Tis the season to bid farewell to the thousands of Winter Texans that call the Rio Grande Valley home each winter. In Texas, we love our Winter Texans. The best way I can describe that love is similar to the love grandparents have for their grandkids and the feelings they have after the grandkids have visited. We canít wait for them to get here, and we breathe a stifled sigh as we send them on their journey home.

Over the past few years I have become known as a Winter Texan expert. I not only interact with Winter Texans on a daily basis, but I socialize with them, I get to know their likes and dislikes and I get to know their families as well. Believe me, I have studied these crazy creatures. My studies have taken me to some very random places, I might add. If youíve never been to the Chicken House Oprey, eaten a cheeseburger at the Don Wes flea market, danced to the music of Jack Kay at the American Legion or know how to do the Cowboy Cumbia, you donít know what youíre missing.

But contrary to popular belief, the fun doesnít stop once our Winter Texans pass the checkpoint. For many, itís just begun. You see, what most people donít know, is that there is a whole other population that comes out of hibernation mid-Aprilóthe Converted Texans.

ďWhatís a Converted Texan,Ē you ask? They are former Winter Texans who decided that they just like it here in the Rio Grande Valley too much to move away. They see that the benefits of living here far outweigh the steamy summers. So, they officially sell everything back home and declare Texas their permanent residence.

Last summer we had multi-community activities in the Winter Texan off-season specifically for our Converted Texans, which range over 300 individuals. We took groups to see the Edinburg Roadrunners play (with a pit-stop at Rudyís BBQ before the game), to watch the performance of the University of Texas at Pan Americanís Summer Stock Theatre, we danced with Diego, had Thirsty Thursday dinner groups, Saturday morning breakfasts and went to Tip oí Texas to hear the Bottomline Band. We even ran into some of our Native Texans (certainly yaíll can figure that one out) at some of our dances. Itís no secret to some that the fountain of youth can be found in staying active!

So as the temperature outside rises, Iíll be reporting on all the activities of our Converted and Native Texans. You can read our updates here, find out where weíre going and where weíve been. And by all means, if you are 55-ish or over, and want to join us, the more the merrier!

Hope to see you real soon,

Kristi

Kristi is a McAllen native who loves to share her joy of living in the Rio Grande Valley to those who have been here for years, or a very short time. You can follow her at welcomehomergv.com or contact her at kristi@welcomehomergv.com.