When preparing for our transition from the lush landscapes of Oregon to the vibrant culture of North Texas, we were met with one of two reactions: some people applauded our choice with a hint of envy, wishing they could do the same, while others were baffled, wondering why we would make such a move. It was intriguing to hear the assumptions Oregonians, who had never ventured to Texas, held about the Lone Star State. Similarly, the people we have met in Texas hold their own assumptions about Oregon. After our relocation, friends and acquaintances began to inquire about the dissimilarities we encountered in Texas. While it’s important to note that both states boast diverse geography, with places like Eugene differing from Bend in Oregon and McKinney being just a glimpse of the vast expanse of Texas, here’s a selection of intriguing distinctions we’ve noticed.
Donut Delights vs. Coffee Comfort
In McKinney, donut shops seem to be as plentiful as the Texan sunshine, while coffee shops are somewhat scarce. For the most part, each strip mall here boasts a donut shop, a car wash, a nail salon, and a massage parlor. Coffee shops, however, are not as prominent, though spotting a Dutch Bros. in McKinney was a comforting touch of home. Perhaps the caffeine jolt of coffee may not be as vital in this sunny locale, whereas Coffee was Life in the Pacific Northwest. We are self-proclaimed coffee snobs and have found the quality of the coffee was better in Oregon than at most places in Texas, with one notable exception: Summer Moon Coffee. We were ecstatic when the chain opened a shop in McKinney last weekend. As for the donuts that surround us — we aren’t avid donut consumers, but we’ve come to appreciate the local favorite, a Texas Kolache.
Storm Drain Contrasts
The storm drains in Texas are formidable, capable of swallowing a small child. It’s as if I’ve gained a newfound appreciation for Stephen King’s “It” and how the eerie clown lurked in the storm drain. Our 80-pound Bernedoodle is gradually overcoming her fear of these massive drains during our walks. The storm drains in Eugene never grabbed my attention, except, perhaps, when they were blocked by leaves and the water wasn’t draining. Speaking of storm drains, it’s amusing that some of my Oregon friends thought Texas as a whole was arid, yet Dallas receives an average of 39 inches of rainfall per year, not significantly less than the 40-inch average in Eugene, according to Google. The difference, so far, seems to be how the rain comes down. In Texas, it rains hard and then stops. In Oregon, the rain usually came as a soft drizzle that lasted for hours.
Flatlands vs. Hills
Texas offers a distinct topography – it’s undeniably flat. After years of being surrounded by hills and mountains, adjusting to this flatness took some time. Oregonians would laugh at what is considered a “hike”’ here because there is no change in elevation. We miss Mt. Pisgah and Spencer’s Butte, with their cardio workout uphill climbs and breathtaking views of the Willamette Valley. Yet, it’s not entirely pancake-flat here; subtle crests and the presence of trees and water add a surprising dimension. In fact, it’s greener than I had initially imagined, thanks in part to the abundance of golf courses in the area.
Our Texan neighborhood appears to be a haven for rabbits, with the conspicuous absence of squirrels during our walks. However, I have seen squirrels in other neighborhoods. In Eugene, the abundance of squirrels was a charming nuisance. We always saw them running across roads and up into trees.
Autumn vs. Summer Minor
It’s early October, yet the high temperatures are still flirting with the 90s. Meanwhile, when I look at the weather in Eugene, I see clouds and highs in the upper 60s, with lows in the 40s – the kind of weather I’m accustomed to in the fall. The forecast in North Dallas shows highs in the upper 70s for the week ahead, but for now, we’re sipping iced pumpkin spice beverages and still enjoying our pool.
One of the most peculiar discoveries has been the Texan tradition of “Homecoming Mums.” In Oregon, a girl would receive a corsage to complement her dress, given by her date. In Texas, it’s all about the Mum, which girls either craft or purchase themselves. And no, I’m not talking about the flower – these are colossal ribbon creations that girls carry around, akin to backpacks or small children. The size of these Mums seems to grow with each passing year of high school, and the cost is comparable to the price of a nice dress.
The battle of grocery stores is a clear victory for H-E-B in Texas. It’s a retail experience unparalleled in Eugene. H-E-B is beloved for its sheer enormity, diverse produce and meat sections, and the enchanting aroma of its bakery. The fresh tortillas made in-store make it nearly impossible to leave without buying more than planned, especially when hunger strikes. H-E-B also has its own BBQ restaurant, which we haven’t tried yet, but we have heard it’s really good. What we don’t find at H-E-B is all the vegan and organic options that were available in Eugene’s Market of Choice. Also, the dessert options in the Market of Choice bakery are hard to beat.
In Oregon, seasonal affective disorder often strikes during the long, cloudy, and dark winter months. In Texas, however, the blues typically descend during the summer. While the exact reasons are unclear, it may be attributed to the scorching heat, which keeps people indoors, leading to a feeling of confinement. Fortunately, we didn’t experience it, as we had a pool to stay cool and soak up the sun, along with early morning dog walks.
While treading carefully on a delicate topic, the diversity in Texas, particularly in terms of race and culture, has been an eye-opener. Having studied sociology in college, I relish the opportunity to observe and experience this multifaceted tapestry of human diversity. In Oregon, diversity often revolved around thought and lifestyle, with less diversity when it came to race and culture.
More to Discover
I’m certain there are other distinctions I’ve overlooked as I’ve grown accustomed to them. As time progresses and seasons change, I’m sure I’ll continue to uncover new differences. While I am deeply fond of the beauty of Oregon, I’m content with our move to the great state of Texas, and day by day, it’s transforming into our cherished home.
What have been your experiences in moving to another state? What advice do you have for others considering a move?
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