This summer, my husband, myself and our 3-month-old son moved from Texas to Tennessee. All his family is out here and, though we were leaving my family, he was offered a good job opportunity that we couldn’t pass up.
For me, this transition is still happening. We have lived in Tennessee for almost ten weeks. However, we lived in Texas for four years together, and I am a native Texan – never living anywhere outside of the state (let’s be honest, why would you ever want to?). While my husband misses Texas, too, he is back “home” in Tennessee, so the transition has been easier for him. Me? I still have bouts of homesickness.
Besides my family and friends, here are the top ten things that I miss from Texas:
The open expanse of the sky (and the sunrises and sunsets that correlate).
This one surprised me. I never knew how much I enjoyed the expansiveness of Texas until I didn’t have it anymore. While the Tennessee countryside is beautiful, it doesn’t have the grandeur that Texas skies have. There have been many times where I feel closed in and confined due to highways cutting through a hill or my view of a sunset is limited because of the dips and curves of the roads here. I miss being able to see and take in everything all at once.
Growing up in Houston, I cultivated a deep love and appreciation for the beach and the ocean. My husband and I spent countless hours on the beach in Galveston. The sun radiating warmth on my skin; the crashing of the waves trying desperately to reach me; the sound and shadows of seagulls flying overhead. Even though Galveston takes a lot of heat for seeming to be dirty and not very pretty, I love Galveston. Sticky salt air and all, Galveston was the perfect escape from the concrete backdrop to the north.
Who knew I would end up missing the ability to drive on MORE lanes than the average interstate (that number is 2.6 if you’re wondering). If you are familiar with Houston freeways, even in the slightest, you know that I-10 runs from the west end of town to the east, right through downtown. You also probably know that in recent history, the city of Houston decided to expand I-10 to a total of twenty-six lanes at its widest point. In Tennessee, the widest the interstates get are about eight lanes across, that is including both directions and the HOV lanes. In addition, say I forgot to eat breakfast on my way out the door, so now I need to stop and grab something on the way to work. Well, don’t get your hopes up because if you want to grab a snack, you have to exit and drive a mile or so off the interstate to the nearest major intersection to find a quick bite. In Houston, there are exits every half mile and feeder roads allow you easy on-off access to restaurants and shops. Whoever designed feeder roads is a genius. I miss feeder roads.
Not to say that Tennessee doesn’t take football seriously, it’s just different. Since being here, I have attended one SEC football game; one from Vanderbilt. I like to equate Vanderbilt to Rice University – technically they have a football team, and they are a part of the SEC, but it is clear that academics and research are Vanderbilt’s forefront. When attending the game, I kept thinking, “I’m pretty sure I’ve been to Texas high school games that are larger than this.” Turns out I was wrong, Tully stadium in Houston can hold 15,000. Vanderbilt can hold almost 40,000. Oh well. (Sidenote: the largest high school stadium is in Mesquite, TX and can hold over 19,000 people.)
However, when we are comparing stadium sizes for SEC games, Vanderbilt barely causes the scale to tilt. I am used to Kyle Field in College Station, TX where the Aggies play. Kyle Field can hold over 102, 000 people – and you can feel it.
The Shape of Texas
Listen, I understand this one is weird, but hear me out. Texas is my home. There has always been a sense of pride that I live in such a uniquely shaped state. It made me happy to know that the state I lived in was just as different as me. That I can be different and proud.
Living in Tennessee has made me realize how much I identified with the shape of my state. While Tennessee may touch the most states in the union, the shape is relatively normal. It most closely resembles a rectangle.
I miss being able to look at the state of Texas and call it home; I miss knowing that I live in such a unique state.
Even though Nashville is a “melting pot” in and of itself, it’s mostly white, in both color and culture. I struggle with how “white” this city is because I love diversity. I loved living in a neighborhood that included a supermercado down the street, a Polish grocery store around the corner, both Vietnamese and Korean restaurants and stores a couple miles down the road, plus more! Here in Nashville, I’m lucky to even see something written in another language than English. There are pockets of different cultures here, but they are small and very confined.
Oh, how I miss Whataburger. When its Sunday and Chick-fil-A is close, my back-up has always been Whataburger. Sometimes I just crave the HBCB or the honey bbq chicken strip sandwich with fries and a Diet Dr. Pepper.
However, now I live in Tennessee where the closest Whataburger is 180 miles from me. How depressing.
Man, there is nothing quite like the feeling that all of Houston felt on November 1st, 2017. After an exhausting and taxing hurricane season, Houston needed a win. Boy, did we get one! For the first time in the Astros’ history, we won the 2017 World Championship.
I miss having a MLB team in my city. We have the Nashville Sounds, but they are a minor league team. Don’t worry, boys, I’ll be back to visit.
I mean, duh. It is nearly impossible to be from Texas, move away, and NOT miss good Tex-Mex. If you have never experienced the absence of Tex-Mex, let me tell you, it is definitely something we take for granted. Fajitas that have been marinated and cooked perfectly, handmade tortillas, perfectly thin yet strong chips, spicy and smooth queso, the list can go on. I’ve been in Nashville for two months and the best Mexican I can find is at Rosepepper, and even then, it is no Lupe Tortilla.
I’ve been on the hunt and even a found a place called San Antonio Taco Co. I had such high hopes. Truly, the only good Tex-Mex SATCO produces is their queso. I’ll be going back for that. At least they call it queso! All the other Ten-Mex places call it cheese dip (the abomination!).
In the meantime, I’m kind of giving up on finding good Tex-Mex here. So, I’m learning to make it myself. We already tried out some concoctions for fajitas. Next are homemade tortillas and hopefully learning how to make the perfect chile con queso. None of the cheese dip sh*t. Will update when we try it.
I know I said “besides my friend and family” at the beginning of this post, but let’s be honest. The best part of any physical place is the people that you spend your time with. I miss my family desperately. I’ve never lived more than two hours from them, so being away from them is hard. I love my family deep and it kills me that I don’t have the luxury of proximity anymore.
My sister and I are only two years apart and have always been close. I can’t stand that I never get to see her anymore.
My mom and I have become such good friends into my adulthood. When I became a mother, our bond only strengthened. I hate that she is so far away.
My dad and I have always been close, but adulthood has shown us just how similar we are. We have had our differences, but I never pass up a chance to see him and hear how he is doing. I miss that his men’s bible study doesn’t meet down the street anymore and that I don’t get to see him on a whim.
Thankfully, technology has made the transition easier, but video chatting with my parents isn’t the same as being in the same room as them. I can’t hug them and they can’t hold my son. My heart hurts the most knowing that my parents and sister won’t get to be involved in my son’s life like I thought they would. But, I guess these are just the decisions we make and choices that lead to consequences – good or bad.
Moving to Tennessee was the best decision for my family unit. I am confident of that. But it doesn’t make being away from home any easier. There are times where I wish Tennessee wasn’t the “best decision”. Sometimes I wish that we had found what we were looking for in Houston. But then I think about how we were struggling in so many areas and I know.
I’ll never not be a Texan. But maybe one day I can call Tennessee home.