From New Jersey to Texas

The Texas Story Project.

In January 2017 my parents broke the news to me: we would be moving to San Antonio, Texas that summer.  I had lived in New Jersey for my whole life, nineteen years. All of my friends and family lived close by and I instantly began to think that maybe I had taken that for granted. All of a sudden I was going to be 1,800 miles and a time zone away from the place I called home.

I had six months to adjust to the news. On August 1, 2017, we left our house and began the 24-hour drive from Middletown, New Jersey to San Antonio, Texas. Although I was incredibly sad to be leaving this part of my life behind, I tried to look at this move as an adventure and the start of a new chapter in my life. Before we moved, I had never been to a state west of Indiana. My family's relocation to Texas would give me an opportunity to see parts of the country that I had never been exposed to before. I also knew moving to Texas would give me the opportunity to see cultural differences.

Although it may seem obvious, the first difference I noticed was the unrelenting South Texas heat. I have always loved the warm summer weather, but now I didn't have the beach fifteen minutes away to provide some relief from the heat.  The next big difference I noticed came in late October for Dia de Los Muertos. One day, I went into our local H-E-B and was surprised to see an entire section dedicated to Dia de Los Muertos decorations. In New Jersey, we had learned about the Day of the Dead in our Spanish classes, but that was it. In South Texas, there are parades, decorations, and celebrations for this holiday. Another cultural difference was brought to my attention by my dad. He told me that it is acceptable to wear boots in a professional setting and they are considered "Business Professional". This simply would not be heard of in the northeast. But as it is a part of the culture, men and women wear boots both casually, and in the workplace. One thing that I have noticed and truly appreciated about Texas, is how much Texans love their state. When I had friends visit, they noticed that everywhere there is an American flag, there is usually a Texas flag flown beside it. The people who live in Texas truly love it and are proud of its history and unique culture.

San Antonio also has many tourist attractions that my family checked out when we first moved here. We went to the Alamo, the Riverwalk, and La Villita. By visiting these places, I have gained a greater appreciation for the history that surrounds me in my new home. The place that interests me the most is the Alamo. I did not learn about the Alamo in school as many Texans do during their middle and high school years. So I learned about it by visiting it. I learned about the history and what happened at the Battle of the Alamo. Every time I see the Alamo I am amazed at how it has been preserved while downtown San Antonio has grown around it. This has also piqued my interest in the other missions around San Antonio.

Although I am still adjusting to living so far from my family and friends who I grew up with, I am coming to love Texas. I am thankful to have moved so far from my family at a time where we have the technology to make communication so easily. Through texts, calls, and FaceTime, I am able to talk to my friends and family and it feels as if they are not so far away.

Emma Bodisch is a Sophomore at St. Mary's University. She and her family moved from New Jersey to Texas in August, 2017 after living in the northeast for twenty years.

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