As most of my friends and family know, I'm moving to Durham next month and traveling before that. I'll post about these trips (on this woebegone blog in dire need of updating), but FIRST! What will I miss about Dallas? Here's my personal list of what will make it tough to leave The Big D (insert joke here if you must) behind.
5. Kings Spa -- AHHHH... OUCH... ahhhhhhhh... zzzzzz
Kings Spa, the zany, confoundingly decorated epitome of Korean cleanliness in Dallas's Korea Town; the place where you will live your nightmare of being naked in public, burn yourself on the hot stones, wear the least flattering shade of orange invented by man, get scrubbed in your nether regions by a tiny lady in a bra and pantie set using a bristle pad, hear three different languages, and generally have a great day. This spa-waterpark-wonderland is so deliciously strange, there's no way I couldn't put it first on this list. As a side note, my skin has never been as soft and healthy as when I started going every two weeks for a "seshin," or cleansing session.
Bonus points if you fall asleep in a hot room and figure out how those ladies wrap those tiny towels on their heads.
4. Bastille Day -- la joie de l'ete
Did you know that Oak Cliff was originally a French settlement called La Reunion? Well, now you know. The long and the short of it is that these lovely French folks decided to build a utopian society off the Trinity River, which was all a grand idea until they got here and realized: 1) It's hot. For evidence of that, see man in the homemade pool above. 2) The soil is hella terrible. 3) It's hard to have utopia in heat and drought -- both tend to make even the gentlest people pretty miserable. So back they went. The oligarchy of France was better than Texas summer... that's how rough the weather is here.
BUT.... they left us Bastille Day! Or, at least enough French history to allow us to celebrate it without being total poseurs. I am always proud of Dallas on Bastille Day. We wear our best French-inspired outfits, glug rich reds in the heat, party, eat Jambon-Beurre, and have some glorious times, ignoring the sweat and our purpled teeth. Drunken skips through that fountain help. If only La Reunion-ers had access to a hose, ice machine, and a tin pool, they may have stayed.
3. Tacos Chanos -- los tacos de la calle estan PERFECTO
Many (many... many...) moons ago, some friends and I went in search of the perfect street taco. And while other Taquerias have longer lines and more famous names (el si hay... cough cough...) I would look no further than Tacos Chanos to make your Mexican food dreams come true. Well, if you're me, I guess. One odd personality trait I inherited from my mother: I love pickled vegetables. Beets, dilly beans, kimchi, cucumbers, ginger.... and carrots, the latter of which I have only found at Tacos Chanos. They hand make their own pickled jalapenos, carrots, and celery with a bit of fresh thyme thrown in, and the crunch is SO satisfying with street tacos it almost convinces you that you've eaten healthily. Add homemade horchata, fresh key limes, onions, and cilantro along with some major al pastor game, and you have yourself a damn fine meal, my friends. Not many can handle how far Tacos Chanos is from the typical Tex-Mex experience, and that's exactly why I like it.
2. Proximity to Fort Worth -- the secretly superior sister town
Sorry y'all (actually not sorry at all), Fort Worth is just better than Dallas. Though it lacks racial diversity (and that part is admittedly kinda strange), nearly everything else about Fort Worth makes it a superior place to live. Traffic is not as problematic. It's more walkable. People are generally nicer. TCU has a more fun student body than SMU (don't kill me, we all know it's true). The art museums are superior. Housing is less expensive. It's even hillier and prettier and has FREE botanical gardens in the heart of town. I'll kinda miss Dallas, but I really miss Funky Town.
1. My people -- the only real reason to live anywhere
I've told this story at least ten times recently, but it bears repeating: I did not want to move away from the Carolinas in 2008. I desperately wanted to stay, but national economic insecurity and the general directionlessness of being 22 left me feeling powerless to do anything else but drive back to Texas. I cried nearly all 16 hours. But once I got here, I made new friends, got a fantastic first copywriting job, learned a trade, started a business, and grew. I have had so many bosses, colleagues, boyfriends and best friends I wouldn't have had if I'd stayed. So, many thanks to them. I am better, or at least stronger, for having known you.
And now, I get to go home. See you on the other side of this wild rumpus.