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Old 11-06-2009, 05:41 PM
 
2,743 posts, read 5,724,264 times
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I just moved down to McAllen and had found information on the city and Rio Grande Valley in general to be pretty scarce, outside of long-winded posts ranting about culture shock and arguments about it being a bad place to live.

I am no expert, but I would likmee to share my initial reactions and thoughts on at least McAllen, in the hope that someone else relocating to the area can get some pointed information.

First off, McAllen really isn't all that big, despite being the largest city in the area. It isn't small, but if you are coming from San Antonio, Austin or a place of that size, this is like a big town. I tell my relatives it is a small city. Lots of sprawl and plenty of shopping. Not upscale *****, but there are countless shopping areas, outlet malls, malls, discount stores, department stores...the only thing that might be lacking is high end shopping, but that is really not going to be an issue unless you only shop at Nordstroms and Crate and Barrel.

I hope you like tacos because the most common food item in most areas restaurants is the beloved taco. Tacos of all kinds, shapes and sizes, but that is to be expected near the border I suppose. You can also find other food, just like anywhere else, but Mexican food is very popular as you might imagine.

The fall weather is beautiful, dry, sunny and nice warm days and refreshingly cool nights.

The people are pretty reserved but friendly as well. You won't meet more rude people here than you would anywhere else...and as a matter of fact, if you meet people on a personal level I would venture to say they are very understanding and helpful towards people not from the area and happy to show you around and the local ways of doing things.

I think it comes down to your personal attitude and outlook on life as to how you do down here. If you are positive and can see not only the bad but also the good in any situation, you will be fine here.

If anyone has any specific questions feel free to contact me and I would be happy to answer based on my limited experience as a newbie.

Good luck y'all.
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Old 11-06-2009, 06:54 PM
 
Location: Houston
2,257 posts, read 3,011,155 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelito23 View Post
I think it comes down to your personal attitude and outlook on life as to how you do down here. If you are positive and can see not only the bad but also the good in any situation, you will be fine here.

If anyone has any specific questions feel free to contact me and I would be happy to answer based on my limited experience as a newbie.

Good luck y'all.
Well excuse me if I'm opening a can of worms, but that's just it. From what I've encountered, the people who move there aren't looking for any type of glitz, glamor or extras (in Texas we have Dallas, Houston and maybe Austin for that and for America we've got NYC, SF, etc.--just a "semi-American" lifestyle and perhaps a long, long vacation from Mexico (or wherever they came from). I tried to explain to my ex-boyfriend that a big-ass mall is quite a short stick for relatively measuring quality of life, because they're everywhere.
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:16 PM
 
Location: #
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It has been my experience, including my own that if you are from a major city in the United States and move to the Valley, you will not like it. There's no diversity, little nightlife outside of ***** bars and high school football and although the people from the Valley are rather nice, the nationals who visit are extremely rude. Public schools are sub par (although the Charters are outstanding), everything is far away and the nice areas are few and far between. It is extremely difficult to attract top level business talent to the Valley, thus it is extremely difficult to attract business in general. If you are a native of the Valley and get an education at UTPA (which is a pretty decent school) or elsewhere and you decide to return to the Valley, your options are teach or be a supervisor at a call center. Oh, and if you aren't bilingual, olvidalo, guey!
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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I am actually from Miami, you don't get much more diverse or major than that. I love my home town, but there are trade offs anywhere...and I think you know what you are getting when coming to McAllen or the Valley. People realize this isn't Dallas or Houston.

I think you can be happy here if you have a decent job lined up. If you just move here sight unseen and have no prospects or contacts, you are right, you will have a limited, low-paying job choice at call centers and the like.

People trash this area and say there is no nightlife, I just disagree. The Art Walk is an option, there is downtown with all the bars, clubs and lounges, either on 17th or Main, I don't know the name of that strip yet. There are movie theaters. South Padre is nearby. So is Mexico. Plenty and I mean PLENTY of restaurants. I mean what is it that you could do in other cities that you can't do here at night? There may not be the shear number of options like in Miami, but you know that the array of choices is going to be limitied outside of a major city in the first place.

Here, the people are very friendly and nice. Tons of compassion, interest and just good natured attitudes. Yes, there are some rude people like anywhere, but if you are a person that lets the few bad apples ruin the bunch, you won't be happy anywhere, not just here. Yes, I agree, knowing Spanish is important because it allows you to interact and be part of a biculutral area...so that is a factor too. Not knowing Spanish will limit meaningful contact for sure, but that is just an obstacle, it isn't an insurmountable wall.

The Valley certainly does have its pitfalls, but my point is, if you have a job lined up before coming here, you can *adapt* to life here. You CAN be happy and enjoy your time here. Yes, the Valley is far from most places, but there are 3 airports with direct, hour long flights to any major city in Texas. There are expressways out of here. Mexico is right there. So is the beach.

