I moved to New York from Texas in August and it’s been the most transformative experience of my life. I’ve fallen in love with the busy city, but I’m also homesick for the South. Before I moved, I felt very little connection to Texas; politically, religiously, I felt like an outsider. After I moved, however, I’ve felt a connection to the Lone Star State that previously would’ve made me roll my eyes and make a Rick Perry joke.
The hardest part of the move has been leaving my family, my mom in particular. We’ve always been absurdly close, and so deciding to move across the country from her was the hardest decision I’ve ever made. Interestingly, other people tend to assume that my moving so far away means that I did not love my family enough to stay. I get a lot of comments like, “I could never leave my family like that”, as if they loved their roots more than me. My decision to move was not based on a school’s proximity to my home. I applied to schools all across the country. I did not do this for lack of love of my family, but rather, out of a lust to experience life, for all it’s love, and excitement, and even fear. I have big dreams, and they would never come to fruition in Pearland, TX mom or no mom.
That said, I miss Texas everyday. I miss my mom everyday. In a sense, I think it all boils down to missing the familiar. Everything in New York is so new, unfamiliar, and out of my comfort zone, that it’s natural to try to connect back to the cozy comfort of the Texas suburbs. But that’s not why I came to Brooklyn. I came to be challenged. To meet people and learn things that test my boundaries and broaden my horizons. I did not move for safe and easy.
The move was terrifying, and although the experience has been incredible and very rewarding, I’m still terrified. I don’t know if I’ll ever stop being terrified, and maybe that’s a good thing. At times, it’s been a struggle; I didn’t know it was possible to miss anything the way I miss my mom. For all the wonders of technology, texts and facetime don’t do the trick.
Second only to my family in the list of things I miss, is Texas food. I’m sorry to tell you this, New York, but CHIPOTLE ISN’T MEXICAN FOOD! Where is the queso, green sauce, flautas, tacos, and guacamole? And don’t even get me started on Barbeque! I haven’t seen ribs or brisket since I got here. It’s scandalous New York, really. And two more words: fried oreos. Get on it.
The truth though, is that I feel like I belong in New York City, at the very least politically. I am a liberal, from a mostly liberal family. I was not in the majority. To give a sense of the Texas point of view, I once saw a bumper sticker on a pick-up truck that said, “if fetuses had guns, abortion wouldn’t happen”. Try to figure that one out. I can remember going to Friday night football games and cheering on my team alongside throngs of other students dressed in camouflage hats and jackets, and cowboy boots. They’d watch a football game, talk about hunting, and guns. Did you know that Obama is forcibly trying to remove every single gun in the United States? Funny, neither did I.
Perhaps even more prevalent than conservatism in the South is religion. Catholocism, baptism, and even Mormonism are widespread, at least in Houston. It is impossible to avoid the constant bombardment of religion. It permeates through the southern culture- through schools, public events, and, of course, social media. Every school board meeting was opened with a prayer. At graduation, the valedictorian lead the entire audience and graduating class in the Lord’s prayer, and the most popular show put on by the high school theater department to date remains, Godspell. I have never been particularly religious. My mother is catholic, and I’ve grown up catholic, but I’ve always struggled with believing in the teachings of the church, a belief that the people of Pearland, TX had trouble understanding.
It wasn’t until I moved to New York that I realized how often I censored myself while in Houston. That is to say, I had a very strict policy of never discussing my religious or political beliefs in any social situation. I was always careful when I spoke, for fear that my views, which so often conflicted with those around me, would offend my company. Since the move, I haven’t felt the need to stop myself from voicing my opinion. There is a lot to be said for being part of a majority.
I’ve only been in New York City for six months, and my life has already changed in more ways than I can possibly count. I plan on staying here for many more months to come, and I can only hope that the experience continues to challenge me, and that I continue to accept the challenges with an open heart and mind. Aπfter all, what’s life without a little adventure?