Thursday in Texas

by Sarah Luna

I feel wonderfully blessed to be back in warm, sunny Texas. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Houston and saw the enduring flatness and felt the oppressive heat, I could finally breathe. The past four weeks in New York have been an incredible adventure, but they’ve been four weeks of constant worry, stress, and self-doubt. As I try to explain to my friends here, I’m still in survival mode.

The shuttle driver took me from IAH all the way to the A&M campus. He dropped me off with a friendly: “Looks like you’re home. I hope you enjoy your semester!” I couldn’t stop grinning. I made my way to Evans Library first. My friends were still in class, and I hadn’t had the time to think past the “getting to Texas” part to the “what do I do now that I’m here” part. I checked my email (a crucial part of being a grad student) and called Anthony to come get me. He picked me up in his shiny, silver Camaro (it’s new and snazzy). We headed to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to get wedding gifts.

It was so reassuring to be back. I think I talked his ear off while we were looking around. He was appalled to hear that I’d been an accidental vegetarian for the past two weeks.

We headed back to the apartment he shares with Tony and Wrangler. I couldn’t wait to see it. As he shows me around, Tony stealthily emerges from his room giving me the universal “shushing” signal. I’m afraid I still gave away his presence by staring at him as though he were mad. All of a sudden, he busts out his Nerf gun and starts shooting Anthony. Anthony grabs his and returns fire. They charge around the house and backyard while I just stand there stunned. I’d forgotten about the arms race.

Soon Wrangler gets home. As the four of us visit, I realize just how much I miss talking with them. In one hour, they catch me up on everything while at the same time exposing me to their immature boy humor. Side note: I know I’m in Texas when the real guns outnumber the Nerf guns in a boy’s apartment.

I craved real Texas meat for dinner, so we decided to go to the Chicken. Tony wanted to drive. His car can play music from a flash drive. He and Anthony dedicated this song to me. They sang along, windows down, and it was awesome. I love those boys so much.

Alicia was able to meet us at the Chicken where we had a lovely dinner just catching up. She and I had a lot to say about the students we TA. TAing…wow…yeah, that’s an experience. Summarizing Allyson paraphrasing Lara: “It’s interesting to see the average 20-year-old and compare with our over-achieving group.” This is what I get for surrounding myself with amazing peers.

I finished the night at the Hall. Anthony, Tony, and I squeezed into the Camaro (it was a little small back there) and got there around 9:15. As we showed up, we saw Susan and Dan and Tad–all ballroom dancers! They had just finished a lesson. Sarah H, Eric, Katy, Kelsey, Alicia, and Zane met us there. Sarah has a med school interview today, so I was really glad she was able to come out. It was good to catch up with everyone. I had lots of fun…except they didn’t play a waltz.

Got back to Allyson’s apartment at around midnight and slept on her couch. She made me waffles this morning, but I’ll write about that and all of Friday in Texas in my next post.

It’s so good to be back!