Monday, June 18, 2012

okay, this post got out of control. i'm sorry for all the anger and word vomit.


A few weeks ago, I went home for a weekend. I went to old familiar haunts with old friends I'll always love. I had hours-long lunches with my mom. I talked politics, economics, and how to get rid of spiders with my dad. (Okay, so I did ALL THE LISTENING in those conversations.) I went for long drives on back roads, and I enjoyed the ridiculous heat.

That weekend showed me something that I hadn't been ready to deal with yet.

I love DC. It's a wonderful, beautiful, diverse city that a history nerd like me can totally Nerd The Eff Out in.

But I miss Texas.  I miss my home. It's more than missing my friends and family (though that feeling is so strong and overwhelming that I feel like I could throw up). I miss the actual state of Texas. I miss the sprawling Metroplex where I grew up, I miss the huge blue skies that go on forever, I miss the bluebonnets in the spring, the not-real-winter winters, and the oppressive heat in the summer.

I miss the way you could drive for hours and never really leave home.

I miss sitting in the grass, listening to the music playing from the car, and drinking real sweet tea.

I miss the pride of being a Texan. I miss the feeling of being a "local."

No one in DC is a local. The things I thought I'd love about DC - the ever-changing population as people drift in and out from all over the world; the public transportation system; the plethora of attractions and free shit to do -- are all the things I hate now that I'm here.

And as a ridiculously independent, control-freak personality, I detest relying on the shoddy schedule of DC public transport. I just want to get in a car and be in control of when I'm going to arrive somewhere. No more bus drivers just parking the bus mid-route and wandering away! No more buses just never effing showing up! NO MORE.

Something I didn't see coming: I'm going through worse culture shock here in DC than I did when I spent 13 weeks in China.

I've tried to cope with it as best I can - I almost always have fresh biscuits and honey available for breakfast, I've given up on eating Mexican food or drinking sweet tea here (I'm sorry DC, but you just can't make them right), and I've been listening to all the country music I own. I'm even trying to remember the things I hated about Texas, that made me want to leave.

I've tried focusing on the positives, accepting the negatives, and moving on. And there ARE positives here - the bars serve better mixed drinks (I value this, since I don't drink a lot of beer), I actually know more of my neighbors here than I did back home (sorry, Texas, do better at this), and DC is waaaay more efficient at things like conserving water and having bike lanes. Because no one is a local, it feels like everyone is a nomad, and so everyone is good at accepting a fellow nomad with open arms.

But it's not enough. I say all this not knowing what my next step is - I'm thinking about moving back to Texas, but I'm not 100% sure that's the right step. I have a job and a lease here. I can't afford the outrageous moving costs again. So until I figure out what my next step is, I'm listening to songs that remind me of home on repeat.

Anyone else ever been through this feeling? How'd you cope?


  1. I interened in DC last summer and would LOVE to go back and live. Yet I'm stuck in Dayton, Ohio :(

  2. well, I've been stuck in College Station 2, going on 3++, years now after graduation. it sucks being stuck (luckily, I do have Christian to bear it with) -- so no advice, really. just the fact that you're not alone.

    I think you can make anything work, just depends on what you want in life! good luck :)

  3. I'm beginning to think that when your home is Texas, the homesickness never really goes away. It really isn't just a PLACE, it's a state of mind. Nowhere else in the country can you replicate Texas. Don't worry girl, I miss it fiercely too.

  4. I've lived in 5 states since I turned 18 (plus a foreign country) and I can so relate to your mindset. I've been feeling that way about California a little bit, although it's not out of dislike for Tennessee. After a few months (I can't remember how long you've been there?) you hit culture shock hard and start to idealize wherever you were before. You see all the highs, and gloss over the lows. That doesn't mean it isn't right for you to move back, or that staying longer in DC will see you setting into a new groove there. Only you know that. But it's survivable, I promise :)

  5. Literally the first thing I thought of when I started reading this -

    Like I said when I texted you earlier (not having read this!), I miss you lots. I know whatever you end up doing, you'll learn a lot and have experiences you couldn't have had any other way - that said, if you're still miserable in DC after giving it your best shot, change really might be necessary. <3 you, doll - stay strong. You'll figure it out when you figure it out and you don't need to do so any sooner than that.


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