I read it the other day and laughed so hard I cried – oh the memories it brought back! How on earth could I have known what would happen in the next year? Both the good and the very, very hard.
Over the past year, there have been many times I’ve wanted to tell you all what life is like here. Really like. It strikes me to write it at moments I can’t (like mostly driving along the border) and by the time I get home I’ve forgotten. So here’s what life is like in El Paso, Texas:
It’s still hot. It’s about 104 today and by golly – that means by around 8am it’s already 90* out. During summer months (May – September-ish) we spend a lot of time indoors. Like winter everywhere else on the planet. We do a lot of games, drawing, painting. I take Bella to open gym at her Gymboree once a week in the afternoon. We head over to our friend Tanya’s house who has a girl Bella’s age (we’ve known them since about 3 weeks after we moved here). Farmers markets can run April – October here. At night we sometimes grill or just eat dinner on the back porch and let Bella play on the grass until it gets dark. It cools off starting around 7pm.
Summer months are dry heat – which in many ways I’m so thankful for. I love the South (the REAL south, not “we live in Mexico south”) and you all know that, but the humidity just kills me. We kinda hunker down from 12-6 and Bella naps while I work.
Hey – kinda like right this moment!
Winters are lovely. Yes. They are. Winters are mild and cool and we spend every minute we can outdoors at all the local things. Winters are everyone else’s summers. 60* out, occasionally it gets really cold and it even snows, but not much and it only last a few days. I really thought I would miss Colorado winters (and part of me misses the big snows) but I do not miss 8 months of winter stuck inside. I’ve gotten used to never being really cold for long periods of time.
The traffic here is insane. Hands down the worst of any place I’ve ever lived – Denver, San Diego – this place takes the crazy driving cake. And so far, anyone I’ve met here (native or newcomer) has said the same. I can find myself in a lane:
- – Behind a old pickup filled sky high with pipes, kitchen appliances, boards, and planks – strapped down by strings, rope, and nothing.
- – Next to me there is someone weaving in and out of traffic at 96 MPH.
- – Across is someone going 23 in a 65. With a blinker on to turn right – apparently into the concrete median.
- – And then in back of me is a teen who is thisclose to rear ending me on a continual basis because that text message she’s sending while sipping on her Coke and doing her makeup at 75 mph is way too important to look up from.
For the reals. Sam is terrified of us being in a car wreck and I’ve seen some insane ones out here.
Ft. Bliss is amazing. There’s a lot that is all new – the commissary (grocery store – and yes, it’s exactly like a grocery store), the PX (like a small mall), all the restaurants (they have a sushi place there that we adore), and then things like UPS, a barber, a salon, playgrounds, daycare centers, pools, splash parks – it’s an open base so anyone can go on, although you have to have a military ID to purchase things. It also has gigantic trees and grass – so WIN.
Mexico is literally down the road. In fact, this morning I went to a moms group and BOOM. Came over the hill to see miles of Mexico in front of me on the other side of the border. Which is an actual border. I had someone ask me that the other day. It’s a huge fence with wire on top – maybe electricity? I can’t remember. But lots and lots of Border Patrol.
FYI: We’re considered the safest big city in America.
It never fails to amaze me that I can see another country – not state, not town, but country from the freeway.
All in all? I don’t mind it here. I thought I kinda did once I went back to Colorado a few weeks ago, but then we got home and settled and I realized – nah. It’s ok. I wouldn’t want to reenlist here, but we’ve only got a year and a half left. It’s cozy in our little home, I have friends, we have things to do and know where everything is – I’m ok with being here.
So it’s not hell. It might feel like it today, but it’s not.