Friday, July 15, 2016

Lessons Learned from Texas

Texas Necklace, Cents of Style 

Shortly after our 1st daughter was born, my husband and I moved to Harlingen, TX. Don't know where that is? Don't worry, most people don't. It is in the Rio Grande Valley and is close to the border and the Gulf of Mexio. It is a beautiful and strange area, with a culture that is no quite either of the bordering countries. It is wonderful and in places very unsafe. When people buy an item with a state on it, they usually pick the state in which they lived the longest. I always pick Texas. I may not have spent my childhood there, but I became an adult there. Texas is where I grew up.

There is Beauty All Around. I remember the first Christmas we stayed in South Texas. I opened the front door and watched the palm trees sway in the breeze. I felt an enormous rush of sadness. Christmas was supposed to be white. I was supposed to wake up to fresh snow. We were supposed to make a snowman. This couldn't possibly be Christmas. As I stood in the doorway of our house watching the trees and feeling sad, I was suddenly overwhelmed by the beauty of where we lived. It was gorgeous. It wasn't white with snow, but it was green with life. I have more than once, missed those green Christmases now that we are back where snow fills December.

I had no idea what Mexican food was. Oh my word. When I think about how it has been four years since we lived in Texas, my first thought is, it has been four years since I have had real Mexican food. Stuffed Avocados, Quesadilla Y Fajita, I miss the food. People tell me all the time that I have to try this restaurant they have found and that it is super authentic. We always go and leave shaking our heads.

The Gulf of Mexico is the perfect water. There is a reason South Padre Island is a tourist destination. I miss the beach and the water so much.

People are kind.  It was hard to move to South Texas. The first gas station I walked into the man greeted me in Spanish and I burst into tears. I didn't speak a word of Spanish and I didn't know how to respond. He was so very kind in helping me. Over the years I met many wonderful people who didn't speak a word of English and I never ended up being very good at speaking Spanish, but we communicated and they were so very kind to me.

Every area isn't safe. I moved to Texas a very naive girl. My husband lived in Compton at one point and was very aware of our surroundings, he pointed out drug deals and unsafe areas of the city so I would be aware. It was scary at the time but very eye opening.

I can be an adult. During our first hurricane, I spent most of the time at the window in awe of the water. I remember preparing for the hurricane and making sure we had everything we needed. It felt so weird to be the grownup protecting our little one. It was one of those moments that made me realize we really were parents, not just people playing house.

 There are amazing things everywhere. You just have to search for them. When I walked off the plane an into South Texas, the humidity hit me like a wall. I turned to my husband and asked him what on Earth had we done. I cried my first night in the valley and then I cried my last night in the valley too. South Texas is full of AMAZING things and I was so sad to leave. Here are some of my favorite.

Harlingen is the Mural Capital of the USA. There are amazing street murals everywhere.

Football is life and highschool football is just as much fun to watch as college.

The mold that was used to make the Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima Statue) is proudly on display in Harlingen.

The Mexican Food.


South Padre Island. The water is warm. The sand is soft. It truly is the perfect beach.

Sandcastle Festival.

Sea Turtle Rescue

Charro Days

Now I know that you probably aren't going to run out and buy a plane ticket to South Texas, but if you ever find yourself headed out to South Padre Island, stop for a minute and see what there is to see. There will always be a part of me that calls this place home.

Find your state necklace here.
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