Texas is a very interesting place. Since we are close to Dallas, there aren't beaches or mountains, so I'm not really sure what to do here, even on the weekends when Tommy isn't working. One day, our first week here, I decided to take a walk. There is a mall pretty close to our hotel, so I've gone there a few times to spend time/give myself something to do. Anyway, I thought there was another mall close to where we are staying, so I decided to walk there. It wasn't a mall, it was just a shopping center, so I decided to keep on walking to explore, in hopes of reaching a mall (besides the one I already knew about). I ended up walking for three hours in the heat, which was probably somewhere around 7 miles, and getting slightly lost (not completely, but I didn't want to backtrack). That day, I was very grateful for the shade. And I did get very sunburned. My feet were also very tired.
We have been going to a ward at church with a Chinese Group, so most of the meetings are in Chinese, and they have interpreters for Sacrament Meeting. We meet at the same time as the ward, but in the Relief Society room. Anyone in the Dallas mission can come to this ward if they are attending the Chinese Group.
I applied for my Texas teaching license early because my Washington one took so long to get, but Texas was really fast. Our first Sunday we went to the ward that our boundaries are in, and I was able to find a ride from someone in that ward from an email group. It was really nice of her to take me, but I haven't seen her since, and I think she has moved to Utah by now, which is where her husband is from. Anyway, I applied to all of these districts and positions here, but I haven't even received one phone call, and school starts on Monday, so I don't think I will be having a full-time teaching job here.
(Speaking of licenses, I'm rather excited because I found out I can apply to a lifetime teaching certificate in New Jersey. This is good news because it means that I can have a license that will never expire. I've been thinking about and wanting a lifetime certificate for a while, and yesterday I did a little bit of research and found out New Jersey offers them. I'm not kidding that I'm excited about this. It's helpful in case I ever want to take a break from teaching or we move out of the country at some point- I don't have to worry about keeping it up/maintaining one. This makes it much easier for applying for a teaching license in pretty much any other state since expiring licenses is bad news. They make a lot of trouble to get back- with my mom, she worked probably 8 years to get hers and get highly qualified status back, which is crazy. Which is painful to her because at the time, she didn't know WA had a lifetime certificate as well, so if she'd had that, she wouldn't have had all this other mess. I am learning from her mistakes and trying to avoid that mess!)
I have had two interviews in Washington, however. One I flew back for, and I would have been working on the same team as Sarah's first grade teacher. They didn't call me back, though, so someone else nailed that interview. Then, on Friday, I had another interview but I didn't really want to spend $500 just to interview again, so we did it over FaceTime. If I get that position, I should be hearing back probably today (or maybe tomorrow, but I think today). I knew for the other job that I wasn't going to get it- it wasn't pessimism, I just had the thought that it wasn't going to be for me, and that feeling was right. For this one, I know the interview went a little bit better (ironically, since it was over FaceTime), but I'm not really sure. Meanwhile, we're waiting to hear back about 2 job interviews for Tommy, as well as a position approval at TMobile. So we might end up staying here in Texas for a while, we could end up back in Washington with one of the jobs, or somewhere else for the other one. I'm just glad that things are falling into place because we have been praying for a full-time position for Tommy for a very very long time. As for me, I can work anywhere, and while I prefer not to sub, it is still a possibility for me. (Ironically, the TMobile headquarters are about 20 minutes away from where my parents live and we drove all the way to Texas for this.) It's been really hard the past year, but we've been okay and had a lot of help and support from others, especially my parents. On Sunday I read this article and it was really helpful and applicable to our job situation. So I made that our home evening lesson for Monday.
For my birthday, we got tickets to Six Flags. I guess I have always wanted to go, and I told Tommy, "How can you live in Texas and not go to Six Flags?!" It was pretty fun, although we ended up only going on one roller coaster because the lines for all of them were so long. We went on 8-10 rides, though, so that's pretty good for the day. We had fun, and after we got back to the hotel we went out to dinner to a real Texas bbq place. It was pretty good. We sat at the bar because there wasn't any seating anywhere else, and they didn't even card us! I was surprised, but also excited. (Not like we drink, anyway.)
Overall, Texas is rather boring and fairly hot (although it's mostly bearable), but the people here are really friendly- unless they are in their cars. People are really aggressive drivers here. It's kind of crazy. It's also crazy how all the main roads are about 6 lanes because they have 3 lanes going in each direction...with a median in the middle. So there are lots of places to U-Turn, which is fairly helpful.
My sister Sarah was in Texas with her friend for a month, staying with the friend's grandma. As fate would have it, we ended up in the same city. So it was fun because we got to do things with the girls a few times, spend time with people we know, and explore Texas together a little bit.
We are pretty close to the temple here, which is a good thing, (20-30 minute drive), and I must say it's prettier in person than looking at it from the pictures. It's one of the 3 with the slanty roof (Las Vegas and Boise are the other two).
That's pretty much the scoop of our lives. The most exciting thing is watching job opportunities finally unfold for Tommy. I'm rooting for a specific one, but I won't say what it is. (And I haven't mentioned what the others are, anyway.) But it's exciting to know that we're finally going to be settled in a little while.