It’s been a little over a year now since we moved from Dallas to Orlando. While Ali only lived there for two years, I was there twice as long and grew a little more fond of the only place besides Knoxville I lived for more than a year. At first, I was just glad to be done and move to Florida, but as time has passed I find myself nostalgic for Dallas. Once the budget allows, I’d love to come back and visit and since Southwest from here to Love Field runs pretty cheap, that could be sooner rather than later. In the meantime, here’s 10 things I miss about Texas (in no particular order)
I said in no particular order, but I either have to list friends first or last. Each year at Dallas seemed to introduce new people that would be in community with, but there are several people who remained constant and in hindsight, I will I had made friends a higher priority than I did. For now though, I’ll look forward to any opportunity I have to reconnect, and hopefully that’ll happen this year at ETS in Milwaukee (or if anyone wants to take advantage of our spare bedroom and visit us in Florida).
Being on campus at Dallas Seminary
The second year I was there I lived in Washington Tower (the single student housing) and thoroughly enjoyed reading out by the pool. Beyond that, I would often take walks around the perimeter and use it as a prayer time. For a campus located less than a mile from the core of downtown Dallas, the aesthetics of the landscaping easily helped you forget you were in an concrete jungle. When it wasn’t hot enough to bake cookies in the dashboard of your car, it was very relaxing and enjoyable to sit outside around campus and read.
Saturday nights at The Village Church
The second semester I was at Dallas, I started going to The Village Church and stayed there the rest of my time. When I first started going, we would go Saturday nights, sometimes with a crew from Criswell College and sometimes with students from Washington. When they opened the Dallas campus, they eliminated Saturday services, but by our final year in Dallas they had started them again at the main campus. Each week then we’d head up there and go to church and go out to eat (almost always at B.J.’s Brewhouse) with our friends Jason and Tiana afterward, which was more or less our community group during my last semester.
The Strip on Greenville Avenue
I’ve got a lot of memories eating out in this little area north of campus. Our favorite Dallas burrito place was there (Freebird’s), and Ali and I actually had our first pseudo-date (we were still technically friends) at the Chipotle around the corner. Later we’d frequent Plucker’s, our favorite Dallas wings place, and often while I was out teaching I end up getting some Chik-fil-a or Taco Bueno. Up round the corner was North Park Mall and Ali’s Panera was across the street from it. Not too long after we moved to Florida, an In-and-Out burger opened up next to the Chik-fil-a (and Chipotle, how’s that for a trifecta?) Did I mention there was an amazing Whole Foods just a little farther up the road?
Driving around Highland Park
Because I did it four nights a week, in a weird way I miss driving around Highland and University Park. I’m prone to like the late afternoon sun regardless, and there are certainly some nice stretches of road through those two neighborhoods. I also miss my weekly road trips out to Arlington down I-20, but I think I miss meandering around Highland Park going house to house to teach private music lessons more so (and definitely miss teaching some of my students!)
Working at Providence Music Academy
Which leads to the more general nostalgia for working with Roger and Jenn at Providence Music Academy (if you click thru, on the About page, I’m the weird looking guy on the far left, Roger and Jenn are third and fourth from the left respectively). I started there at the beginning of my second semester and stayed on right up until the bitter end. Right after my last lesson, we ate a Freebird’s burrito and drove through the night to Florida for good. It was a great way for God to provide financially for me through seminary, and I genuinely enjoyed working with the students I had as well as working for Roger and Jenn.
All the good burger places
Ok, so food is big in Dallas. A hole that has been left in our diet since moving to Florida is the reliable burger joint. In Dallas, we had Twisted Root (featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives), Burger House, SmashBurger, Whataburger, and right before we left got In-and-Out. In short, Dallas is a kind of burger place Mecca, and I’ve at least missed my weekly burger run (Ali, not so much, but a little)
Actual, albeit brief, seasonal changes
On the one hand, it is incredibly nice living in a perpetual state of summer. On the other hand, since I grew up in Tennessee, I do enjoy having a legitimate fall (which I tend to find inspiring). Dallas provided all four seasons, although summer was of course longer than the others. Still, we had a legitimate autumn which did even more for the seminary campus aesthetics, and while winter was gloomy, we did get snow sometimes. There’s also something about the onset of spring after a couple of months of grey-out that I miss out on here. But I suppose I should remind myself that I’m also missing out on the grey and gloom.
Living in the city
My first year in Dallas I lived in an apartment in the shadow of the Dallas skyline. The second year, I moved on campus, which was not much farther. The third year, with a wife in the mix, we moved out toward White Rock Lake. The fourth year found us back even closer to downtown, so much so that the interstate off-ramp practically into our parking garage. So, 75% of the time I had a view of the downtown skyline that overwhelmed the horizon. I spent many, many hours wandering around on the top deck of the parking lot talking on the phone and taking in the intensity of the view. Orlando’s skyline just doesn’t compete (nor does our neighborhood pool hold a candle to the pool at our last apartment).
The Seminary Experience
Lastly, there’s something to be said about missing being in seminary. My Ph.D plans are up in the air so I can’t say for sure I won’t end up having a seminary experience part 2, but at this point it doesn’t look that way. For now, I’ll miss being part of the seminary community as a student and being able to meet with professors, explore the library, and have almost total immersion in the educational pursuits. I remember a chapel where the speaker compared being at the seminary to being a boat anchored in harbor. Leaving was like moving out into the open waters, and that is a good way to explain what it feels like. It’s been adventurous for sure moving across the country and finding a job and I realize I can’t go back to the harbor. But at least I can recall what I learned there and will always look back on fondly on the opportunity I had.