Smorgasbord – Letters from America 1985 – 1987 – Homesickness, First Dinner Party, Huntsville State Park

Last week my letter home to my parents shared our new car, our new permanent address and trips to Galverston and Houston Zoo.

You can find previous posts in this directory:

Dear M & D

At last it is a beautiful day and I can take full advantage of the sunshine on our balcony. It is 8.30 in the morning and with a bit of luck, I should get 2 hours of sun before it moves behind the block.

Our first dinner with our neighbours went very well on Saturday night. Vicki is having a baby and her husband Kelly is a former rodeo rider. They are a really nice couple and Vicki and I met down by the pool where we both ended up sitting the only table under and umbrella. They may not be here for long, as Kelly now works for an oil company, and may be going to Shreveport but I hope it won’t be for a while. Their baby is due in a month or so.

I am loving it here but I do feel a little homesick. Things are very different and although we have lived in so many countries as a family, it is more daunting without that support. David is great of course but is away for at least two to three days during the week, and so I do feel nervous about going out in the car and finding my way around. Having lost my hire car for three hours that first week, when I could not remember which entrance of Greenspoint Mall I had used, I have been making double sure to park close to an entrance and write down which store I am entering into.

After our Driving Test experience, I am paranoid about being tailed by the Highway Patrol police on their motor bikes. They look very intimidating, not like our police at home who don’t carry guns. Anyway, I have made myself go out at least every two to three days to the supermarket of the discount fashion mall.. Only looking there of course!! Mollie you would love all the jackets and their prices… Father look away!

Yesterday being Sunday we had a lie-in and then headed off to Huntsville State Park about 30 miles away. It reminded me of Tokai Forest and Ceres in South Africa where we went for weekends. Here they have wood built shelters that you can stay in overnight, with a BBQ built with bricks outside. It is right on the lake so there are water sports and swimming.

We followed the hiking trail through the forest for a while, but we have yet to get some proper lightweight walking boots. To be honest I would be happier being encased in leather boots (make that from top to toe). The trouble is that last week at Houston Zoo, we saw all the venomous snakes of the region on display. Apparently, they usually get out of your way when they hear you coming. Having met quite a number of ‘snakes in the grass’ in my time, I have a sneaking suspicion that I attract them.

My diet continues with the threat of swimming and baring all in a swimsuit on the horizon. Although the portions in the restaurants are enormous and so tempting, there is a much wider selection of fresh fruits and vegetables here in the supermarkets than at home.

There are also a large number of prepared dishes called TV dinners that we do not have in the UK. Aisles of them along with sauces and 10 different types of mayonnaise with packets of flavourings to use with (ground beef) mince beef, which seems to be very popular. It would be so easy to fall into bad habits. However, although I am walking in the malls (there are no pavements between here and the shops so you have to drive) I am not getting enough exercise. Which is why I am looking forward to going swimming soon. I am sticking to a big salad at lunchtime… with only homemade balsamic and olive oil dressing, and then we eat chicken or fish with vegetables most nights.

We have found a restaurant however, that might undo all my hard work. Pappasitos down the I-45 Freeway where we have been introduced to fajitas and margeritas amongst other delicious Mexican foods.. It is tempting to be in there every weekend but we have bought the teguila and makings for the cocktail and only visit every couple of weeks. I am also experimenting with a special rub for steak and you can buy tasty fajitas in the supermarket. Will practice before you come for your holiday with us later in the year.

We are planning a trip to Corpus Christi for next weekend whilst the hotel rates are still good. 150 miles of beaches to explore. I will tell you all about that next time.

Well that’s about it for now. I hope you are both keeping fit and well, spring should be around the corner for you too soon. Will write again in a week or sooner if anything exciting happens.

All our love as always. Sally and David.

©Sally Cronin 2018

I hope you have enjoyed my trip down memory lane…….I would love your feedback as always. Thanks Sally


36 thoughts on “Smorgasbord – Letters from America 1985 – 1987 – Homesickness, First Dinner Party, Huntsville State Park

  1. Pingback: Letters from America – The Militant Negro™

  2. Pingback: Smorgasbord – Letters from America 1985 – 1987 – Homesickness, First Dinner Party, Huntsville State Park | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  3. I am loving you stories of America Sally.. the incredible differences the familiar things we are used like motorcycle cops with guns and of course Malls which we simply were not used to in those days of the British High Street and not being able to walk to the shops. Although that is all changing here now! Recently I saw that we now have Denny’s it just opened in Swansea… it seems almost unimaginable. Your letters are a real time capsule. Love Paul xxx

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  4. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Sitting Round Up – Amazing contributors taking care of the blog in my absence. | Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life

  5. I love reading these letters, Sally! It’s a fun throwback to my adolescent years, and very interesting to read about American foods from your point of view. TV dinners were a rare but exciting thing in my house growing up because although they were not tasty, eating in front of the TV sure was a treat 🙂

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