So, after months of planning we are here. Things haven’t gone quite as smoothly as we were hoping and we are currently squatting at my in-laws house. But the situation will hopefully work itself out in time.
I thought for the first post that I should clarify a few things. The first is my attitude toward Texas. When people found out that I was moving here, I got a lot of jokes, even a few expressions of condolences. And I totally understand that. Texas has a unique identity in our popular imagination and at many times it has been difficult to imagine how I might fit in here. That being said, I do want to make it clear that I intend to give Texas a chance. The purpose of this blog isn’t to belittle Texas or Texans. The purpose is to chronicle what is likely to be a unique transition, full of many new experiences. That doesn’t mean I won’t ever express frustration or puzzlement, or anything negative. But it does mean that I am doing my best to approach things with an open mind.
The second point of clarification is also related to stereotypes about places – my status as a Southern California native. I was born in and lived for all of my life in Southern California. I suspect that just as my CA friends and family have some pre-conceived ideas about Texas, that maybe the people reading this or that I meet along the way might have some pre-conceived ideas about California and its residents. But if you meet me and are expecting a tanned beach babe, you will be sorely disappointed. I can’t remember the last time I went to the beach (except on vacation in France) and I’m about as pale as they come. I’ve never surfed or roller-skated on a boardwalk. Most recently I lived in “the valley” but I don’t talk like an idiot or obsess about shopping. I’ve never gagged myself, or anyone else for that matter, with a spoon. I am pretty liberal in terms of politics, but given CA’s recent Prop 8 debacle, I hope that most people realize that even states with a reputation as clearly liberal have more variety than one might expect.
So, back to the point of this blog! I’d have to say that my first uniquely Texas experience happened on the very first morning that we woke up after arriving in The Lone Star state. We took the 10 past El Paso and drove up the 20 to Midland, where we stopped for the night. Our hotel offered complimentary breakfast in the morning and my partner went out to get us some food while I packed up our room. He returned with….wait for it…no, really, it’s worth waiting for…
A waffle in the shape of Texas.
Would I make this up? I’m fairly certain that I’ve never eaten anything in the shape of California, much though I loved living there. So, I ate a waffle shaped like my new home state. It was pretty tasty and if you find yourself at the LaQuinta Inn in Midland, I highly recommend trying one for yourself.
But my encounter with the waffle didn’t end when the waffle was gone. That waffle has made a lasting impact on me (and I don’t just mean the calorie count). I’ve been thinking about what it means to eat a waffle in the shape of your state. Does any other state have breakfast food in their shape? What about a New York omelet maker? Or an Idaho toast stamp? To me, the waffle indicates a quality about Texas that is visible in many other ways if you look around – state pride. Not pride in the sports teams, or in certain landmarks, though those things certainly come with the territory. We are talking about a deep and abundant pride in Texas. A pride that borders on patriotism, or maybe even supersedes patriotism. What is it about Texas that inspires this feeling?
I hope to find out over the next 12 months.