I went out with my morning coffee. The smell of mountain laurel enveloped me like a blanket that comforted me at this moment. I’m home and couldn’t be happier. There is a sense of accomplishment that comes over me when I look at my little piece of land that I own. I worked hard for it and out of all the odds against our generation to own a home, we were able to put down roots in my hometown. It’s amazing and I feel grateful in times like these.
My family moved back from Austin to San Antonio in the summer of 2019. We are a fairly young family with a preschooler, and living in San Antonio was our goal. We were looking for an affordable housing market that Austin simply will never offer and we wanted more opportunities to attend family reunions. We wanted our son to create the same memories I had as a kid, like running around with my cousins at my grandparents’ house every chance that warranted a barbecue with a serving of my grandma’s homemade Mexican rice. mother. We dreamed of being able to show her the Christmas lights on the River Walk, cheer on the floats during Fiesta, and ride the same rides I rode as a kid at Kiddie Park.
We initially chose to rent an apartment at The Compound on Broadway before buying a house. It was the perfect location to access trails to Lions Field and Brackenridge Park, The Pearl, San Antonio Zoo, DoSeum, Kiddie Park, and Witte Museum. We had all the family-friendly cultural institutions within walking distance, but once the pandemic hit, we knew it was time to start looking for our forever home. Our apartment that we once thought of as a portal to the heart of the city felt like a tiny living space surrounded by temporarily demarcated and closed businesses and playgrounds. All of my son’s daily adventures and learning opportunities suddenly came to a halt, and his world was reduced to two patios overlooking the Brackenridge golf course. We needed a garden and my son needed room to grow and stability during times of uncertainty.
Finding accommodation at the start of the pandemic was unique to say the least. Before entering each house, we had to agree to fill out a new COVID-19 certification form (yes, that was a thing!). The market was booming and houses were going fast. The cliche of “everything happens for a reason” buzzed through our minds repeatedly as we had several failed deals on homes. As redundant as the cliché might be, it rang true when we found our perfect home.
We found an older home built in the 1960s that has the charm of more recently remodeled homes. We stayed in District 1, but it feels like a completely different town. The neighborhood is a seamless mix of new families with kids around the same age as my son and older residents with kids my age. It’s quiet and everyone is friendly. The first time we took our son to his new backyard, his eyes lit up and he immediately took ownership of his new domain. We knew we had made the right decision.
If you’re like our family, local food is our language of love. Sitting around the corner from our neighborhood is Goros, where I first tasted sushi as a teenager. I remember there was an affordable happy hour, and I would rave about this place to all my friends like I found a secret establishment. I took my wife on one of our first dates in Goros, and we sat at the bar while the chef cooked us some special “off menu” dishes to enjoy while we sipped sake and Sapporo . Further down the road is El Taco De Jalisco. I know it’s a sensitive topic here, but these are some of the best tacos in town. The lady at the drive-thru always has a smile on her face and she always makes sure your bag includes the free sopapillas that come with your meal. You can still smell the cinnamon and sugar on the way back. On the other side of our neighborhood is Miss Chickpea’s Bakeshop. I recommend trying their pupusas with plantain chips. They have a little outside seating area where my son and I will try to name every passing car on Callaghan Road while we have lunch.
One of the best amenities of the Greenbriar neighborhood is that it’s central to everything. We are a short drive from Hardberger Park and a 15 minute drive from our old Broadway playground. If I could improve one aspect of our neighborhood, it would be the ability to walk and cycle in this area. As an advocate for sidewalks, trails and bike lanes, it is sometimes strange to come home to a neighborhood without sidewalks, bike lanes or trails within walking distance. I hope one day to see improved infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.
But the compromise is fair in my eyes. No one ever says, “Home is where the sidewalks are.” My home is built with memories and new traditions created by my wonderful family. I love being able to lower the movie screen, pitch a tent, make s’mores, and host movie nights. I appreciate the shade from the mature trees and the birds that come to visit. And only my family will ever know what my son named the two pear trees we planted together in our garden. It’s my house; this is where I live.