Thursday, May 6, 2010

From Cookie Cutter to Culture

Hello from Texas!

I have been delaying this post for a while, I was on quite a roll for a while- brimming with enthusiasm to share my adventure. Not to sound anti-climactic but I am often numb these days, not in a bad way. This journey is only beginning and in so many way I feel like I am in a cocoon phase- growing, re-defining myself, and slowing down...stay tuned.

This post starts off talking about my road trip and my initial thoughts on Dallas:

Months before I decided to move, I had a feeling (or maybe a self fulfilling prophecy) that I would be doing the dreaded drive from California to Texas. People who know me well know that I have limited attention span but worst of all, after over 7 years on the road for work, I learned to fall asleep easily in the motion of moving vehicles be it train, plane or car. I was worried that I would not only be bored, I would fall asleep at the wheel. I remember one time it got so bad, I opened my laptop and watched a movie while I drove. If you think that is dangerous, it was a life saver in terms of better than falling asleep at the wheel. Long story short, would I ever do it again? No. But it was an amazing opportunity to spend time with my dad (he did the first leg with me). Overall, most of the time I was a zombie (as my friend calls long distance driving by yourself a meditation on a roll). My sleeping patterns at night were restless (stopped in Phoenix, El Paso and Odessa) let alone stopping to meditate in the car in the heat was also not really an option. The last 2 hours of my drive, I was at wit's end as if my body knew I was almost there. During this time it rained A LOT. So much so, I really though this was how it was going to end. Everyone was driving 80 mph and every time a truck (pickup, big rig, or otherwise) passed by I lost all visibility and was driving on fate. The most rewarding part of the trip is arriving into Dallas and as if the rain was a sign of clarity, Dallas just showed up like it was next door. Long road trips in my opinion serves only one purpose to realize how far you have gone, that your new home is really within reach and that our world is very, very small. Tips? Drink lots of water (forces you to stop and take breaks, stretch, etc.), eat light, satellite radio, and pray.

When I got here, it was emotionally overwhelming. Thanks to my sister who helped me move in and also bring a piece of familiarity to a new world. Day after day, I meet people and find new things to do in Dallas that I find so delightful and I want to share some of it with you. You might wonder how I am able to discover all these things- through actively networking (looking for both jobs and new friends which as Rich would say, they will find you), keeping an open mind and just doing what I like best- being an anthropologist to understand what Dallas is, the people, and how I will fit in. Most of all, I wanted to share my change of heart. In 2008, I worked in Dallas for about a month. I never wanted to come back. Dallas to me was just highways, fast food places along the way and a place that lacked luster when it comes to culture, liberation, or otherwise. I could be further from the truth (with my free time, I realized from writing this blog, I want to write a book about the transformation of thoughts as I have moved from California to Texas so stay tuned- encouragements welcome). It probably helps that I found the cutest little neighborhoods...Here are some random things I have found to use as a resource if you visit:

I have yet to check it out, by nice to see a local farmers market...

People in Texas are proud and loyal folks. What better way to encourage growth than from within. Here is a group I volunteer with

Yoga, meditation? LA eat your heart out here...

Plug for El Paso: If you ever get the chance, El Paso was a hidden gem. There is not much to do there but the cultural irony in this town is fascinating and in so many ways reminds me of the Hispanic integration in Miami. It is a meeting place between Mexico, New Mexico and Arizona. Food wise, the Mexican food is authentic and tells such a rich story of people, survival and love...Ask me about it sometime. Check out Crisotomo and

ps I realize though I have a love for food, I didn't want this blog to turn into just a food blog but more of a way for my friends and family back home to keep track of my progression. If you want more info about my food adventures, ask me about my Yelps.

Next post will be about what I do with my free time (besides job searching)- volunteering, giving back to the community and dancing.

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