Moving to Houston was the biggest mistake I ever made in my entire life. I cannot emphasize enough how living in that place has drained me mentally. I thought trying something new will be enriching.
I am born and raised in Miami FL. Home of nice beaches, cool breezes, and diversity. Due to the Great Recession, my family and I had to move to find a job. We thought Houston would be a good choice because of a higher paycheck and the claims that there is a high amount of diversity.
Because I wanted to try a change of scenery, we decided to move to the Klein area of Houston. We also heard that the schools were decent. (We were unsure of Houston's school district. Plus, we didn't want to spend money on private schooling.) Trees everywhere, so it must be a good community, right?
Sure, the area appeared nice, with forested communities filled with homes big enough to fill your HGTV fantasies. Maybe I'm being nice here because it seems like developers are eager to chop down any existing tree in order to build a new fast food chain or nail salon. But moving to Houston certainly came with culture shock.
The area was segregated, as many of the ethnic groups in Houston's diversity are concentrated inside Beltway 8. But most of Houston's suburbs, including our suburb, are predominantly white Republican. Now, when I say Republican (I'm aware Cubans in Miami can tilt Republican), I mean continuous cruel jokes about Barack Obama being a Kenyan Muslim and even several people desiring to assassinate the president. Not to mention the pervasive attitudes about minorities being criminals; I mean just listen to how they talk about blacks, Mexicans, Muslims, and even Hispanics in general. I know that because my kids were called "illegal aliens," "wetbacks," and "border jumpers" in school. (We are Puerto Rican by the way.) Of course, we weren't the only minorities in Klein, but that doesn't mean people were truly welcoming. And yes, all this fiery rhetoric occurred before Donald Trump announced that he was running for president. They say all of these nasty things, all while continuously professing that they are sons of God. Except they really don't have the most compassion towards poor people, especially if they are minority.
And it isn't just limited to ethnic groups. They also have a strong hatred against the LGBT community unlike any other. People here are passionate in their opposition against gay marriage. And let's not forget the HERO saga back in 2015. Locals literally equated gay and transgender rights to sexual predators raping children in public restrooms. No, seriously! Local mainstream radio and television stations frequently aired an ad on that notion! It is a crappy coverup of the fact that people desired to refuse service to people on the basis that they are gay or lesbian. This goes to show that people in Houston are truly ugly on the outside and ugly on the inside. Nice spitting on the parking lot, man!
You'd think that because it is hot and humid in Miami, I would get used to the summer weather in Houston, right? Wrong. It is humid and way hotter than Miami. Texas heat and Louisiana humidity. And you do not get the sea breezes, either. Did I mention that Houston's beach of choice, Galveston Island, is dirty? Yes, the Mississippi River carries sediment to the Texas coast, but it doesn't negate the fact that the landscape is filled with drab sand and litter. Seriously, people call that place paradise? Have they even traveled outside Texas?
The drivers. Oh my goodness. If I had a dollar every time I pass through an idiot driving a giant pick-up truck with excessive tailpipe exhaust, I'd be richer than Donald Trump. These pick-ups are more often than not filled with bumper stickers, such as the one with a Punisher dead skull, the NRA, the "Don't Tread On Me" yellow flag, etc. Worst of all, these drivers are packing heat, so if you do something wrong to them, they will shoot you dead. Or at least they will try to shoot you. Worse is that many locals pride on this attitude and behavior. And it shows, from the Sarah Palin rally in The Woodlands (what locals call paradise!) to frequent armed protests against Obama in Conroe.
Worse is that not only is Houston short in natural beauty thanks to the mad obsession with concrete, you barely have options to escape all of this crap. 3 hour drive to Austin, 6 hour drive to New Orleans, 7-8 hours to South Padre Island, and 10-11 hours just to reach the Florida panhandle! And nobody wants to go to Oklahoma or Arkansas. At least in Miami, we are near many Caribbean Islands. And I-95 is a direct route (although long) to DC and NYC.
I cannot believe people there had the gall to compare Houston to New York. All because of a giant theatre [that people aren't truly interested in going to because they're going huntin' and fishin'], the presence of people driving BMWs, and the fact that they are next to some Vietnamese restaurant. But people in Houston are more interested in guns and ammo than books and culture. They'd rather listen to a talk shot host rant about Obama and immigrants (yeah, I'm talking about YOU, Michael Berry) instead of NPR and Classical, like most other big cities in America.
Seriously, I can't stand that place. The presence of some Hispanic cultures in the city of Houston isn't really enough to offset the right-wing redneck attitudes in the suburbs and even within the city. I'm just glad to be back in South Florida. I will never take true diversity, culture, and tolerance (not to mention beautiful scenery) for granted.
Carlos | Coral Gables, FL