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?