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.
I was born and raised in San Antonio. My dad, a Fox Tech alum, and my mom, a transplant from Rio Grande City, made a home for us in Leon Valley and later in the Braun Station area. Until I left for college, it was the only city I had ever known. I always assumed that I would return home after college in nearby Austin to start my career. As it turns out, my path home would be much longer, and my return home more meaningful.
After college, I moved to New York City in 2002. I had the privilege of serving families and communities for 15 years as a social worker. I got married in 2015 and my husband, Jodie, and I welcomed our son, Patrick, in 2016. It was at that time that I started to think about moving back to San Antonio where most of my family resides. In fall of 2017, we took the plunge and I have had the joy of rediscovering the hometown I left for 20 years through the eyes of my child.
Growing up, my extended family would take turns hosting different holidays. The Aradillas family hosted Christmas, my parents took on New Year’s Eve, but many of our family events were held at the Maldonado home. As a kid, I was thrilled because they had an in-ground pool in their backyard! We spent a lot of holidays and long hours in the South Texas sun in that pool. It was just a cool place to be and I still long for my Aunt Isabel’s deviled eggs on Easter Sunday.
My husband, son and I reside in a neighborhood called The Vineyard, located just north of Loop 1604 between Blanco and Huebner Roads. When I was a kid, this part of town was not as developed, and I had never been to the area. However, fate had different plans for us, as a family friend was selling her house at the exact time we were looking to buy one. I took the same approach to house shopping as I did for my wedding dress — I wanted it to bring me immediate joy, and that is exactly what happened when I visited The Vineyard.
The neighborhood is vibrant and buzzing on most days with people walking their dogs, joggers getting in their miles, and kids in cul-de-sacs playing with sidewalk chalk. My son attends Vineyard Ranch Elementary where we were fortunate enough to enroll in their dual language program that we love and are so grateful for. I am a proud member of the Vineyard Ranch PTA and so impressed with the incredible amount of organizing it does on behalf of our neighborhood and other schools in the district.
Patrick’s favorite local spot is longtime favorite Jim’s Restaurant, where he always orders their silver dollar pancakes with bacon. Jodie enjoys going to Kennedy’s Pub to throw darts and sing karaoke. I prefer ordering from Demo’s or having a margarita at El Mirasol.
While our neighborhood boasts of many local businesses that I frequent along with great amenities, the place I love most in my neighborhood is my home. Having never owned a home before, I knew that I wanted to cultivate a space of belonging, a place where people felt welcome and cared for. Just last week we threw a surprise party for a dear friend, and I am already planning play dates by the pool as it gets warmer.
Earlier, I referred to my aunt and uncle’s pool where we spent countless holidays and made long-lasting memories that I continue to cherish. Now, it is my time to host family parties with oversized bouncy houses and heavy piñatas overflowing with candy, all while gathering around the pool on a sweltering summer day. As we raise our family here, I hope that our family and friends will have the same warm memories that I was so lucky to have as a kid growing up in San Antonio.