by Carol Sokolsky
“Tulsa, Oklahoma?? Why are you moving to Tulsa?” is the question I was asked many times during 2014, as I spoke of my upcoming move. You see, I’d lived in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, for almost 33 years after my career led me there in the early 80’s. Pittsburgh was home. It’s where my son grew up, where I met my husband, and where I thought we’d grow old together.
That dream came to an abrupt stop in April, 2012, when I lost my husband – the love of my life – to cancer, though that is another story for another time. Just know that when your life takes a detour, sometimes it takes you to places you never dreamed you’d go (especially at that point in time). But sometimes you just have to follow your heart, and mine was leading me to Tulsa.
Flashback: In 1975, my sister married her college sweetheart – a Tulsa guy – and off she went to follow her heart. We have no other siblings; it’s just the two of us from a little Indiana town. I remember the night she left. I wondered sadly how often I would get to see my baby sister. Remember, it was 1975! No one flew much back then, so we drove to Tulsa twice a year. (Coming from a town with a population of 3,500, Tulsa was a big city!) A few years later, I moved to Pittsburgh with my young son, and fell in love with the city. However, soon after my Dad passed away in 1985, my Mom packed up, left Indiana, and also made Tulsa her home! Now my mom, my sister and her growing family – and her extended family – lived in Tulsa. T-Town gradually began to feel like “home”.
Fast forward a bit. By December 2013 I’d decided life was too short not to retire early, so I took the plunge! Little did I know the ride I was about to experience. I had missed many precious moments with my family over the years and did not want to miss another one. In one of my visits in 2014 I found the perfect townhouse, and before I knew it, it was September and I was here…a Tulsa homeowner, with an Oklahoma driver’s license. Yes, I’ve even voted as an Oklahoma resident! I’m officially an Okie!
“Tulsa, Oklahoma? What makes Tulsa so special?” Yes, I am still asked this by friends who have never visited my fair city. So I created my top ten list on “Why Tulsa?” As I explore my new city, I am falling in love with Tulsa more every day. From a newcomer who feels like I’ve been here forever, here are the reasons I love this place.
Top Ten Reasons: ‘WHY TULSA, OKLAHOMA?
9. Despite all the complaints I’ve heard about the cold, nasty winter, there is no winter here! An inch of snow and a little sleet does not a winter make!…Just sayin’…
8. Easy-peasy road system grid! (Have you ever driven in the Pittsburgh, PA, “bowl-of-pasta” grid?)
7. Friendly people with awesome accents! I now realize that school is a two-syllable word.
6. Gluten-free is available everywhere! How cool is it to be able to go eat bagels or pizza anytime I want? Nope – not readily available everywhere in all cities! Being a foodie – Tulsa rocks!
5. Blue skies are the norm…. life is sweet when the suns shines almost everyday! (If you live east, you rarely see the sun during the winter, making for cranky people by spring – trust me!)
4. There are amazing, unique coffee shops everywhere! This should really be rated as my number one answer since I’m such a coffee-holic, but alas, I have three better reasons.
3. I can eat insanely good Mexican food everyday if I choose – and should I decide on the many other food genre options, I can find myself in Brookside, Cherry Street, Utica Square, Downtown – to name a few – for a fabulous meal, often with eclectic or cultural ambiance. Love it!
2. I found a home in First United Methodist Church – with people who prayed and loved all over my husband and me for years prior – people that love God and each other, and who never stop showing it. I immediately felt connected, and that’s hard to do in any church as a newcomer. Thankful.
And my number one answer to “WHY TULSA?’ is:
1. I’m finally HOME – with my precious FAMILY, whom I’m enjoying more than they’ll ever know – out and about in the fabulous WEATHER, eating yummy MEXICAN FOOD with every GLUTEN FREE option, and then a great cup of COFFEE afterwards, served by beautiful people with my favorite ACCENT, because it’s the accent of my family…
I’ve fallen in love with this beautiful city called Tulsa. Thank you for loving me back!
Carol Sokolsky is a newcomer to Tulsa. She relocated from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in October, 2014 after retiring from FedEx Services, Global Account Management. She spent most of her 33 FedEx years as a road warrior, leading a large global management team and serving one global customer for over 20 years. Her passion for blogging began in 2010 as she launched a two-year blog that chronicled the journey of her husband’s valiant fight with cancer and ultimately the end of his journey. Her blog became a book, “Sid’s Journey”. She continues to journal daily on just about everything!