I leave for Minnesota in exactly six days. Then, it's time for Mission Team Training, the School of the New Evangelization, and the beginning of my first year of service at the U. Where did this summer go? I have absolutely no idea. While I am super pumped to be back in the SPO mission leader community for a couple of weeks and I can't wait to get this year started...y'all know how I feel about the Lone Star State.
I would say that I love Texas a little more than the average Texan, but not enough for it to be a problem (wait...isn't that the cliché of the addict? "I don't have a problem"?). There are definitely Texans that love this state more than I do. However, amongst my friends, I am probably the most Texas-obsessed. I mean, I did get a Texas-shaped cutting board for my birthday last year...
Okay, fine, I really love Texas. A lot.
I can't really say that people have asked me what I am going to miss the most about Texas, because I think it's just widely assumed that I am going to miss everything. Minus the traffic on all major highways and the way that most Texans drive (which is not 'friendly', like the signs that welcome you in and out of the state say), that's an accurate generalization. But I finally narrowed it down to ten.
One important note: no specific people are included in this list. I am going to miss everyone. I can't pick favorite humans.
Before I start the list, please press 'play' on the video below. It is a wonderful tune that I think will really set the mood for the rest of this post.
And now, without further ado, in no particular order, the top 10 things that I will miss the most about living in the great(est) state of Texas...
Disclaimer: I own none of these photos! Except for the one I am in. That one is mine.
1. Breakfast Tacos
This is an absolute no-brainer. For those of you that are wondering, they are different from breakfast burritos. They just are. There is nothing like a chorizo, egg, and cheese taco first thing in the morning (or in the afternoon. Or at night. I'm not picky.) My love for tacos is something I can't fully articulate into words...my heart and my stomach are sad just thinking about leaving behind breakfast tacos. Moving on...
Whether it be from Trudy's, Chuy's, Fuego, Torchy's, Kerbey Lane, or literally any other authentic Mexican or Tex-Mex (they're different) restaurant in the state, there is no better way to start your meal by dipping tortilla chips into a bowl of warm, molten cheese mixed with peppers and spices and, if you're lucky, topped with a scoop of guacamole and some seasoned beef...ugh, I'm so hungry. Someone please figure out a way to ship queso to Minneapolis.
You could literally live inside of a Buc-ee's for a long period of time and probably be fine. I'm sure there are beds hidden in the back for employees. In what other place can you find fresh produce, all of your hunting and camping needs, fudge, home furnishings, barbecue, and anything with the Texas flag or a beaver on it? Answer: NOWHERE ELSE. LITERALLY NOWHERE ELSE. They are famous for their immaculately clean bathrooms, and let me tell you, a clean bathroom is a simple luxury but it makes all the difference. Also, Buc-ee's gas is super cheap and for the sake of my car and wallet I am severely going to miss that. I have stopped at Buc-ee's during many a road trip, but I have also gone to Buc-ee's just for the heck of it. Because it is that great.
4. The Texas Sky
Miranda Lambert says in one of her songs, "The Texas sky's the biggest one I've seen." And I agree. The sky is so vast and beautiful and the perfect canvas for the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. Thanks, Lord. You did good with this state. The Lord has woo-ed me many times with the sunrises and sunsets He paints across the Texas sky. And, if you're far enough away from the city, the stars at night are, ahem, big and bright...*clap clap clap clap* DEEP IN THE HEART OF TEXAS! Okay, time for number 5.
5. Highway Speed Limits
Because apparently in other states the highest speed limit is 65 miles an hour. WHAT EVEN IS THAT. I will miss you, TX-130. Thanks for helping me skip over Austin traffic and getting me to and from San Marcos at a reasonable amount of time.
6. Shiner Beer
Yes, I know there is Shiner Bock in other states, and praise the Lord for that! However, I know absolutely nothing about beers besides Texas beers, and I will miss being able to mark the passing of time based on which seasonal brews are out (here's lookin' at you, Oktoberfest and Holiday Cheer). If the law magically changes and allows the mailing of alcohol...I would like to request a case of Ruby Redbird and a case of White Wing to savor over the year, please and thank you.
7. Wildflowers in the Spring
Once again, GOD DID SUCH A BEAUTIFUL JOB WHEN HE CREATED TEXAS, Y'ALL. Even though the weather is all over the place, you can always tell that spring is here when those bluebonnets and Indian paintbrushes pop up along the side of the highway. Summers are marked by little wild sunflowers that make me so so happy. Are you really Texan if you haven't had a photo shoot in a patch of bluebonnets? I don't think so. Do people even take Easter pictures without them???
8. This outfit being socially acceptable:
Oh, is this outfit not acceptable outside of the camp setting......?
I am going to miss my Texas flag shorts being acceptable attire (at least to class), as well as wearing my cowboy boots casually without getting judged. Maybe I'll just wear my boots anyway because the Lord gave me free will and I do what I want. Yeah, that sounds good.
P.S.: Shoutout to my best friend and favorite Arkansan, Lizzie. I'm definitely gonna miss her!
WHAT. A. BURGER. This one goes out to the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit, my favorite late-night companion; the Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich; the Chop House Cheddar Burger (discontinued); the Patty Melt; and LITERALLY EVERYTHING ELSE ON THE MENU. I am going to miss this beloved fast food chain, where ketchup comes in regular or spicy, and a medium drink is the normal person's large. Talk about value. Thankfully, because Jesus loves us and only wants good things for His children, Whataburger condiments are available for purchase at HEB. This is my third shameless request for a care package. I'll take one honey butter, one regular ketchup, and one creamy pepper. But anyways, speaking of HEB...
Ah, yes, Here, Everything is really Better (see what they did there?). H-E-B is a grocery store chain exclusive to central and south Texas, so I didn't even know about it until I got to college. #DallasLife But as soon as I discovered the beauty that is this amazing grocery store, it was like the fog was lifted (yes, that was a Tangled reference.) H-E-B is so much more than just a grocery store...even though it's really just a grocery store. I will miss Hill Country Fare products that are way cheaper and just as good as any name-brand product. I will miss the woman yelling about pizza that sounds like a fire alarm. I will miss the kitchen supply aisle. I will miss all the reasonably-priced beauty of H-E-B.
And, that concludes my list!
Except it doesn't.
Because I'm indecisive and everything is bigger in Texas (including top 10 lists!), I had to include one more...
I am ashamed that this was almost left off the list. I am also surprised at myself, considering how much I love dancing. But anyways, I have gone two-steppin' at some of the most historic dance halls in Texas (though I still have quite a few to go) - Gruene Hall, Cheatham Street Warehouse, Billy Bob's Texas, the Big Sandy Dance Hall (shoutout to my Pines friends, they know how iconic this place actually is) - and there is nothing better than spinning around with your best friends to some live music. Not being at a dance hall has never stopped my friends and I before, though: spontaneous nights of two-steppin' in driveways are some of my fondest college memories.
OKAY WOW, I AM GOING TO MISS TEXAS SO MUCH.
However, I rejoice in the fact that the Lord has so much more prepared for me in Minnesota than I even realize right now. I can't wait to explore a new city, experience a different culture, and, most importantly: continue to cheer for the Cowboys, the Mavericks, the Stars and the Rangers. You can take me out of Texas, but you definitely can't take the Texas out of me! Texas will always be here, but I'm ready for the next adventure! Stay tuned for all the good things to come.
To Jesus through Mary,
My name is Rebecca. This blog is a documentation of my life as a missionary with Saint Paul's Outreach - in Minnesota, Florida, and everywhere in-between. Thanks for stopping by!