Becoming Texan

7 Jan

Seven years ago yesterday, I arrived in Texas.

I was eighteen, leaving behind everything I knew to spend a year of my life learning more about God and who I was.  My plan was to stay a year, and go back to the North. After all, I was an East Coast girl all the way.

Eighteen Year Old Me.

My mom grew up in Dallas and always talked about how ugly and flat it was, and how I was so lucky to grow up somewhere that had mountains, forests, and mild summers. The first time I visited this ugly flat place, I was fourteen. I don’t remember much about the trip, because of the shock of arriving for grandma’s birthday, and ending up attending my grandpa’s funeral days later.

The differences between the North and the South can be a bit of a culture shock. Tea wasn’t hot, people acted like they knew you their whole lives instead of shrugging you off, actual cowboys, and what was this chunky white stuff served on biscuits… for breakfast?!?

I made it through much of my first year by making fun of Texas’ odd quirks. One of most clever sayings was,

“Yah, everything’s bigger in Texas- especially their egos!”

Then a second year came around. And a third. And a fourth. Wait…. what was I still doing here?

I did everything to hold onto my Yankee identity, including renewing my license in New Hampshire even though I was 80% sure I wasn’t going to be moving back there. I made plans in my head to move to California a thousand times. Australia, Colorado, Krygyzstan, anywhere but Texas! Whenever I left for a trip, I said good riddance, but the more I left and came back the more the truth started to sink in somewhere deep in my stubborn heart:

This is home.

Over the years, I’ve been a gypsy wanderer, going here and there without knowing where God would take me next. I’ve seen the bright red, green, and gold flags contrasting with white mountain tops in a Buddhist Monastery of Tibet. I’ve lived on a bus and woken up and looked out the window to endless fields of corn, buildings that seemed to scrape the sky, small coastal towns and suburbs. I’ve climbed down the Grand Canyon to jump in a waterfall, wondered at the rolling green hills of New Zeland, stood under a red wood tree in awe, wandered cities in Asia and Central America.

But nothing is quite as quick to leave me breathless as standing under an enormous pink and orange sky as the sun sets over Texas.

Beauty.

So, Y’all, I am giving in.

I’ve mocked, loathed, picked on, rebelled against, ignored and attempted to run away from Texas too long. I know I am not going anywhere anytime soon, so I may as well sit back, eat my BBQ brisket, drink my sweet tea, and embrace all of it.

Rowdy Cowgirls

Except for one thing: you still won’t catch me listening to that horrible Country music.

Except some Johnny Cash. And maybe a little Taylor Swift when I am feeling girly. But they don’t count.

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