Sorry for being quiet over the month of December and most of January, I spent Christmas with my extended family in Southern California and found it difficult to write. Christmas was fun, and I had a great time with my family despite missing my parents and grandparents terribly. Orange County is always a place I love visiting, and it was nice to escape the large, sprawling, tarmacked area I’m currently calling home and see my family and the ocean. I was also able to catch up with a friend who is studying just up the road from where my Aunt and Uncle live. Finally, since my family are British ex-pats, I was able to get my fill of British culture and food.
All is well now though, as my ‘rents arrived in the US of A and I spent the past two weeks or so with them since they landed on New Year’s Eve before they left on Friday. After staying in California for a few days together, we travelled to Texas where we road-tripped around the state. We saw Fort Worth, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio, Austin, and finished up near campus in Dallas. Having only been to Houston before, it was nice to see some of the state outside of the Metroplex.
The trip overall was fun, Corpus Christi was a ‘mist-out’ and Houston was a ‘wash-out’ but apart from that we had good weather, and the city I enjoyed most of all is San Antonio. Unlike many American cities, San Antonio takes pride in its history and through its life as a city, it has always sought to protect rather than tear down historical buildings and landmarks. This means there’s a lot more history there than in many American cities, especially those in the South West, so as a history buff I felt right at home. We took an open-topped tour bus around the very cold city and learnt a great deal about the history of the wonderful city. I ticked something off the list of things I wanted to do in Texas when I saw the Alamo and got to spend my mother’s birthday with her at the top of the Tower of the Americas and exploring the famous river walk. (The river being re-filled from its annual clean the day before).
Everything that’s good about San Antonio is a list of what’s good about Texas as a whole: the history, the food, the weather, the people, and the diverse culture. During our time there we took in Tex-Mex, art and history museums, and a light show that was an art installation projected onto the walls of a Church in the city. What I’m starting to realize very quickly about Texas is that it’s so much more than many outsiders think it is. Sure, there are plenty of churches and pick-up trucks and cowboys but there is also world-class art museums, and a rich tapestry of peoples, food and culture. There are landscapes and environments as varied as America as a whole, from the humid and swamp-like coastal areas around the Gulf of Mexico to the lush and green rolling hills surrounding Austin that make up the hill country.
This road-trip has made me fall in love with the state of Texas, and whilst I’m still ambivalent towards UTA (in the sense of feeling stuck on campus) I’m starting to enjoy Texas more and more. Sorry for not sharing pictures, something happened to my camera memory card and I lost almost all of my holiday snaps!