If you embrace the local culture and what the area offers, and take the time to accept it for what it is and appreciate it, you will be fine. I was afraid too at first being so far from "home" and coming to a small city...but it is so easy to get around, life seems less complicated, you are in and out of stores quickly, there is more warmth in people and even sincerity...I just don't see how someone from a big city WON'T be impressed by that.

If your happiness is dependant on having the Washington Mall or NYC's Broadway at your door, you won't be happy here, but then again, you wouldn't be happy being anywhere but those two places. The Valley is like any other suburban, sunbelt area of it's size except that it is much more Hispanic and has a unique Tex-Mex culture...but there is a saying, when a freshwater fish swims to the sea...who has to adapt, the freshwater fish or the salt water sea life? Same principal here. It's all about your attitude.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
894 posts, read 1,921,815 times
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I'm from Houston and I like several things about McAllen. Enough that I could conceivably retire there. It's got fab weather of course - nearly tropical winters. Also, it's just that right size that you can find everything you need usually but don't have megacity ills.

A real cool thing I discovered about 10 years ago and have took advantage of ever since is that it is a bus hub on the US border to just about all the significant Mexican cities. You can drive or fly to McAllen and then take Mexican owned buses from McAllen or neighborhing Reynosa Mexico to any Mexican city you want on airconditioned Mercedes Buses with movies (!) for rediculously low prices geared to Mexican salaries and subsidized gasoline prices.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:31 AM
 
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Yeah I saw that bus terminal and was like wow, I have never seen such a luxerious bus terminal in my life! It was on par with a modern airport terminal...it was impressive. The airport is also very efficient, that is a pro of not having a hub airport, I actually went to pick up a friend visitng me and I didn't even get charged for parking since I was in and out in less than a half hour. Pretty nice change.
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Old 11-10-2009, 11:38 AM
 
Location: Bastrop Texas (Lost Pines)
185 posts, read 277,839 times
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I'm glad you like it here Chelito23. I came down here about 12 years ago mas o menos. And I used to live in OKC, Dallas, Houston, Austin, & San Antonio, so originally I thought it was too country and little for me. My dad and his side of the family are from down here, thats why I came orginally, just a Christmas visit..........................now that I have been down here, it feels like home, I constantly try to decide if I should move back to a real city, and be in real America, but have stayed.

As far as the night life goes, there are plenty of clubs, besides the ones in downtown McTown. What I like about down here, its all Hispanic so the culture is a Hispanic one. Very little traffic on 83, 281, 77, you can drive on the expressways anywhere in the valley without all the stop and go congestion in huge cities. What I like most though, is there is a lot of land down here, you can drive out of the city, and you can see all kinds of foods growing, I go get watermelons, onions, oranges, grapefruits, chiles right out of the fields. You can cruise around on country roads at peace, then go back to the rat race in downtownland all with a different perspective.

I go to UTPA, almost got my engineering degree, my wife goes to, she'll be a middle school math teacher in August '10. STC has like 5 campuses now, they went from 1,000 students around 11 or 12 years ago, to about 23,500 this semester. In the last 4 years alone, tons of businesses have come to the valley making it a more viable option to raise a family and not want to go somewhere else more fun or whatever. Oppurtunities are becoming more and more plentiful for the average Jose, or Joe, or Josephina. Now when I came down here to visit back in the 80's and 90's, there was nothing here, just a bunch of farms, and drug kingpins.

The Rio Grande Valley has become a much much better place to live and raise a family than it used to be. I am glad you have something good to say about the Rio Grande Valley, McAllen and the good people who live here, thanks for that, and welcome, and good luck.
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Old 11-12-2009, 10:26 AM
 
Location: Houston
2,257 posts, read 3,011,155 times
Reputation: 1516
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chelito23 View Post
but there is a saying, when a freshwater fish swims to the sea...who has to adapt, the freshwater fish or the salt water sea life? Same principal here. It's all about your attitude.
That's a curious little saying, but by the same token, couldn't the same be said for McAllen....which is in the US?

In any case, on both ends, it's important to understand that based on cultural and urban differences, for some, a luxury bus is exciting, different or interesting and for other it's not.

All in all, I think it's just good that people find a place they like.
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Old 11-13-2009, 12:58 PM
 
90 posts, read 216,923 times
Reputation: 53
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Solis View Post
Very little traffic on 83, 281, 77, you can drive on the expressways anywhere in the valley without all the stop and go congestion in huge cities.
Expressway 281 - McAllen:



Expressway 83 - McAllen:
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Old 11-13-2009, 01:30 PM
 
90 posts, read 216,923 times
Reputation: 53
McAllen's "Central Park" porject

view video at “Central Park” project. Fox Rio 2 News RGV (http://www.foxrio2.com/%E2%80%9Ccentral-park%E2%80%9D-project/ - broken link)
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