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I fell in love with San Antonio last summer when I was here on vacation. After spending four weeks in town, I could already imagine myself living here. I’ve always lived in the suburbs in California, and it was time for a change. My husband passed away five years ago, so I needed to leave the ghosts.

Encouraged by a friend, I went back to California after my vacation and immediately started planning my move. I looked for an apartment and sold everything that didn’t fit in my Honda Civic. By September 15, I was back in San Antonio permanently.

It might seem like I made the move on a whim, but I felt good about my decision. This city has great people, great food, and great music. According to the census data, nearly half a million single men live here, so that’s a lot of opportunity in my favor. San Antonio is also relatively safe from natural disasters compared to other cities in Texas, and there are neighborhoods that are completely walkable.

  • Bridget walks by the "Southtown" mural painted outside of Taco Haven on S Presa Street.
  • Bridget checks out some of the veggies planted in the Southtown Community Garden.
  • The Southtown Community Garden sits in a triangular lot between Presa, Sadie, and Eager streets.
  • A sidewalk pavement surrounding the Southtown Community Garden reads, "When my husband passed away I used to go to Fort Sam every day and she said, 'Mijita, YA! No lo dejas descansar. Dejalo Descansar." There are a few pavements with stories from anonymous people etched into them.
  • Bridget said she loves the fare at Rosario's Mexican cafe and cantina located on South Alamo Street.

I can walk around Lavaca and the surrounding neighborhoods with ease. There are chickens on one of the streets I walk on, and they go right up to you and let you pet them. Cats are everywhere, just vibing. That’s definitely new for someone from California, where cats would be snacks for the coyotes. As a single, older Gen X woman, I’m used to always being vigilant when out walking alone. But everyone has been so friendly, and I feel safe in my neighborhood. The river is just a short walk from my apartment. It’s not just the touristy River Walk downtown, but other stretches where you’ll actually find locals out for a walk or a jog. You can even rent a kayak, which is a lot of fun, and I look forward to doing that more.

I chose to live in Lavaca because of its walkability and proximity to Rosario’s. While on vacation, I went to Rosario’s after a suggestion from Google maps based on a restaurant I liked in California, and it did not disappoint. The Griselda’s tacos are amazing – so good I knew I had to live nearby so I could visit often. I like that I can go sit at the bar and have lunch and some drinks, chat with the bartenders, and watch some football. 

After the winter storm, when we were finally able to get out and walk around, I went to Rosario’s. They didn’t have any water, but they had Topo Chico, chicken, and tequila, and we made the best of it. That was a defining moment for me of what makes Texans unique. We go through things together and come out the other side together. It doesn’t matter if you’re left or right or what your party affiliation is. The resilience of Texans is a remarkable thing. And I feel like I can call myself a Texan now. I got my apartment, my license, my Texas tattoo, and I lived through that winter. I’m a Texan.

Though I luckily didn’t have to, I know I could have knocked on my neighbors’ doors during that week of the storm if I needed anything. It was a scary week for all of us, but seeing people coming together to help each other through it was a major reassurance that I made the right choice to move here. I don’t think the people in my former home in California would have responded to a crisis like that in the same way.

Though I still have a lot to explore in San Antonio, I’ve had so many little moments that have validated my move here. I remember one night I was out with a friend over by Bar America, and there was someone on the corner playing the guitar. We sat at the bus stop across the street, just listening to him play. It was wonderful. In that moment, I felt like I finally found my home. 

Bridget Willard is a marketing consultant and author who strives to empower small business owners.