Virtual Voices

Houston heads, Houston tales

"Houston heads, Houston tales" Continued...

Hidalgo emphasized “the diversity, the amount of jobs, the relatively inexpensive standard of living (as compared to the northeast, California, and other places), and … culturally speaking, there are tremendous opportunities here: a fabulous symphony, the Houston Ballet, numerous museums, theater companies, festivals, a slew of libraries. If you want to have some cultural experience and yet your pocketbook doesn’t afford it, there are ways to still partake, even as we have”—and she noted free performances by the Houston Symphony, the Houston Ballet, and others. She noted the free Thursday admissions at many museums. Her bottom line: “Yes, it is a given that the summers are hot, the city is congested, the people are numerous, the traffic horrible, the commutes are long, but perhaps that is because so many have decided Houston is a great place to live, and so they just keep on coming, but for me, it is all I have known—and I love it!

Fifth, Houstonians with personal or parental experience in other countries often saw downsides but valued liberty. I’ll give the last words to Desiree Van Essen, whose father is from Iran. She and her family moved to Houston eight years ago, and needed a little adjusting: “Once we arrived here, instead of seeing the beautiful scenery of East Tennessee, we noticed lots of tall freeways and stores everywhere. Endless miles of commerce and restaurants along the freeway. You wonder where the houses are. Granted strip malls aren’t easy on the eyes. But once you’re here a while, you come to realize these businesses exist because people are making money and spending money.”

She wrote, “In Tennessee we didn’t see a lot of people from Mexico or South America. … In Texas there are many beautiful people with black hair, tanned skin, and a Spanish accent. They are very comfortable with their Latino heritage and being Texan. They’re not ‘outsiders’ … Yes, Houston is hot and not very scenic. Dotted along the landscape are chemical plants and oil rigs! If you have to ‘drive across town’ you’ll be in the car a while. … I think we could use more parks or green space and perhaps lower property taxes, but that’s where my complaints end. Business is booming, housing affordability is amazing, personal freedom is encouraged. … The people of the world are here, and it’s a beautiful thing. We have the diversity of Toronto with the warm hospitality of the South.”

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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