The first time I traveled to Houston was in January 2000. I came here for an interview, looking for a promotion, for opportunities not available to me through the local branch of my employer.
I remember seeing Houston from the air, and being surprised at the lack of color. Everything seemed gray, flat, and so very big. It was winter in Texas, the sky was overcast and I was freezing my ass off.
Where were the mountains? Where was the beach? How did people find their way? What were all those rectangular ponds I would see every so often? And how many people lived in this place? Would I be able to make it here?
I learned the answers soon. To see mountains I needed to go to the hill country, a few hours' drive, certainly not a day trip. The beach was about an hour from here, but I was warned that coming from the Caribbean, Galveston would seem disappointing. People looked up directions on the Internet all the time, and drove North, South, East and West. Sometimes they would use landmarks (downtown Houston, the Williams Tower in the Galleria area, etc.).
I would also learn that, at 3.4M (per the 2000 census), the population of Harris County was close in sze to that of Puerto Rico (3.8M per the 2000 census). In some parts it can be as densely pack as the Metro area in Puerto Rico is. In others, there is a lot of room to expand.
There's no moral to this rambling. With time, what was once large and intimidating has become home. So far, I have been able to make it. We'll see what the future brings.