Wednesday, 13 August 2014


At SHSU; on the walk between David's building and mine

As promised to various friends and family members, thus begins my blog from Huntsville, Texas.

We've been here since July 28, so I thought that now would be a good time to give some first, overall impressions. There are several ways that I could do this (lists, categories, day-by-day description), but I think that the best way to do this is to describe our first Sunday at an Episcopal church.

David and I arrived in trepidation, as this was our first "real" time in public in Huntsville where we were actually going and intending to talk to people. Our first experiences with meeting people in College Station six years ago (other than meeting people from the university) were pretty negative (David had long hair), so we had very low expectations.

We were immediately welcomed at the door by the rector and various greeters, and after they gave us the usual overview of the church and asked us questions about ourselves. After we sat down, people kept coming over to us an introducing themselves and asking us friendly questions. During the "peace" (the time in Episcopal services where we shake hands with people and say some version of "Peace be with you"), I think that half of the church came over to shake hands with us. It lasted an incredibly long time. In the words of David, "I think that everyone is attempting to greet every other person in the building."

After the service, someone swept us along to a room where they had refreshments and tables. For the next hour, David and I were approached by nearly everyone in the church, and they engaged us in friendly conversation, told us about various projects (church and non-church, when they discovered we were employed at the university), and called in other people who they knew in our various departments to come and talk to us. We were invited to lunch by a bunch of people, invited to all of the extracurricular church activities, and could not even leave the building without being walked out in conversation with others.

The rector called us during the week to invite us to more things and to ask us how things were going with our unpacking venture.

This has been our experience in Huntsville so far. Our experience with university folk (staff and professors and administrators alike) has also been extremely positive. No one anywhere in town has given me an angry look for wearing a Delaware t-shirt or for not saying "Howdy" (there have been no "Howdy"s here, thank goodness).

To conclude, here are some reports:

Cat report: JVJ loves all of the windows and cupboards and closets. I think he's especially happy that he can sit on the floor to look out every window (he's taken to tapping one of the blinds such that it allows him to just peek through).

Katie report: though I was lately in bookshelf purgatory (I am the furniture-assembler), I have now emerged on the other side. There are still a few boxes under my jurisdictions which are only half-unpacked, but we're mostly there. So far I have seen no dangerous insects/spiders. I am far behind on my course planning, but in my defense the person I need to speak with before I can proceed is a phone-only person (who has been away from his phone).

David report: David has cataloged all of the new books and assembled our library. He has been diligently working on his syllabus for weeks (no one should be surprised at this).

Weather report: Hot and humid. No wind.

Overall, our experience here has been four-thumbs and two-paws up.

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