Sunday, February 13, 2011

Discovering Houston Together

Lance and I have been in Houston now for almost a month and we thought it's about time to let y'all know where we live and what we're up to!

This is our apartment building called Ventana.  It is a very nice building but is in a slightly run-down part of town.  We live within a few blocks of 2 or 3 different homeless shelters and there are several interesting businesses nearby but we love where we live and wouldn't have it any other way.  

This is the view from the rooftop of our building.  I like the big Texas wide open sky. Downtown is straight ahead about a mile up the road.  Beautiful!

We only live about 2 miles north of what is called the Texas Medical Center, which is the most concentrated area of hospitals, research centers, clinics, and schools in the world.  There are 49 medicine-related institutions, over 93,500 employees, and 6 million patients treated annually!  We feel very privileged to be part of such an amazing part of the city.  The downside: lots of traffic and parking fees.  So, we decided to be green (aka save some time and money) and use public transportation.  Our apartment is only 3 blocks from a train station so we take a nice stroll, catch the train and ride down to the medical center.  Lance walks 2 or 3 more blocks to his building and I catch a bus that takes me another mile or so to my building.

Here is our train station
Cool picture Lance took on the train. Lance is into this "hipsto" photography.
Houston is really a beautiful city--lots of gorgeous homes in gorgeous neighborhoods, cool shopping centers, endless restaurants, museums, parks, etc. The area where we live is in somewhat of a "re-development" phase so it's interesting but cool. Here are some pictures of our neighborhood:

This is what we like to call Creepy Sears.  Its actually pretty nice on the inside, just creepy from the outside.

Fiesta, a local grocery store with a Church's Chicken inside (classy!).  Lance sings Lionel Richie every time we pass it or need groceries :)
The inside of our favorite breakfast tacos place called Tacos A Go-Go.  This place is amazing! Lance is also into these panoramic photos.
Outside Tacos A Go-Go
A cool, eclectic restaurant called Natachee's
These are just a few pictures of some of the more interesting, unique places around our apartment.  

We have a new favorite place to eat called Chuy's.  It's a Mexican restaurant and it has great food and a fun environment.

We live very close to Hermann Park, which is a perfect place to run, walk, go to the zoo, and just spend time outside.  It's a pretty big park and is always full of people.  It has a big pond, a reflection pool, and several creeks with different types of beautiful gardens.  

This picture does not do any sort of justice to the park...
We took a drive to the Houston Temple, which is gorgeous!

Lastly, this weekend Lance and I ran a 5k around the Medical Center.  The proceeds were donated to the Harris County Hospital District and we had a great time running together.

Well, I think you're pretty caught up on all our activities thus far.  We'll be sure to keep you updated as we discover more of Houston!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Welcome to Texas!

Three weeks ago today Lance and I arrived at our new home in Houston, Texas!  We quit our jobs, said goodbye to family and friends, and prepared to live in a place that neither of us had ever even visited before.

We were very blessed as Lance's new employer payed for a moving company to move our apartment so all we had to do was live on an air mattress for a week and make the drive in our two cars.

The last week in our Utah apartment.  Living out of suitcases and sleeping on an air mattress.

Even though we had to drive separately, it went very smoothly and it was a pleasant trip.  This is the route we chose to take:

We started our journey Friday night after work.  Because our journey would take us right through Moab, we took advantage of the opportunity to spend some time with my Grandma Shirley.  She took us to dinner and then we went straight to bed so we could start again early Saturday morning.  Saturday took us from Moab, UT to Wichita Falls, TX.  Here's the summary: We caught a beautiful sunrise in Monticello, UT; enjoyed the scenery from Mesa Verda, CO to Shiprock, NM; were glad when we were past Albuquerque, NM; witnessed an amazing sunset in the great wide open of Amarillo, TX; and ate at the most bizarre Arby's before catching some shut eye in Wichita Falls, TX.  What a day!  The drive on Sunday from Wichita Falls to Houston had me white-knuckled on the steering wheel as we experienced our first real Texan downpour until about an hour outside of Houston.  As we approached Houston we could feel the air getting thicker and thicker with humidity and we were finally greeted with the beautiful skyline of the city we now call home.  We drove straight to our apartment complex, signed our lease, and started our new adventure of living about a mile south of downtown of the fourth largest city in the US!

We left our first home together in Draper, Utah so Lance could continue to work with Dr. Michael Belfort, who was just hired as Department Chair of OB/GYN at Baylor College of Medicine.  Lance is a Research Coordinator for Dr. Belfort and he loves his job.  And, thanks to Lance's new co-workers' connections, I was hired to work as an Ophthalmic Technician for BCM.

We are completely unpacked now and getting settled in our new city.  We feel blessed to have the love and support of our families when we are so far from home.  We know this is the place we are supposed to be and are grateful for all of the blessings and good fortune we have experienced thus far.  We love exploring our new city and we will keep you updated on all of our new adventures here in Houston!