Being back in Texas often makes me realize just how much I miss being home sometimes. And I mean home in every sense of the word. The home that I grew up in and shelter my parents provided. The family I run to that I call home. My home city. My home state. Really, there is something that just doesn’t compare to how I feel in the good ol’ Lone Star State. If you’ve watched the television masterpiece Friday Night Lights (and if you haven’t, you should probably be pretty upset with yourself), there is a saying from the show that I often recite to my friends: “Texas forever.”
I recently just made the first leg of my journey to Cambodia. As I write this, I am literally staying in Middle of Nowhere, California with my roommate/travelmate and her family (who have been very generous and kind per usual) awaiting my next flight which will take us up, up, and away. But to Cambodia, not space. As I made this first part of the trip, I realized something that has come up before in my mind, but I have ever put it down into words. And it is this: Texas is home, and Texas is where home will always be. There are a few reasons that this is true, some that are meaningful and personal, and others that are pretty stupid. This not to say that I do not love California. California has brought me many things, namely great experiences, great knowledge, and even greater friends. But Texas is where the heart is.
The first and most obvious reason would be that it is where my family is. I have a BIG family. It’s like gargantuan compared to the families of some of my friends. And the thing is, my family is really close. Not all of us (because lets face it, it would take the energy of the sun to keep up with everyone), but there is a core to my family that is truly the best family one could ask for. It mostly revolves around my mom’s sisters (slightly more complicated but I’ll spare you) and my cousins from that side who make up a group of cousins that I’ve hardly (never) seen replicated. Being one of the younger ones, it is like having a bunch of older brothers and sisters to lean on and do whatever they can to see you succeed. And it is all of them who draw me back to Texas every single time (also their little ones).
Then comes the city. Austin and the surrounding areas are some of the best places in the world. It is part of the reason that so many people have started to flock to Austin in recent years, turning it into a city with a small town feel to America’s newest full fledged metropolis. It is just a city that has so much going on and is always looking to have a good time. From ACL and SWSX to 6th Street and South Congress and everywhere in between, Austin has something for everyone. While I may not have experienced everything yet, I know that each time I go back, I can always look forward to being able to go into the city and have a good time (and an even better time now that I have just turned 21). Trust me when I say everyone loves Austin. Oh, and that skyline is to die for.
The weather is also ideal (sort of). Read: I HATE BEING COLD. And Texas is hot, just like everyone thinks it is. While in the winter it can get much colder than people would believe, there is nothing I love more than spring/summer in Texas. As the weather gets warmer, everything and everyone comes to life. Summers on the lake are postcard worthy and summer nights in Texas are the highlight of my life. It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold, there is no sun bearing down on you, and the breeze is usually more than enough to compensate for the sometimes high humidity. A summer night in Texas is the most perfect time and weather that a southern summer night is just something that every human should be able to experience once in their lifetime.
And there’s the people. I love Texans, even with all their flaws (Rick Perry, I am looking at you). I love being able to say that I’m from Texas and am a Texan. I love those who roll with a Texan accent, which is sorely missing from the city if you ask me. I love cowboys/cowgirls who rein in the rodeo when it comes around. And don’t get me started on those boots and cowboy hats. I think being away from Texas has really just amplified everything Texas in my head honestly. But if you every get the chance, visit. Especially Austin.
I now realize this has inadvertently turned into a Texas appreciation post. But the central truth still remains: Texas is home, and Texas is where home will always be. As I travel to Cambodia, finish my schooling in Berkeley, and go wherever my future takes me, that will remain concrete. And now, my family has every ounce of proof they need to make sure that I end up back in Texas with them.
Texas forever, six. Texas forever. (No but really, watch this show.)