It finally hit me that I’m back in Texas, and that I can actually go and do everything I’ve been dreaming about while living away. One thing I’ve looked forward to doing is taking my daughter to a fall pumpkin patch. So a couple of weekends ago we headed out to Elgin Christmas Tree Farm and enjoyed a day full of pumpkins, hayrides, petting zoos, and pony rides.
The highlights of the day were when she hugged a goat before seating herself upon him, and when she shouted out “alright” for the first time from atop her pony. I don’t know if it’s motherly nostalgia, entering my thirties, or just that I’ve learned not to take my culture for granted, but it was deeply gratifying to experience her connecting with her Texas roots.
As we continue to settle in, I hope not to take for granted the small things that make coming home so wonderful. I also pray that we will keep our sense of humor regardless of where we live. Here are a few of the sillier things that I never knew to appreciate about Texas until I was living in Tel Aviv.
- Mexican Food. I never considered myself a Mexican food lover until there was none to be found, and then I was suddenly salivating at the idea of all things Tex-Mex! My friends and family would mail me taco dinner kits, from which I would use the taco shells, discard the ready made sauce and seasoning, and make my own taco filling. I will never take tacos for granted again.
- Drive-Thru. Bank, coffee, food, pharmacy. So simple. Yet I had to have family members re-educate me as to how these things work. Not embarrassing at all.
- Debit Card Checkout. How did I forget that you swipe your own card at the register? I will always remember the look on the cashier’s face at Target as I stood there, card dangling from my hand, waiting for her to take it. Panic set in as I realized I was at a complete loss as to what to do. I wanted to reassure her that I actually am a functioning member of society, but it seemed sort of pointless.
- Super Grocery Stores With Their Ample Parking Spaces. H.E.B., Central Market and Whole Foods. I thought of you often as I trekked 5 miles to my neighborhood grocery. I really missed you on the return trip, when I was pushing a stroller full of groceries with one hand, holding a colicky baby with the other, and stopping along the way at at least 2 other groceries to find what was left on my list.
- Yes Ma’am, Thank You Sir. Southern manners, I just can’t get enough.