I arrived in Houston in July 2002. I was met at the airport by my father who had taken some time off from his job as a truck driver to get me settled and ready to begin the next chapter of my life. I never needed him more! He has always been there for me, but I was starting a brand new life in the fourth largest city in America where I knew no one. My father was a source of help and comfort at the beginning of what would be a long, but amazing, journey!
My Dad picked up me and my boxes from the airport. I had checked through two cardboard boxes along with my luggage. This was before the airlines began charging exorbitant prices for checked luggage. This was back when you could check up to three pieces (as I recall) for free.
We stayed in a hotel the first night and then headed to San Antonio the next day. My father had decided to give up his apartment because he was on the road so much, it was an unnecessary expense. He spent at least 6 - 8 weeks at a time on the road and would only come home for a week at a time, if that. So it made no sense for him to keep an apartment.
This worked in my favor since he gave me some of the things from his apartment - an air mattress, a TV, a vacuum, and so on. The moving company I had used delivered my furniture two weeks late so that air mattress and TV came in handy!
I had selected an apartment site unseen from Oregon with the help of an apartment locator. I loved the place! I lived on the third floor of Allen House Apartments, just a couple of miles from downtown Houston and about 10 miles from the University of Houston Law Center. It was a great location and the apartment was well-maintained, neat and clean.
My Dad helped me find an electricity provider as well as car insurance. He had helped me get a 1999 Mercury Tracer and had purchased it in San Antonio so I could drive it back to Houston. I still remember getting in the car to make my very first "Texas drive" to Houston. It's about four hours from San Antonio and I thought I might get lost, but I made it. My Dad had given me some Texas maps and one of the best pieces of advice for moving to a new city - "Drive around. Get to know your neighborhood. It doesn't matter if you get lost. You'll find your way back and you will learn your way around. Take the time to just drive around one day." That piece of advice has served me well. Don't be afraid to get lost. Just get in the car and drive. You will figure it out and learn the neighborhood along the way.
I had six weeks before law school started and I used that time to drive around, go to the library, read, sleep, and watch TV. Prior to moving to Houston, I had a stressful job as a reporter where I was working five days a week and sometimes covering events on the weekends as well as doing split shifts twice a week as both a reporter/proofreader/web site manager for the newspaper. Studying for the LSAT and applying to law school were no easy tasks in the midst of that kind of job so by the time I got to Houston, I was tired. I needed the time to really relax before heading into law school.
There were times I was bored and lonely, I will admit that. But my Dad's advice came in handy again. "Everything, even the bad things, are an adventure. Life goes by quickly, enjoy it!" My Dad also came through once again during this time by calling me from the road every single day. He was driving cross-country delivering items as part of his trucking job, but he made time every day to call me because he knew I didn't know anyone and he didn't want me to feel alone. Is my Dad awesome or what?
Stay tuned for 10 years: Law School!