Next week will mark the two-year anniversary of my time in America, and what a roller coaster it has been. So many moves, with another coming up next month (yes, another state!), and so many new experiences.
It also marks one year in Oklahoma and as we are leaving the state soon, it is entirely appropriate to discuss what I have both liked and disliked about Oklahoma, in no particular order.
- Tornadoes: Since we have been here we have been on tornado alert several times, with the most recent causing considerable destruction only 30 minutes south of us. We are in fact, expecting more tornadoes tonight.
- Spiders: I actually haven’t seen any spiders since we moved here, whereas I saw zillions in Texas. However, despite not having seen any, I was unknowingly bitten by a Brown Recluse 5-6 weeks ago. I ended up very sick, with an abscess, cellulitis, and staph, and a course of strong antibiotics. Weeks later, my leg is still ulcerated. Needless to say, I am not a fan of spiders.
- The Highways: Ugh. I actually have a panic attack on them. They are so wild. It’s not the highways and overpasses themselves; it’s the crazy drivers who refuse to slow down. Trucks are constantly overturning and there are deadly car crashes, but that doesn’t seem to deter anyone except me, who refuses to go on them. It’s the long, back roads everywhere for me.
- Homelessness: I know this is an issue in most American cities, but it’s really bad and the sheer amount of panhandlers at the traffic lights in many city areas is overwhelming. There are only so many people you can help, and now I am being approached and asked for money in the car parks at Walmart. I don’t carry cash and always ask if I can buy them food from the store, but they want cash. I am unsure how to navigate this.
- Summer: Summer is really not the correct name for what we experienced in OKC last year. It was an inferno of molten lava that was so hot, I stayed indoors for weeks on end. Any effort to go outside was met with an assault. It was the worst summer I have ever experienced; even worse than the Texan summer we had. Needless to say, we are moving to the East Coast shortly and I am hoping to put that experience behind me.
- Seasons: There aren’t four seasons, there are two. Inferno hot for most of the year, and then about 10-12 weeks of intense cold. Nothing else. Some weeks have both seasons; 80 degrees one day and 38 the next. Make it make sense.
7. Car Insurance: This blew my proverbial socks off. In North Carolina, our car insurance was $40 per month. In Texas, it was $120. Here, in OKC, it is $150 per month for the same vehicle. That is insane and unwelcome!
- Architecture: OKC is a beautiful looking city with a gorgeous skyline. The city is resplendent with gardens, parks and a mixture of beautiful old buildings and modern ones.
- The Capitol: I live close to the Capitol and every time I see that magnificent building I catch my breath. It is so beautiful, and the grounds are beautiful too.
- Food Scene: Oklahoma City has a really good food scene. Living so close to Downtown and Midtown, we have been able to try a number of different restaurants. As we are moving to a small town on the East Coast we won’t have the same access to such a variety of different types of cuisines and I know I’ll miss it. This is something I have really loved about OKC. Even the famous onion burger has grown on me.
- Winter: It was really cold and we had a number of snowfalls this winter, but I’ve really enjoyed it. While I did not love the freezing wind at all, it was far better than the obnoxious summer we had.
- Red Dirt: I am fascinated by the rusty red earth here. It does tend to get everywhere as it’s so dusty, but the red rocks and hills are quite distinct.
- Stores: We have some really good stores. Some are the usual chain stores I like, but also a lot of boutiques with interesting and custom pieces.
- Culture: So many museums and galleries to visit. There’s something to interest everyone. My husband is Cherokee and there’s lots of places for him to visit to learn about his ancestors and culture. I love art galleries and we have a few really good ones in OKC and surrounding towns.
- Jobs: There are so many available jobs, both professional and unskilled. I didn’t think there would be so many positions available, working for really good companies and organizations. That’s been an incredible blessing, especially as the cost of living here is less than almost anywhere else in the Union.
- Tornado Sirens: This is a strange one to list under likes, but there is a drill every Saturday at 12 pm. Doesn’t matter where you are in the city, those sirens go off at 12 pm and you know exactly what the time is. It’s also a reminder that this Australian lives in Oklahoma. Still surprises me.
If I sat and thought harder I would come up with so many other points, but then the list would be way too long. Oklahoma has a lot to offer. While I am excited to return to the East Coast, I will miss a lot about this state. We have made so many friends here and have enjoyed a lot of what the city has to offer, but it’s time to discover somewhere new!