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Newcomers to Houston many times do not know what to expect. Most are pleasantly surprised about what they find.


For people who didn’t plan on life in Bayou City, it’s panning out as land of opportunity    10 months here washes away Texas stereotypes
By St. John Barned-Smith

   I’d just crossed the state line on Interstate 10 when I saw the sign that stuns East Coast drivers heading to Houston.   

El Paso: 857 miles.   

Head west that same distance from New England, say, from Providence, R.I., and you pass through five states, landing just east of Elkhart, Ind.   

That was 10 months ago.   

I’d never imagined I’d end up in Houston. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool Bostonian, sprung from those puking Pilgrims on the Mayflower.   

Like so many before me, I came here for a job, and I had no clue what to expect when I got here.   

Guns, cacti and tumbleweeds immediately came to mind. I remembered reading the newspaper one day when Boston was still buried under a foot of snow, marveling at Houston’s late-spring temperatures.   

I’d heard talk of jobs and the economy, and of a city with no zoning.   

Dodge Chargers and Ford F-150s flew down I-10 as I trundled along in my tiny Civic, a nerves-jangling experience.   

Then, Houston, a web of pavement, a miasma of humidity and heat, a teeming jumble of life and sound and smells and so much more.   

I settled into a cheap apartment off Bissonnet, bought a bed. I discovered Killen’s barbecue, Shipley Do-Nuts and queso flameado.   

And though I liked to tease my co-workers about this vast, new place I’d found myself in, it grew on me, muscle cars and all.   

Since that jarring moment almost a year ago, I’ve met a suburban sheriff who moved here from Wisconsin, refugees who came from Nepal, and immigrants from Scotland and India and Mexico and every other seeming corner of the world. And that barely scratches the surface.

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