by Kyle Westfall
We met at grad school in Kentucky and had our first date in New Orleans while separately visiting our families. She told me on our first date that, if I had any intention of marrying her, I should get used to the idea of moving to Tulsa, because that’s where she was going to end up. A couple dates later, these are the things she promised I’d get if I moved to Oklahoma:
- Great skies. She told me the song is true, “OOOOk-lahoma, where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain, and the wavin’ wheat can sure smell sweet, when the wind comes right behind the rain. OOOOk-lahoma, ev’ry night my honey lamb and I, sit alone and talk and watch a hawk makin’ lazy circles in the sky.” Granted, it’s rare that we sit outside and watch hawks circle the sky (although she is quick to point them out to me), but one of the things I love is that nearly every sunrise and sunset is spectacular, and the blue skies in between are so clear and deep that it’s easy to forget the realities of the temperature that accompanies them.
- It’s not like on Friends. My only knowledge of Tulsa came from the few episodes of Friends when Chandler relocates for his job. According to the show, Tulsa has no good restaurants, everyone smokes in office buildings, and they’re all pretty mean. First, Tulsa has amazing restaurants. My limited northern Indiana palette has been exposed to so many different types of food that simply weren’t an option in my small hometown. Second, obviously people smoke here, but, I don’t sit in a cloud of smoke in my office. Third, most of the people I meet are terribly friendly. Everyone in our neighborhood waves when they drive past, people say “hi” when I’m running on the river trails, and no matter how long you’ve been here, it seems that people are genuinely happy to have you around.
- Allergies will attack me. What is it with this place? I have allergy issues I’ve never had before and they’re year ‘round, folks. If you’re reading this and you’re getting ready to move to Oklahoma, buy stock in Benadryl.
- Heat. Let me start by saying that I’m from far northern Indiana. If our summer temperatures reached 89 degrees, it was the end of the world. Not until I moved to Tulsa did I experience a true temperature in the triple digits. Mercy, it gets hot here. (She allowed me one year of complaining about the weather when we moved here and wouldn’t you know it, record low temperatures that summer.)
- Green Country. I had no idea what Green Country was. Frankly, I didn’t even know where in Oklahoma Tulsa was. My only time in Oklahoma before 2009 was a quick visit to some cousins in Edmond in 1988 or so. All I could picture in my head were red dirt plains with tumbleweeds blowing across constantly. I was so pleasantly surprised when I saw how many tree-lined streets and shady natural areas there were in Tulsa. I came from an area with flat farmland, so being in this lush and rolling landscape is a daily adventure.
- Tulsa is amazingly affordable. Besides the low-cost housing stock and cheap gas, even things like groceries and memberships to places like the Tulsa Zoo and Oklahoma Aquarium are great values. We consistently hear from friends in comparably- sized cities about their monstrous grocery budgets or how much it costs them to go to a zoo or museum, let alone how much their similarly-sized house costs them. I won’t even go into the amazing area parks and trails systems, the number of public pools and splash pads (I didn’t even know what a splash pad was), the accessibility of great sporting events, and how you can be out in unmarred nature in minutes.
You’re doin’ fine Oklahoma.
Kyle Westfall is the Communications Director at FUMC-Tulsa. He’s a small-town suburbanite who loves coming to downtown Tulsa for work each day. He fell in love with an Okie who became his wife and gave him two boys and has a daughter on the way.