I didn’t want to live here. Of all the places that Andrew applied for his master’s program, Denton, TX was my last choice. And because that’s the way the universe works, everything lined up perfectly, making Denton the most logical choice. I’ve spent a good amount of time being bitter about living here. Not because this is a bad place to live by any means, it was just never where I saw myself. But it recently occurred to me how much I will miss certain things once we move to the next place, whenever and wherever that may be. It happened with Nashville. I was so ready to move on to the next adventure. I had no idea how homesick I would be after we left. So why not do my best to embrace the place I’m in?
During our holiday travels, I finished reading blogger Natalie Holbrook’s book, Hey Natalie Jean. She wrote a chapter where she described having a very similar experience: her husband opted to go to grad school in one of the last places she ever hoped to live. When she found herself unhappy in her surroundings, she began writing down things she loved about the place. That resonated with me. I want to be content. I want to find myself wherever I am.
So I’m writing love notes to my town.
Love Note to Denton | no.1
I love our location. When it comes to real estate, they say location is key, and I have to say, I agree. When we were apartment hunting, I had a sizable list of must-haves. Especially in light of the fact that I was moving to the last place I wanted to live, I knew I needed certain factors to be happy. You can call it high-maintenance, I call it self-awareness. I can be a vindictive little bugger if I try and internalize things. I’ve learned from experience that I need to head these things off before they have a chance to fester. If I’m upset about something, I better not bottle it up. It doesn’t make me a better person, it just makes me explosive. If I grin-and-bear-it, it will come out later in much more aggressive, unattractive way. I probably should just write a whole other post about How I Fight, because this has turned into a tangent, but suffice to say, I knew I needed to allow myself certain extravagances to hedge off the inevitable bitterness. If I was going to enjoy being in this town, we needed to be at the heart of it. When we found this tiny, almost-loft within three blocks of the town square, I knew we were talking.
I love that we don’t have to worry about parking, ever. There are so many festivals and Stars Hollow-esque goings on in the town Square, and it’s nice to never have to find a spot to park. We can walk to everything that’s worth walking to in this town. And we actually do. Out for drinks and dinner on a Friday night? No need to worry about a DD, we’re walking, suckers! Need to pick up Outlander on dvd because we aren’t savvy enough to find it free online? The library is just a couple of blocks and a stroll through the park away! Fill up a growler? Walk there. Need a DOUGHNUT CHICKEN SANDWICH, bro? Walk there. Need a fresh juice, any manner of cocktail, beer on tap, or heck, CHOCOLATE MILK ON TAP? Walk walk walk.
Last winter, Denton had a snow storm AND an ice storm. The entire town was shut down. We never felt isolated because we could walk to anything that was open. The best coffee in town can be found in the building next door to us. You could find me there, sipping a lavender latte, everyday of those storms. Once when we were out wandering around in the blinding whiteness, we ran into people we knew who were also mindlessly wandering. We grabbed a drink with them in an upstairs bar that overlooks the Eastern-Europe-esque courthouse, and soon felt warm and cozy.
This town feels much smaller than it is. At any given time, the Square is bustling and people are out walking. You run into people you know, or at least know by sight. While many of the new businesses opening up are hip, something about this town still feels old fashioned. And I like it.
Last week, Andrew and I were sick at home. And while it’s hard to find, there IS a limit to how much Mario Kart you can play and how much Breaking Bad you can watch. For some fresh air and exercise, we got out and walked around the Square, and through the park, and to the library. We also took some pictures, because that’s what I do. Please enjoy these pictures of my husband in his Sherlock coat, because I sure do.
Living in a choice location has gone a long way in my enjoyment of our time here, and I’m grateful. So Denton, I love your thriving and growing downtown, and I love that I live in the heart of it.