The Big Move:
You can take the girl out of Texas, but you can’t take Texas out of the girl.
By Zainab Zaman
Boston is a bustling city filled with winning sports teams, American history, and breathtaking scenery, and it’s a city filled with countless adventures that are yet to be explored. For me, however, it’s missing something. Boston isn’t home–at least, not yet.
I’m from the city most known for the famous line uttered on the Apollo 13 space mission: “Houston, we have a problem.” Other than creating superstars like Beyonce, Hilary Duff, and Megan Thee Stallion, Houston is, according to US News, one of the top 10 most diverse cities in America, and that diversity is best represented by food.
With some of the best Tex-Mex, barbecue, Vietnamese, and other cuisines right at my fingertips, it’s no surprise that I miss the warm familiarity of home. (Emphasis on the warm!)
So, as the days start to get shorter and the months get colder, the realization that I’m thousands of miles away from home really sets in. I can’t say I miss the sweltering heat and humidity that Texas gets even in October, and I love the autumn breeze sweeping through my hair as I walk along Commonwealth Avenue– and the added length to the sweater-wearing season is an added plus.
The crisp air makes the walks all the more enjoyable, and living in a walkable city allows me to feel connected to Boston at large. While I do miss the feeling of getting in my car and driving around midtown back in Houston, the accessibility of public transportation here in Boston makes getting around the city a breeze.
In the last month I’ve been getting used to Boston, I’ve been searching around for little pockets of home to get that feeling of familiarity. The Lone Star Taco Bar, with locations in Allston and Cambridge, lets me enjoy the delicious Mexican food that reminds me of back home. Even the name is an homage to Texas, which is known nationally as the “Lone Star State.”
The restaurant also even has “Texas cook off” style chili that reminds me of the chili you can get anywhere in San Antonio. Coming from the south, barbecue tailgates are huge, and I can’t say I was satisfied with BU’s “tailgate” for the girls' soccer game back in September. This is when I came across Larry’s BBQ Cafe with its very own “Texas Bold BBQ” sauce that jolted me into the local tailgates for the weekly Friday night lights.
Beyond searching for the taste of home, I was looking for peace. Walking around Brookline offered me that feeling. Coolidge Corner is a mere ten-to-fifteen-minute walk from campus, but is an easy escape from the cacophony of noises on Commonwealth Ave.
At Coolidge Corner, you can find small ice cream shops and independent bookstores reminiscent of Rice Village in Houston. This corner has both the bustle of a big city, and the quaintness of a small town. Walking around there still feels like Boston, but it presents a calmer atmosphere that reminds me of home.
As I walked farther into Brookline, and past the shops full of people, I reached a residential neighborhood and found houses with large lawns and basketball hoops, kids playing catch in the front yard and the reflections of TV’s on in the window. The sounds of laughter, chatter, and the sound of rustled leaves filled the air, and I was filled with a feeling of nostalgia.
At the end of the day, I realized that I couldn't find my “Houston home” in Boston–that place is 1,850.6 miles away, right where I left it. In reality, I was chasing a feeling that's almost impossible to replicate. Home is what you make of it, and now I’m making the city of Boston mine while carrying my Texas spirit with me.
I won’t stop saying “y'all” or craving Whataburger, but in the meantime, I’m learning the rules of hockey and enjoying the occasional lobster roll. Texas will always be my home–I’ll continue to find pieces of it in Boston (although I doubt there’s a rodeo here)–and who knows, maybe I’ll search for pieces of my Boston home wherever I end up next!