Monday, November 04, 2013

Visit to Texas

Mike and I just got back from a quick trip to Texas.  We woke up super early (like 3 AM early) so we could catch an early plane.  We flew into Houston and then drove an hour and a half to College Station.  Once there we spent the day visiting with professors in the Nuclear Engineering Department and touring a few different labs (three, to be exact).  Each of the professors seemed really nice and friendly.  The building the department works in is pretty old and gungy looking but I think they are moving to a different location.  And honestly, I haven't been on a college campus besides the Academy for a long time.  Maybe they all look super gungy.  Plus, they are engineers.  I don't think beautifying their area is really on their minds.

Anyway, we headed out of town to this lab off base where we met a very typical engineering student.  I had to go to the bathroom so I asked if they had a restroom in their building.  They didn't but they had a bathroom a few roads down at an abandoned gas station so I drove to this bathroom and it was pretty gross.  I couldn't help but chuckle at how funny it was that I was going to the bathroom in an abandoned gas station in the middle of no where.  There were dead cockroaches and grasshoppers on the floor.


Anyway, the rest of the labs were in nicer buildings and I didn't have to go to the bathroom in some yucky random gas station.  But I drove back to the building and tried to picture the boys there.  I thought about if Mike were to go to school there and we were to go visit him.  I imagine they would think it was the coolest thing ever--tall grass riddled with bugs.  I could see them taking little jars and nets and catching bugs to their hearts content.  And not only that, but just on the other side of the fence live a bunch of cows that like to meander over and talk to you.  They would think that was cool too.

Since we are talking about cows...There were a lot of cows.  Like, I'm not sure I've ever seen so many cows in one place and I've lived in the Midwest for a large portion of my life where there are farms and friendly little cows dotting the scenery.  But not like this.  There are a lot of cows in College Station.

After checking out the labs and talking to the professors that Mike is most interested in working with, we headed to dinner.  We met up with another student and then the head of the department and his wife.  It was a very pleasant dinner.  Again, they were all so welcoming and Dr. Hassan's wife (Dr. Hassan is the head of the department) was very friendly and seemed genuinely interested in us and in the other student we ate with.

Mike and I were exhausted by this time.  We had gotten up so early and my knee and foot were hurting something fierce.  We drove to this hotel room that we had reserved and found it to really be a Motel.  It was disgusting.  There was a beetle scampering across the floor and a dead cockroach in the light fixture and it had the grossest stink that I never got used to.  I made Mike take our bags back out to the car because there was no way I was going to take my bag back home with run-away cockroaches!  We tried calling around town to get another room but the next day was game day and the only room available was $240,  which I was tempted to take but I didn't want to be a spoiled baby and we were just exhausted by that point.  I finally just decided to suck it up and make the best of it.

The next morning we woke up and got ready.  The pillows were the worst pillows I've ever slept with so both of us had terrible neck aches for the entire day.  We checked out and drove to Starbucks so we could get some wifi (the hotel didn't have wifi) and look up some directions and then we just drove around town checking out different neighborhoods.  We did stop for lunch at one point but otherwise, we just drove and checked out the city.

It's a smaller city than Colorado Springs but not so small that there aren't fun things to do.  It's a college town so there are a lot of young kids running around and that is going to take some getting used to but also because of that, there should be plenty of interesting things to do with the kids.  It seems like the perfect size town for us actually.  Not too big, not too small.  And the schools and neighborhoods all seem very nice and we drove past the church building too.

We were surprised by the trees.  There are a lot of trees there.  The trees are pretty ugly trees-- a cross between the scary Oklahoma trees and southern trees (if you've been in the southern states or in Oklahoma you will know what I'm referring to).  And it was 89 degrees the first day!  Every one told us how hot and humid it was going to get in the summer and we know from living in Oklahoma that they are not exaggerating and after living in a state where most of the houses don't have AC's, it's going to take a readjustment period.

All in all, we saw some really nice neighborhoods that we would be happy to live in both in a higher price range and a lower price range.  We liked feeling like we were in a civilized town with plenty of things to do but also being able to drive ten minutes and be in the country.  It was a good trip and I think if we choose to move there it will be just right for us.

We love Colorado Springs and it will be an adjustment but there was nothing about College Station that we didn't like so I think we could really be happy there.  I'm not sure what Mike ultimately will decide and he still will go visit Boston but I think we will probably end up in Texas.


The Duke said...

Don't forgot those nice little chiggers that live amongst that tall grass riddled with bugs. :)

I'm glad you had a good trip and that you liked the place. I'm sure you will all adapt and like wherever you go because that's the kind of people you are.

Jess Clark said...

Boy, after reading the first half of your post, I would have assumed that College Station was out of the running. Glad you saw the good stuff that wasn't so dingy.

Mike and Adrianne said...

Jess, no, I was just trying to give an accurate account of how the two days went and my impressions. I already knew there were going to be a lot of bugs, I'm just accustomed to Colorado now where there are pretty much no bugs except moths. And the hotel was pretty disgusting. But besides that, I think we left with positive feelings. The faculty was really nice and open to us and the few students we met were also very nice and welcoming. The neighborhoods are nice and most of the houses we saw were different--not cookie cutter houses. And it was perfect weather. I think it was a pretty good fit for us actually with just enough city to make me feel like I wasn't in the middle of no where but also with so much outlying farms and country roads. It isn't Colorado and I really love it here but I think we could really love it there too. Just got to get geared up for that heat!