keeps Houston so interesting. Want to see a fan of the local cuisine's head spin? Just combine a few different food descriptors in strange ways. Describe how you stumbled upon a "Little hole in the wall Japanese Mediterranean fusion place where a four course meal is distilled down to bite size pieces," and watch interest peak. The reason someone would believe such a place exists is because in Houston it probably already does. This town is full of creative chefs and cooks, and they continue to surprise us.

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4. The Growing Diversity of Our Population

At one point in this city's history, Houston was not the international city it is today. Significant populations of people from all over the world are represented in modern day H-Town, and that diversity is one of the things that seems to surprise a lot of out of town visitors who travel here. I recall a friend from out of state spending a day out shopping in the Galleria area and Montrose, and remarking that he had heard at least six different languages being spoken while out and about. It is this diversity that continues to make Houston reflective of a new status in this country, and also a huge reason that the city is an interesting a place to live. 

Pictured: Daily commute? Or training for the Indy 500?
Pictured: Daily commute? Or training for the Indy 500?

3. Places Change Quickly Here

One thing that's constantly surprising and that can be hard for some people to adjust to is just how rapidly areas of town can change. Sometimes those changes are jarring or unpleasant for some people to accept, with lots of grousing over how a certain neighborhood used to be "better" in some way, or has lost its character in recent years. Whether or not that kind of redevelopment is a blessing or a curse is a subjective call, but it's clear that the trend is just part of life here, and not likely to change anytime soon. It can be shocking to drive a familiar route and notice just how quickly certain places have been redeveloped or repurposed, but it definitely makes living here interesting and unlike many other places.

2. Driving Anywhere

Any article about how living in Houston will keep you on your toes would be remiss if it omitted mentioning the "excitement" generated by driving here. I'm not exactly sure what forces are at work that make driving in Houston, and particularly on its freeways, such a crazy endeavor, but taking to area roads is not for the faint of heart. At any given time during the day or night, it's common to see some creep moving at Nascar speeds, weaving through traffic, and barely avoiding (usually) clipping another car. It's enough to make a person want to approach the cops working the various speed traps sprinkled throughout town, and ask why they aren't patrolling the freeways instead. And it's not just Houstonians who are noticing, as several recent studies have confirmed our driving to be some of the most dangerous in the country. Whatever the causes, driving in this city will keep a person on their toes.

In five more minutes the sky will be completely clear. Welcome to Houston.
In five more minutes the sky will be completely clear. Welcome to Houston.

1. The Insane Weather It's true enough to be a cliche. This part of the state has weather which can turn on a dime. A beautiful day with moderate temperatures and clear skies can turn into a deluge of rain lasting a few minutes or hours, before the hail comes down, followed by heat which would make a sauna blush. That tendency for weather to rapidly change can make it feel like weather forecasts are absolutely useless, and that local weathermen who get accurate results must secretly be wizards. Along with the two inch flying tree roaches, Houston weather is just something most of us eventually accept, while nervously eyeing how high the water in the bayous has gotten, and tracking hurricanes which might barrel inland making for an unfun staycation around a house with no electrical service. The weather here can feel like the meteorological equivalent of living with a psychopath who might abruptly change moods and decide to blow over your garden shed. It does keep things in Houston interesting though, and seems to be another aspect of this city which can often startle residents here.

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