It has also been a great place to make new connections. Let me explain…
My story begins with the admission that I am scared of moving to Austin, TX. My husband talked me into it by whispering sweet nothings in my ear and making big promises: we could have a large house with a big yard for a garden and a play set, a good sized kitchen so I can cook him vegan food, and enough economic security that life would be easier than in New York. I was under the impression we would be able to live comfortably on one income. But after having actually visited Austin and run the numbers, my trepidation only increased.
I have always claimed that I can make a home anywhere, but Austin is so different from New York. For one, there are very few real neighborhoods where you can walk to a restaurant or shopping area. Granted, these neighborhoods are pretty cute, but the homes there aren’t nearly as large or affordable as what I had been led to believe would be my consolation prize for agreeing to move to Austin. If we opt for a newly built house in the suburbs, our subdivision will be at least 20 minutes away from civilization by car. And if we stay in town, we will be forced to stretch our budget while still sacrificing the space and modern touches I crave in a house. I am guessing that we will compromise by buying a fixer-upper closer in to town and modernizing it as our budget allows. I am a DIY type of gal, so that works for me just fine.
Also, everyone has warned me about the heat in Texas. Just peeking at the weather reports online make me want to plotz. Did I mention I am from Canada? My childhood was spent in Vancouver, where it rains 90% of the time, and Winnipeg, where if you lick a metal pole in October you might not get your tongue back until May. I am conditioned for rain and cold, not extreme heat! When it’s hot out, especially if it’s humid, I have to eat cups of ice to keep my body temperature down or I blanch and pass out. I also get heat rashes all over my body that can take weeks to clear up. Summer heat makes me miserable, but I have learned to work around it. I don’t leave the house between 11 AM and 3 PM, wear light clothing, take ice with me wherever I go, and only venture outside for brief periods of time.
But these methods barely worked in New York. Texas summers have been variously described to me as “scorching”, “hotter n’ hell”, and “so hot the hens lay hard-boiled eggs”. What am I to do when Aiven has soccer games midday? What about summer vacations when he wants to run around outside? I am scared of how much I may miss out, or how much he may miss out because I can’t stay with him outdoors. It makes me upset every time I think about it.
Clearly, I have some concerns about moving to Austin. I try to keep a loop playing in my head of the many, many people who only have the most wonderful things to say about Austin. I also remind myself that I came to New York knowing almost no one and left three and a half years later having made loads of wonderful friends. I know that I can do it again.
When I flew out to Austin to scope it out, I visited the Jewish Community Center. We received a private tour of the facilities and learned about all the programs they offer. I must say, I was impressed. I realized that part of establishing myself in Austin will include becoming a member of the Jewish Community Center, and we decided to look for a home as close to it as possible. I am very optimistic that I will meet lots of people and make new friends at the JCC.
This is where Kveller comes in. Someone read my article about my move to Austin and forwarded it to Lisa Apfelberg, the Director of Outreach at the Austin JCC. Lisa wrote me a lovely email offering assistance with all things Jewish in Austin. I almost cried when I got that email. Moving to a place where I feel so disconnected to right now is terrifying, and her email alleviated some of my fear. It reminded me how welcoming people can be to strangers from a strange land, that Texans have a reputation for kindness, and that the Jewish Community, whether physical or virtual, is a place where all Jews can feel at home.
So, a shout out to Kveller, Lisa Apfelberg, the Austin JCC, and whoever the mystery person is who forwarded my article on. You helped me breathe a little bit easier about my impending move, and I am grateful for the warmth, generosity, and hospitality that you have all shown me.
This post originally appeared on Kveller.com. Kveller.com offers a Jewish twist on parenting, everything a Jewish family could need for raising Jewish children--including crafts, recipes, activities, Hebrew and Jewish names for babies...and advice from Mayim Bialik.