As my time living in Texas comes to a close, I can't help but think of the past 7.5 years as some of the best in my life. Moving here was one of the greatest decisions I have ever made. It opened new doors for my career, my love life, and my personal development. Texas helped make me the woman I am today and I will forever be grateful. I have about a week and a half left here, and this imminent fact causes me to reflect upon all the blessings this great state has given me. So, here it is - a countdown to the Top 10 Things Texas Gave Me.
10. Cowboy Boots
I never really had a love for footwear. This is mainly due to the fact that the prettiest shoes are high heels, and I've always been too tall to appreciate them. But the great state of Texas introduced me to the variety and pleasure that are cowboy boots. They are relatively flat (only a slight heel) and come in a variety of colors and styles. I now own four pair and constantly crave more!
9. Pride in Where I Call Home
I'll never forget when I first moved to Texas and was shocked that every TV station, every radio station, all I heard was "here in Texas" or "The great state of Texas." I remember my roommate and I watching a local TV commercial and laughing out loud at the car salesman who spent half his time touting the greatness of his home state. Texans have so much pride and who they are and where they come from that it is contagious. It didn't take me long to become proud to call myself a Texan. It made me realize how important it was to me that I absolutely love where I live, where I call home. That's why, when Z and I decided we wanted to try living somewhere else, we made sure to find a city that we would be proud to call home. And we believe we have found that in Seattle.
8. Texas Country Music
The first time I heard Texas Country music was in college when my good friend Ashlin introduced me to Pat Green and Cross Canadian Ragweed. I instantly fell in love! Since moving here, I've been introduced so many more bands and so many songs about Texas, about love, about the pride of living in a place that is all about enjoying life. The beat of the music, the lyrics, they get me every time.
7. Tex Mex
You all obviously know I am a foodie. I LOVE cooking new recipes and trying new cuisines. My love for spicy and flavorful food was certainly ignited when I moved here. From sour cream chicken enchiladas and tamales to tablitas and carne asada. Oh, and the margaritas! The margaritas!! I love it all and will miss it when we move. I just hope I can find ways to recreate it in Seattle.
While my independence started at a young age, when I first had to get a job to pay for my own expenses. Moving to Texas taught me an entirely new kind of independence. It's not just a separation from my family. I had that all through college. Moving to Texas gave me a new found sense of finding my way in life - helping me determine what I wanted to accomplish and what kind of woman I wanted to be. It didn't always go smoothly. I had many years of faltering and poor decisions, but I had noone to rely on buy myself. I was completely on my own, and I grew so much as a result.
5. Love of the Water
My true love of the water started at the Colley's lake house during high school summers. But in Texas is where my appreciation for lakes and boats grew exponentially. Z bought a boat about a month after we started dating and it showed me that we shared a lot of the same passions. I learned to wakeboard in Texas, I learned to drive a boat in Texas, I even learned how to back up the boat/trailer down the ramp! I will truly miss our times on her, but I know we will find new adventures on the West coast. This is my favorite picture of our boat tied up to the dock in Cedar Creek.
I developed some really great friendships in Texas. Some are still here, others have moved on, but the friendships I have made and the lessons I have learned from these ladies will be with me forever. Whether i is the friendships I made at The Richards Group in my first few years, the ladies I trained with for the marathon, or those that I grew with as we all began to fall in love... I feel so grateful!
3. Appreciation for my Liberalism
As everyone knows, Texas is a VERY conservative state. I mean the amount of backward thinking here on social issues sometimes just makes me want to vomit. However, I will say that living in Texas has made me appreciate the conservative stance on fiscal situations. Texas has consistently produced fantastic economies, even during the recession. But being a liberal in a conservative state has also made me become more steadfast in my beliefs in marriage equality, freedom of choice, legalization of marijuana, among others. Texas may be the last to come around to some of these issues, but I'm glad these people didn't rub off on my too much. :-) Washington will appreciate me!
2. A Fantastic Career
If it wasn't for my move to Texas, I never would have found this fantastic career in marketing. I first owe it to The Richards Group for recruiting me out of undergrad to come down here and work. I never would have had a reason to move here without that job offer. But my job at Frito-Lay is what really made me love marketing. All the skills I developed and the people I worked with, the things I was able to accomplish... it really renewed my love of this industry.
1. My Husband
By far, the best thing Texas has given me is my wonderful husband. I won't lie. Texas gave me some other relationships - some good, some disastrous. But just when I thought I was done with love and done with Texas, Z walked into my life. At the time, I was ready to leave this state and never look back, but meeting this amazing man pulled me right back. If I owe anything to this great state, it's thanks for giving me a fantastic life and a fantastic future with my best friend and the love of my life. When we have kids, when we have grand kids, I will look at them and know they are a result of the great state of Texas. I am forever changed and forever grateful.
God Bless Texas.