I think it is easy to come up with preconceptions in your mind based on what you think you're getting into. Then, you realize how way off those preconceptions were. San Angelo, to me, is just that: a preconception of mine that turns out to be way off!
San Angelo has a small town feel, but is actually mid sized, nearly 100,000 in population. The pace here is slower than what I used to, and the people are more friendly than I've ever experienced. And, I have to say, the city's planners truly got this place right. The are more and wider roads than are needed. Meaning? Traffic is NEVER congested.
In terms of quality of life, this city has it all. Many of the larger chain restaurants are here, but the real jewels are the local places. Yes, it's true the water here is BAD (nearly undrinkable), but more than half of the places use RO water filters, so all is well. The city has a great park system and money is being spent to upgrade what is already here. Even the heat (which, granted, is pretty ridiculous) is manageable. Thanks to the super dry air we have here, 100+ degrees isn't that bad. For instance, in my last blog I wrote about the challenges of training for a marathon in this heat. Well, in the month since, I've switched my running times to the evenings when the air is the most dry. Last weekend I ran 10 miles. the starting temp for that run? 102. Because there's a breeze and the air is so dry, it really isn't that bad.
The residents of San Angelo are also fiercely pro military. Every where we go when my wife is in uniform, someone thanks us for our service. Soldiers tell us often of their meals being paid for by strangers. It's nice to live in a place where folks appreciate what you sacrifice for their freedoms.
As far as our family goes, things couldn't have turned out more different than what I imagined. We found a truly amazing church the week we got here. Two weeks after we arrived, I was offered a job teaching martial arts to kids of military families. This will, in fact, be the first real paying job I've had in nearly 10 years. Since it will be after school hours and my kids will be in it as well, it won't interfere with my responsibilities as a dad.
I think the point is this: often when we PCS we have these pre(mis)conceptions about the places we're going. We've gotten comfortable where we've been and don't want to move. We never expect the place we're going to be as good as where we've been (unless you're one of the lucky ones who gets to PCS to Hawaii, but I digress...). A PCS move is nearly always a leap into the unknown. We leave behind friends that we've made, believing that we won't be able to make good friends in our new location. What we find is that is almost NEVER true. Sure, there have been exceptions, places we move to that never really do fit. But those, in my experience, are rare.
PCS moves are full of challenges. But they are also full of opportunities. Our move here has taught me that. What I thought was going to be a long two years away from civilization in a place that is hotter than Hades, has in fact turned out to be totally different (ok, it is hotter than Hades...). San Angelo has completely surprised me. In fact, I'd be willing to call it one of the best kept secrets in the military. I'm glad to be here!
Free Blog Counter
You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... (at)Armyspouse007