All under one roof

The Texas Story Project.

Being in the Christmas season, it was time to pick out a Christmas tree. My family and I drove to the garden center where rows and rows of Christmas trees stood waiting to be picked, filling the air with a crisp pine smell. We searched for what felt like hours until we found the perfect tree. We gestured to the tree we wanted to a man who worked there. He then looked at us with a confused face, as he spoke Spanish back to us. As an all around American that gets nervous around Spanish speakers, it was a little problematic trying to communicate with him, so we did our best to play a little version of charades until the man understood what we needed.

That in itself is only the beginning of how diversity is intertwined with almost everything I do in the place I like to call home. For anyone that can be any place from the mountains of Colorado to the shimmering city-line of New York, but for me it’s the Lone Star state itself, to be more specific: With its contemporary shopping centers, bustling downtown area and charming places to enjoy a nice meal any time of the day. One place has it all; Houston. All under its lively roof are roughly 2.3 million people and varieties of people from different cultures, that all have something to share with our constantly growing city. This one integrated city captures the very essence of what it means to be in a world where different can be better.

Because I live in Houston I believe it makes me appreciate all the different cultures from around the world that you experience in your everyday life. Whether you’re visiting a Greek festival, listening to Latin bands play, or going out to dinner at a Chinese restaurant, wherever you feel like traveling to in the comfort of your own city, Houston has you covered.

Since the day I was born I have lived in Houston all my life. I have barely been out of Houston for longer than a week and frankly, I have all I need to experience the world all in one day. I remember one cold winter Sunday I had to accompany my mom with some errands. We started out at target needing to get soap and Christmas decorations. As we ran through each row in the store I had already seen a Hispanic mother with her four kids trying to fit them all in one cart, and a couple with traditional clothing with beaded designs floral patterns and vibrant colors passing on our right. It amazes me when I see the diversity of Houston just by stepping outside of my house, when once upon a time there would be a barrier between race religion, and cultures. So many times do I experience something different with culture through my life that it almost becomes a regular part of my life, that I don’t even recognize how lucky I am to live in a country that we all can be a part of experiencing each other’s cultures.

As I have experienced so many cultures throughout my life, one culture I particularly love experiencing, Hispanic culture. It’s so lively and colorful you can’t help but dance to the songs that you don’t even know the words to. I once was invited to a Quinceanera, and even though it was four years ago it still was the coolest celebration I have ever been to. Ingrained in my brain was: the smell of authentic Mexican food flooding my nose as I walked into a brightly lit room full of balloons streamers and rhythmic music in the background. Already the room was getting quite packed, still leaving room on the dance floor, and the party had yet to start. Until the girl that the Quinceanera was for walked into the room wearing a beautiful vibrant green color, floor length dress, with her hair pulled back into a bun with flowers draped throughout it. The celebration went very late but the energy never died, it was like fireworks on a constant loop displaying beautiful colors, while being very loud at the same time. It was truly amazing the colors the tastes the smell all of it as real as it comes.

While we don’t recognize it sometimes It only takes a second to be in another’s world, to see what they see, to taste what they taste, to hear what they hear. One second and that life you were living pauses to turn into another with a single change of music, dances, and food. Until the earth stands still Houston will continue to be the fast paced, melting pot, accepting what can be different; but better.

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