Settling Down in Funky Town

View of downtown Funky Town from Gateway Park.  

Almost two years ago, I proudly added my second post to Fish Out of Texas, which proceeded to receive just one comment from a snarky friend.  “So, how’s that paper coming?”  I’m pretty certain I am not the first and far from the last person to hear those words….sometimes referred to as the academia hangover:  papers that don’t get done while you are in the lab and stubbornly linger and haunt you long after you have moved on.  I decided right then and there, I would not allow myself to blog again until that paper was submitted……and, after a year and a half, yes, the paper was submitted, and no, it has not been accepted.  Of course, once the paper was at least submitted, there was work and an advisory board to prepare for, or 30…..   Point is, this blog has been dormant for a long time. 

The lull in writing leaves me back in Texas for two years, fully adapted to life in Fort Worth aka Panther City, The FoWo, Funky Town, and starting to feel like a local again.  In my mind, it takes some time to embrace a new city, several months at least.  I love change, but by change, I mean, re-arranging the furniture or a fresh coat of paint.  Having lived here before, I was not expecting much of a transition, if any.  On the contrary, it was as though I had to take everything I’d adjusted to in Boston and completely reverse it.  Some examples below of comments on arrival in Boston in 2008 and corresponding comments upon moving back to Fort Worth in 2010. 

2008: Wait…so, you mean, walking 2 miles each way to work is faster than the bus or the T and even then I’m still walking at least half a mile each way?
2010:  I go from the house straight to the car in the garage, drive 40 miles in the car to an office parking garage, a short walk to my desk, 9 hours at my desk, then back totaling less than 2,500 total steps a day.  Woah…..maybe I can put a trainer in my office. 

2008: This cycling cue sheet has 50 miles broken into..... .2-.5 mile segments by turns? 
2010:  So, left on 1187 for 30 miles, then left again for another 50?!

2008:  I can eat ice cream outside in the summer?!  I can go for a run anytime during the summer?!
2010:  5:30 AM:  damn!  I missed the cool part of the day….I guess I’ll have to save that run for tomorrow. 

2008:  Why the hell are these $#! streets so small?!
2010:   I think we could drive 4 across on this neighborhood street….it’s so wide it looks like a highway. 

I was a little apprehensive about moving to Fort Worth.  I am a girl of extremes and so it goes with city size.  Love a big city, like a small town, but a mid-size city, I see as a place inferior to a big city, but with all the traffic and other hassles of a bigger city.  Additionally concerning was the lack of a large body of water, tall trees, and mountains. I’d settle for one of the three, but none is quite disconcerting.  Even more worrying was the lack of distinct seasons – yep, holding steady in the 80s during November can hardly be called “fall” in my eyes.  Yet, despite my worries and potential road blocks, Fort Worth turns out to be a fantastic place to live with something for everyone, and full of surprises. 

First of all, this is a fantastic biking city.  With two great mountain biking trails ever expanding, plenty of bike lanes, and a traffic free “trinity trail” to get you around the city, you can’t beat it.  Andy and I can ride from our doorstep downtown or even to one (soon to be two) mountain biking trails near the city primarily without venturing onto streets.  To top that off, there are always biking events happening – trail building days, group rides, rides to encourage children to adopt the sport, etc.      Take any given day of the spring, fall, and summer, and there are multiple rides from Mayor Betsy Price’s rolling town halls to bike shop sponsored weekly rides, to Tuesday Night Time Trials at Sansom or Gateway Parks.
Of course, the incredible cycling community here is just one aspect of the fun.  Nightlife is great, restaurants and food trucks are second to none, live music is fantastic, the cultural life is not too shabby, and downtown is actually a wonderful place to spend an afternoon and evening.  College football is even big here!  The city is clearly transitioning and in a good direction. 

So, for now, I will happily call this city home.  More to come….in hopefully less than two years!           


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