The Where I Live series aims to showcase our diverse city and region by spotlighting its many vibrant neighborhoods. Each week a local resident invites us over and lets us in on what makes their neighborhood special. Have we been to your neighborhood yet? Get in touch to share your story.

Until about a year ago, I had lived with my dad on the Southeast Side of San Antonio. There, I grew up with the sound of Tejano music blasting and the smell of carne asada wafting from neighbors’ backyards on weekends. That was the San Antonio I knew and loved, and I know I’ll hold onto that no matter where I go. I’m incredibly grateful to have had my dad’s support while I attended college and started my career and blessed to now be in a place where I can go off on my own.

When my husband, Matt, and I were looking for our first home together, we wanted a house with some character in a neighborhood with just as much character. We weren’t interested in new developments with cookie-cutter houses. Proximity to the city center and a good taco spot were also key. Coming from the Southeast Side where taquerías are everywhere, I wasn’t going to move somewhere without good tacos.

We found our house in Los Angeles Heights-Keystone and were immediately sold. We loved the porch, the fireplace and the built-in shelves. We loved that it felt lived in, like an actual home. In the past year, we’ve really settled in, adding our own touches, decorating for holidays and taking on some projects. The next big one for me will be to plant a garden in the backyard. I don’t know much about gardening, but I’m excited to learn and see what I can grow.

Working — and in my case attending graduate school — from home, we’ve had to designate space in our home to allow for privacy and productivity. We’ve also had to make the effort to set that work-life balance that becomes more difficult when both happen in the same place. So, as much as we love our house, we do try to get out as much as we can.

Frida’s Taqueria down the street is my go-to for tacos and other Mexican dishes. We’re also near the Original Donut Shop, which is an institution in this area. For pan dulce and coffee, we’re within walking distance of Panaderia Jimenez, and it’s nice to wake up early and stop in before starting the workday.

It’s not in the Los Angeles Heights-Keystone neighborhood, but we are close enough to Woodlawn Lake to get out there quite often. We love taking walks there and seeing people of all ages and backgrounds enjoying the lake. On the way to the lake, there’s a house that we stumbled upon once where the people who live there have a pet parrot that can be seen in the yard when it’s nice out. I like walking by there and seeing the parrot out getting some fresh air.

Though it’s been harder to get to know our neighbors because of the pandemic, the NextDoor app has been helpful in keeping up to date on what’s happening in the neighborhood. There’s a good mix of older residents and younger families, and we’ve found everyone to be friendly and respectful. 

Our next-door neighbor is an older gentleman with whom we’ve built a good relationship. His dog likes to come over and play in our yard, and we make sure to look out for them both. I’ve also had great conversations with our neighbor across the street about our respective college experiences. As someone who works in higher education, I always appreciate hearing different perspectives that help inform how I help students make the most of their time in college.

Our part of the neighborhood is mostly quiet, but we do hear some neighbors playing their Tejano music on the weekends sometimes, which is a nice little reminder of home. Matt and I are so happy we found this house where we can start our life together and look forward to getting to know our neighborhood better.