What’s it Like Living in El Paso?

June 26, 2012

One year ago yesterday I wrote this post and then this one a few days later about moving to El Paso.

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.

Our backyard.

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.

Ft. Bliss

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.

Border Fence

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.

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7 Comments

  • Kim

    June 27, 2012 at 10:40 am

    ahhh, dry heat. I have no idea what this mean. I’m so glad you like where you live now!

  • Christine

    June 27, 2012 at 10:05 am

    I live in Kentucky and I’m from Georgia so you’d think I’d be used to humidity by now, but no. Every summer I’m like “WHY, GOD, WHYYYY?” I envy dry heat. But I also love the South so I guess I’ll just learn to deal with the humidity. Or, more practically, I’ll just keep complaining about it and then frolic in the fall and winter.

  • Jess

    June 27, 2012 at 8:53 am

    LOL oh the traffic…

    I’m glad you are doing well!

  • Gretchen

    June 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    Smack dab in Central TX and it’s a humid, horrible hot!! From North TX and have always lived in TX. Would once like to live elsewhere, but I’m sure we’ll always be here! Would live to experience seasons, but I’m sure I would hate it! Can’t win I guess?!?!

  • Kate S.

    June 26, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Cute! Gosh I miss commissary shopping something fierce! Glad you feel at home. That’s always a bonus. And I would kill for some of that CO snow right now. I’m not cut out for 106+. :/

  • Sarah

    June 26, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    We’re in Midland and I completely get it. We’re obviously further from the border but the “It’s not Hell, it just feels like it” resonates well with us. I’m a Nashvillian and hubby’s a Houstonian. We are far from home but I don’t miss the humidity either. My hair looks great. I always pout when I go home and think about how terrible it is and then I come back and realize it ain’t so bad. Thankful for my husband and daughter that make it all worth while.

  • Mrs. Duh

    June 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    I’m in Texas, too (San Antonio). I understand and agree with almost everything you are saying. The main difference is that we are about two hours away from the border here. I’m from Utah, and I miss snow sometimes… but I love those beautiful months from mid-September to April! Although I don’t think I’ll ever get used to the Texas summers! I’m glad you are getting used to life in Texas!

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