or at least, there was a lot of potential energy that I had in Houston that I gave up to go to NYC. I don't regret leaving Houston; being in NYC was like living four lives in the span that I think most people live just one. it was a rich and enriching experience and i checked off so many boxes on things that i've always wanted to do. i fucking *did* the things.
but i think there was some amount of emotional or interpersonal growing up that i gave up by hiking up my skirts and getting the fuck out of H-town.
i loved my time in Houston. i hung out at the Hacker Space. I had friends at work that were totally rad and some amount of backing from the partners. being a girl at a very masculine consulting group was not a good fit, but there was a lot of other promising shit in Houston. like friends, and connections, and dating people. i had more of the weirdly awkward chance relationships that span a huge amount of time and circumstances in Houston than I ever cultivated in NYC. I mean, I met a lot of people in NYC, but the range of depth and time of those connections (people I went to college with, high school friends, new work friends, professional connections, people I had dated, weird fun new friends in the art scene, favorite coffeeshops, rodeo dates, casino trips, Business Networking Events, hacker space pals) never got replicated. i mean, how could it? high school friend networks don't exist half a continent away. or rather, the people that i knew from high school and college that made it to NYC just weren't friends.
NYC was magical and big but it felt really void of the network of people or even of big ideas. maybe this sounds heretical to people that find it to be the complete opposite. i know lots of people that have expressed this exact sentiment to me, but about NYC.
i am a realist though. i mean, i did visit houston and check in with my friends who are there, who have been there. it feels like they've lived their one life and i've lived literally four.
i don't regret leaving Texas and Houston to move to the East Coast, but I am now realizing what a trade off it was. that there were things I gave up by getting out.
in Houston I would wake up really fucking early and drive to a nearby neighborhood that had really smooth pavement and rollerblade around like a bandit at 6 in the morning. i joked with my work friend aaron about getting a cape and a mask.
I went running around Rice a few times a week and the smell of cut grass and the humidity and the oppressive car-exhaust heat were as good as I remembered it being as a kid in cross country.
I started barefoot running, because the fancy tennis shoes i had bought absolutely destroyed my knees and i couldn't find any Vibrams that would fit my feet. i convinced myself that socks were like a poor man's vibrams. i went on a 3 mile run in the rain in socks, which I eventually took off and left on the sidewalk of a really tony neighborhood and laughed to think what the residents would think when found them, what story they would concoct for my abandoned socks.
i wore heels to work the next day and could barely walk because of the blisters. it was dumb and hilarious and no one at work wanted to believe that i actually was as big of an idiot as i said i was.
i got picked up at the grocery store by this guy named Scott who took me out to dinner, and we went swing dancing and he was terrible which pretty much was the end of that. a few months later i ended up working at his company as a 'consultant'. i found his email through the employee database and sent him a note letting him know i was there (just so there wouldn't be any awkward run ins!). he had moved down to corpus christi. like fuck that was fast.
i went salsa dancing with this guy i met on the internet and i had an absolute fucking ball but later in his car when we were about to head home he told me he thought that i was high when we first met because of how spaced out i was. that kind of soured me on the whole thing and got me started thinking about what the fuck was wrong with me such that on first impressions i came across as a fucking space cadet.
i'm still a fucking space cadet but i think it's cool now.
i went out drinking with a co-worker and it was late so we got tacos at this 24 hour place and they were the best food i think i've ever eaten. almost.
i went to my first tech conference, one of the biggest a Houston, held in the downtown University of Houston campus, the same place that I had gone to a Model UN conference in high school. on that high school trip, i had a phone interview with an alumni from the McCombs School of Business Honors Program that was basically a vetting call as to whether or not I would get into the program, one of the most pickiest higher ed programs that existed in Texas.
this time there were tons of demos on .NET technology because that's what most companies in the area used. i went with my work friend Aaron. he was really impressed by the Ruby community; i got totally tripped out by the dependency injection demo. the guy wrote a test for the print line statement which his hella fucking hard. there was a great demo on git that basically proved life saving later on. my love for git started here. anthony, a friend, worked for the same guy that gave the presentation.
i made friends with anthony and chris and we made big talk about software and programming and i spent a lot of time teaching myself Android, trying to understand what an 'Activity' was and a 'Service' and a 'ContentProvider'. I read the Head First Java book and the Design Pattern one and we had code dojos at work that were the most terrifying and yet inspiring thing.
when I got sad, which was often, i'd hop into my silver honda fit and go for a fast drive on the highway loop that surrounded downtown, blaring latino pop and seeing how fast i could weave in and out of other cars. i loved highway driving, punching the accelerator to make a gap, figuring out which lane was more likely to move ahead the fastest, working as hard as possible to stay the fuck out of anyone's blind spots, but especially 18-wheelers and SUVs because there wasn't any coming back from that kind of mistake. and it wouldn't even be my mistake to make.
i saw a lot about influence and corporate politking and gender and how not everything is necessarily black or white in my short time working as a consultant and i loved it and i hated that i felt so much like an outsider the whole time that i was there. i brought a friend of mine as a date to our christmas party and he remakred how it was like walking into a room full of sharks. i've forever after wondered how much of a shark i am that i thought this was a good group of people to sign on with.
i had some good friends there. they're still good friends. later i helped one of them get a job in NYC when he and his wife moved up for her medical residency.
when i told people at work that i was leaving for NYC to learn how to become a hacker, brian, the guy on our project who i thought was the most smartest and fastest and bestest programmer i had ever met, told me that he was sure one day I would be a great programmer, much better than him at any rate. it was the nicest thing i think anyone has ever told me.
you know i say that i lived four lives for the one that everyone else lived, but looking back, I sure did pack a lot of life into 11 months in H-town.