Monday, November 24, 2008

a week in el paso

No, I didn't fall into the giant abyss that is Texas. You might have thought so given my absence. But I've just been busy... I guess?

The week hasn't been half bad. Lots of adjusting, but I'm making it work. This would be crazy long post if I told you all of it, so I'll recap. It'll just be sorta long. But I promise pictures at the end...

Recap #1
Thursday we ventured off post to see what this whole El Paso thing was all about. After about 20 minutes of driving on the highway, overlooking the sprawling city, seeing Mexico in the distance, feeling overwhelmed, feeling lonely....

I cried.

I cried and told Jim "I don't want to be here" and he lovingly held my hand and told me I cried when we got to Fort Campbell, too. I think he was lying and just saying that to make me feel better. But he does have a better memory than I do, like by a ton. So I believed him and it did make me feel better. I loved Fort Campbell and would go back to in a second. Perhaps Fort Bliss would surprise me.

Recap #2
Friday Jim met his "sponsor" who toted him around post to show him the place. I stayed back and walked Roxy to a mysterious coffee shop I thought I'd seen on post. It's fabulous! It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it's frappuccinos are maybe better than Starbucks. Maybe. And with the long walk home, I felt very justified in my calories, thank you very much.

So, coffee shop on post. I might be able to handle this.

Recap #3
Saturday Jim and I decided to be adventurous and find a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place to eat that looked like it had passed inspection. (We've heard rumors.) So we found Viva Burrito and it was horrible. We ended up at Taco Bell. I'm not making that up.

Recap #4
On Sunday we made friends! Jim's sponsor Brandon ended up being a pretty cool guy with a pretty cool wife! And they like hiking. And she likes crafting. So for three hours we talked up a storm and watched our 3 dogs become rock climbing buddies as we hiked the Franklin Mountains. We made it to a cool Aztec cave (pictures below) and scrambled down what I think wasn't a path, but was still super fun. We even got an invite for Thanksgiving dinner. Our other option was turkey sandwiches in the hotel room. No kidding.

It was such a great day and we slept really well. Especially Roxy.

And I have my first friend.

Oh, and I saw my first tarantula! My first thought was to be scared. But don't worry, my second thought was to grab my camera. But then Brandon told me they could jump. So I quickly walked away. Then he said, "Sometimes up to 6 feet." So I ran. But I still saw one so I think I should totally get cool points for that.

Recap #5
Housing. I've been kinda moot on this point because things have been very up in the air as to where we're going to live. We really, really, really want to live on post. To do that, you have to get your name on the waiting list, and we've been on it since August. Our number has gone down from high, to 34, which is still high.

On Monday the "nice" lady behind the desk didn't give us much hope. She reminded us that 34 is really high.

So Plan B. This is a God Is Awesome! story. As it turns out, through a connection with the post chaplain, there's a girl with a home in the same neighborhood we'll hopefully someday be in who sorta needs a house sitter. Did you follow that? For 6 weeks we'll be borrowing someone else's home on post. And she thinks we're doing her a favor!

The house is huge and has a fence in the backyard for Roxy. We just got the key today and I couldn't be more pumped. We'll move in Saturday.

And for the next few months I'll visit the "nice" lady at Housing every week and maybe even bring her cookies.

Recap #6
Jim and I enjoyed our hiking trip so much that that we went back again today. We enjoyed a picnic lunch under the nicest side-of-the-road-picnic-table I've ever enjoyed. Then we found another set of caves and hiked away! Roxy is quite the rock-climbing dog - far more so than we anticipated. She thinks Texas is heaven. We never thought we'd be "those people", but we definitely have more pictures of her than of us. Lame, I know.

So that's our first almost-week in El Paso. The other day I told Jim that I think I might end up liking it here. Somehow, when you meet people and find things to do, it doesn't feel so big.

Here are all the pictures I promised. It's a collection I call:
"What Karen does when she's stuck in Texas,
and then doesn't feel quite so stuck"

On our first hike with our new friends, the Ebels. (A picture does exist with all of us together, but sadly it wasn't taken on my camera.)

Karen and Roxy near the Aztec caves

Wednesday's side of the road picnic

Our picnic view

Roxy and Jim

Roxy our mountain dog


LifeAtTheCircus said...

You'll appreciate this quote from your nephew the other night at dinner.

"Aunt Karen and Uncle Jim live in a galaxy far, far away called Texas."

We're praying for many more friends and coffee shops. Check your mail, you should have something arriving this week. :-)

Andrea said...

We have a good friend that lives in El Paso. I'll send you her info. We were also hoping to get down to visit her next spring and now have another friend to say hello to! I'm so glad you found coffee and housing. What more does one really need to feel settled?!

Megan said...

Karen you are so gifted at making friends - I can only imagine what your social calendar will look like in a few months! And seriously, you guys make any place seem cool! Cool, minus the tarantula!

Erin said...

Good grief Karen, you are a friend magnet... i couldn't make a friend that fast if my life depended on it. perhaps that's why you were Homecoming Queen. It seems God knew what He was doing in making you an army wife!

Erin said...

oh, wait, i forgot to mention that i actually physically shuddered when you say you saw a tarantula. i lived in constant fear of them when i lived in houston as a kid. yuck!

Anonymous said...

Karen, I am so glad that you are finding your way around El Paso. I think you will grow to love it there. I think it is way cool that you saw a tarantula, though a picture would have been awsome. Your pictures are making my antzy to set out that way. I can't wait until August.

Rebecca said...

I am so relieved and glad you will have somewhere to spend Thanksgiving...I was wondering what you would be doing. That is also a great way to get to know your new friends better!

I ditto everyone else's remarks about you being a friend magnet...heck, you aren't even afraid to make friends via the internet!!!

And...I think you should do a flashback or way back when post and show us the homecoming pictures...I've never known such royalty before. (Insert funny smiley face I don't know what keys to use here...)

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

mrsbuckett said...

awww. I love the pictures! So glad you've found your dog enjoying your adventures too. And a craft buddy already?!?! Wow. I guess I better get crafting soon so we have more to compare notes on. Scott's home now and we're settling in so it might be a bit til more craftiness ensues. We'll see! Take care my friend. Praying for more friends to abound and more God stories to share about the great things he's doing around you and through you. :)

Muthering Heights said...

LOLOLOL, Taco Bell?? That's hilarious. And honest...


Shawna said...

I knew you would adjust. You are an amazing lady and the Lord will provide!! Glad everything is working out for you both. Take care & miss you tons & tons!