I'm used to seeing things like this:
|More common in late summer and|
throughout the fall, black bears were
part of life in Houston.
|Deer were everywhere. It was normal|
to see them wandering the streets and
hanging out in back yards.
|Life in a valley meant being surrounded|
Now I see things like this:
|These guys are everywhere, making|
dog walking a bit of a challenge.
|Magpies dominate the skies. Crows, on|
the other hand are relatively rare.
|The skyline is broken by buildings instead|
Another thing I don't see is dogs wandering about off-leash and unattended. It just never happens. Here dogs are leashed and with their owners when not contained in fenced yards. (I have yet to see a dog tied up, but that's not to say it doesn't happen.)
I'm used to being able to walk anywhere. Any place I wanted to go, I could go on foot in under 20 minutes. Now, I have to think about and plan for any excursion. Do I walk? Do I bus? Do I get my kid to chauffeur me? Appointments are not made willy-nilly. They are given very careful consideration. (Oddly, I can walk faster than I can bus to the "local" shopping centre. Might not be so funny in the winter, but for now, it's great motivation to get some exercise.)
Shopping!? Well, shopping is entirely different here. Shopping exists!
Events happen here. And people show up for them! I'm relatively sure that boredom is obsolete. At least it should be.
The city is strewn with gorgeous parks. There are parks everywhere! Walking trails make exploring the neighbourhoods more interesting. I just wish there was an off-leash dog park closer by.
I was surprised to see people putting garbage for collection in bags. Everyone had toters in Houston. Here, they just put their bags out. Not even in cans - though some people do use cans. It's weird. The first time I saw that, I was horrified. I'm used to having to protect the garbage from dogs, crows and bears. Here it doesn't seem to be much of an issue. And recycling is easy! Just leave your BLUE bag out with your garbage bags and it's all taken care of. Love it!
Yes, city life is different. Not better. Not worse. Just different. I'm adjusting slowly to it. I was worried that it would be all hustle and bustle, but it's really not. It just takes a little longer to get places and that has to be factored in when making plans. You DO NOT leave for an even ten minutes ahead of time. You leave at least a half an hour before it starts. More if you want good parking!
Right now, I'm preparing to master the art of public transit. That should be interesting! Haven't done it yet, but I need to make friends with the buses. I'll tell you all about it. Soon.