This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Eddie Casillas, a 27-year-old civil engineer, and his wife Brittany Casillas-Ta, a 25-year-old behavioral therapist, about their decision to move from Sacramento, California, to Texas, earlier this year. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
Eddie: I was raised 45 minutes north of Sacramento in a little city called Marysville. It’s a farming town.
Brittany: I originally moved to Sacramento for college in 2016. We met on a camping trip. He was my cousin’s co-worker.
Eddie: When I moved to Sacramento, I moved in with my wife.
We’ve been together for three years and married for almost two. We have a 1-year-old and two dogs.
Brittany: The prices in Sacramento started going up.
Eddie: We were paying about $1,500 for rent. The apartment we were living in was about 900 square feet. It was a two-bedroom, one-bath.
Gas at the time was about $6.
Brittany: It got kind of dangerous in Sacramento. People were breaking into our cars. One of our windows got broken into and they drilled into the gas tank of the other one.
Eddie: We had to get that fixed and it cost a lot of money.
Brittany: I was pregnant with my daughter and once you have a baby that makes it even scarier.
Eddie: I had always sort of wanted to move out of California. I wanted to move to Texas but I was open to anywhere. I brought it up one day and she said we should do it. That was early on in our relationship. It didn’t become serious until maybe about three months before we actually moved.
We’re pretty adventurous. Part of wanting to move was venturing out, part was the cost of living, and part of it was political.
We initially moved to Tyler, Texas.
Eddie: We never visited before moving. We couldn’t afford to go.
I applied everywhere with the Department of Transportation for Texas. The first job I got was the one I took.
I drove down here on January 1 with both our dogs. My wife flew with the baby a few days later.
Brittany: I was a little nervous about the move. I was used to being around my family. Now that we weren’t going to have anyone around I was a little scared. But mostly I was excited for a brand new start.
Eddie: Tyler was great. It was very family-oriented.
Brittany: I was able to meet a mom’s group and have a support system.
Eddie: It was a great environment. But we were missing that big city feel. There was only a Sam’s Club out there. My wife is Vietnamese and she loves cultural food. They didn’t have too many options up there.
The airport was an hour and forty-five minutes away.
We stayed in Tyler for about eight months. We knew it wasn’t going to be forever. We’re not really people who settle. If we get something in our mind then we just do it.
I applied for jobs again. I went with a private consultant that let us choose where in the state we wanted to live.
We moved again three weeks ago.
Eddie: Now we live in Houston. It’s huge but also affordable. We felt like Houston maintained that affordability and also provided everything we wanted.
We’re paying $1,245 for a townhouse here. It’s two floors, two bedrooms, and three and a half bathrooms. It’s got a huge living room too.
Brittany: We had half a kitchen back in Sacramento.
Eddie: We live adjacent to a very nice community with mansions. It’s just a really nice environment.
Brittany: Making friends has been the hardest thing. We’ve been trying to explore on the weekends.
Eddie: Thankfully, people are super nice in Texas.
Our car broke down, which was really unfortunate. But one of my co-workers gave me a ride to work for two months. People are so kind here.
Brittany: In California, people mind their own business. They’re just heads down. But here, people will stop and ask how you’re doing. They’re really thoughtful and they really do care. I like it here a lot more.
People are welcoming and willing to help you.
There are a lot more babies for our daughter to play with here and places for her to go. She just turned one in August.
We didn’t go out that much in Sacramento because it cost money and I didn’t feel really safe going to the parks. Now I’m able to take her out. She gets to be around more people and have that exposure and socialization.
We were living paycheck to paycheck in California.
Eddie: It was very hard. We couldn’t do anything. We weren’t able to travel.
When our car got broken into in California, it was really expensive and hard to financially recover.
Here in Texas, our Toyota broke down and it sucked but it didn’t feel like it was the end of the world.
Brittany: Now, we’ve been traveling a lot. I’ve been back to California for family things.
Eddie: I went to a bachelor party in Vegas.
Brittany: We went to Disney World for the baby’s birthday. We can afford it now.
Eddie: We’re so looking forward to buying a house. There’s so much variety here. We didn’t have as many options in California. I’m excited to finally get to home-shop in the future.