Now, don't worry, Pennsylvanians. I have no desire to move to Texas right now. I have had an absolutely wonderful stay with my Texas family this summer; I would not trade it for anything. However, it is just not the same as home.
In Texas, you have to turn on the sprinklers every day if you want to have green grass in your front lawn. This was a new concept for me. Even the grass that is green is still rather prickly to walk on in bare feet. Green grass (and rain for that matter) are common elements of western Pennsylvania, and I have certainly missed seeing green on the ground and full trees dressed in emerald.
Speaking of trees, that's another difference between Texas and home. The trees were one of the very first things I noticed upon my arrival. They are rather scraggly in my personal opinion. Their branches don't spread as far, and their leaves aren't as... leafy. The leaves here aren't as full and don't provide as much shady relief from the sun as the leaves do at home. (To any Texas readers, please don't be offended that I dislike your trees.)
Despite the lack of greenery in Texas, it sure makes up the difference in warm weather. Of the nine weeks I've been here, only about seven or eight days have produced rain, and the majority of the time, it rained only during the night. The Texas heat is much less humid, too, which I could certainly get accustomed to!
Overall, Texas gets a four star rating from me. I have not seen as many cacti as I expected, but I won't count that against its rating. The people are very friendly here; strangers will wave to you as you pass by on the road, which is not something I typically see while driving down I-79. It's a little drier and less green than Pennsylvania, but it still feels like a second home.
Although I've lived with my Texas family in the Texas heat for the summer, I am still a Pennsylvanian on the inside. I am really looking forward to being back in Pittsburgh, visiting the Pointe and seeing the Pirates play at PNC Park. However, if you measure a true western Pennsylvanian by his or her use of "yinz," then you may consider me convert.
Yes, I do say "y'all" now... just without the Texas twang.