We moved to Cypress, a suburb of Houston when I was 12. We moved away, to Midland in west Texas, when I was 13, so we didn't live there all that long, but it had a big impact on me. I'll be honest and say that I didn't like it there very much, but in hindsight I think it had more to do with my being 12/13 and being moved away from my friends to a place with a different regional culture than I was used to at the same time I was starting middle school and having to adapt to THAT new culture as well. It was an ugly time personally for me, so perhaps it's time I stop blaming Texas for it all.
I remember some computer program we had back then that would let us track incoming hurricanes. No biggies ever hit near us while we lived there, so the hurricane tracking was more 'for fun'. Coming from tornado territory before our move to Houston when I was woken in the middle of the night by my parents and moved to sleep in the basement, the hurricane thing felt like more of a novelty at the time. It's been sad watching the storms get worse over time.
I was talking with my dad a couple days ago and we were wondering if our old house is flooded right now. He had tried to find it on maps or looked for reports of flooding specifically in Cypress, but didn't find much helpful. So we are assuming, from the reports of how widespread the flooding is, that it probably is. That got me remembering some of our neighbors back then, and wondering if they are still there, and how they are fairing.
For all I had personal issues when I lived in Texas there are some wonderful things there that I really loved. If, when Houston gets back on its feet - as it will, you have the chance to visit I'd recommend:
The Johnson Space Center. This was one of my very favorite things in Houston. In our short time living in Houston we visited more than once. Perhaps even three times? I don't remember for sure, but it is an amazing place. If you have any interest in Space exploration, or history at all, you'll love visiting. In case anyone doesn't know, The Johnson Space Center is the Houston in the famous Apollo 13 comment, "Houston, we have a problem".
The Astrodome. We got some sort of youth ticket package deal when my sister and I were kids in Houston, so we ended up going to a lot of Astros games. I liked baseball before this, but I loved it when we lived in Houston. I've tried since then to get that love of fandom back, but I can't recapture it. I'm back to just liking. That couple years of being an Astros fan is a fond memory I'll always carry.
Galveston. While not in Houston - obviously since it's Galveston - it's only a short day trip away, and I remember loving it there. I haven't looked for Galveston specific stories, but I would assume they are in as bad, if not worse shape than Houston is since they are directly on the Gulf Coast. We were visiting there once on Mardi Gras and we didn't know it. Until, as we walked all by ourselves on an otherwise empty beach, a parade appeared out of nowhere, came by us, covering us with plastic coins and mardi gras beads and disappeared again into the distance down the road. It was a weird, surreal moment that was so weird and surreal that as an adult now I can't help but wonder if I'm remembering it wrong. Later we went into town and full Mardi Gras celebrations were underway, and it was a blast.
So, here's my thoughts going out to Houston and the surrounding areas. If you can help the relief efforts, please do so - because you are going to want Houston to be there so you can visit it see all the cool things it has to offer.