Ever since I was born, I lived in Florida. Sure, I had excursions in other places, but I never “lived” in another state. I completed grade school in Florida and went to the University of Florida for undergrad. Florida is its own beast. It’s where the weird events happen, the place where Florida Man originated, the house to many alligators, and even the place where Disney World is located. It’s honestly unreal when you first approach it, but you get used, especially when you’ve lived there your entire life.
From the perspective of a Floridian, I can assure that Texas is its own beast, too. It seems like a hot place with cowboy hats, BBQ, and also an undeniable love for football. Texas A&M is also a very unique place. That is why I’ve created a list of things about Texas that have especially stood out to me.
One of the first Texan things I encountered after moving here was the dry heat. In Florida, I was so used to the extreme humidity, but nowadays, I can’t even tell when it’s humid anymore. When I first came here, I immediately realized how dry it is. Yes, I was used to the high temperatures but not to the dry heat. To be fair, I’m also not the best at drinking enough water, which can really be detrimental to my health now that I am exposed to this extreme weather.
At first, I was not able to stay outside for long. The other frustrating thing was that my hands were becoming so dry that they would even bleed sometimes. It was annoying because, for the first time ever, I had to start using lotion, which would not even work at times. Eventually, my body began adapting to the environment, and my hands weren’t as dry anymore. What does stink, though, is how little it rains here. I love the sound of rain and how the environment smells after a storm. It’s so dry here that it makes me miss the rain a lot more.
Another transition I had to face was adapting to the culture of TAMU. AT UF, we weren’t as ingrained in traditions as TAMU is. There weren’t trees where you can’t walk without a lover, phrases that each class says, Midnight Yell, and many others that I still don’t fully understand. We had our quirks, yes, but I don’t really think of them as traditions. I first visited here in February for a grad student invitational, and I had briefly heard about all the traditions. I hardly thought of it since then, but when I got here and started interacting with the TAMU community, I realized how important culture is here. And, honestly, it is interesting to learn about it. I hope that I can participate in some of them after this pandemic is over.
To be honest, I thought I would be seeing a lot more people wearing old western outfits like collared shirts with jeans and cowboy hats than I have. When I came for the grad invitational, I visited a bar here and did see a lot of guys in cowboy hats in regular outfits. I thought I would see more hats like those in the grocery store here, but, to my surprise, I haven’t seen a single person wore one since I moved. It’s kind of disappointing because I love the old western aesthetic. Hopefully, once the pandemic is over, I can go to other bars and find more hats.
Something refreshing here is not having weird incidents like in Florida. When I say this, I mean Florida Man incidents. I was used to hearing about different crimes and weird news stories back in undergrad school. But there’s hardly anything here, and, honestly, it’s nice not having to feel secondhand embarrassment for the state I live in.
There’s also a bunch of little things that I’ve noticed too. For example, everyone here says sir or ma’am, something that is really not common in Florida. Also, there’s a lot of chicken fingers; I had never seen so many. And finally, there are no crazy drivers. Besides all that I have described, Texas is not totally different from Florida. I’d honestly thought that I was going to have a hard time adjusting to living here, but, to my surprise, it has been almost effortless. And while the pandemic has affected the process, when it’s safe to do so, I’m really excited to explore more of Texas.