Now, please don't laugh or make fun of me, but here is the second essay that I submitted with my application to UT. The prompt was to choose an issue of importance and explain its significance to yourself, your family, your community or your generation. The "issue" I chose was about finding a place to call home; but in all actuality, it's basically about the reasons why I love Texas!
Cowboy hats, cowboy boots and the Dallas Cowboys. Blue skies, blue bonnets and Blue Bell Ice Cream. Long summer days, longhorn cattle and, of course, the Longhorns. These are a few of my favorite things about the great state of Texas – the place I call home.
A native Texan, I was born in Houston and lived there for the first nine years of my life. I moved with my family to Cleveland, Ohio, in 1991; and although I spent most of my formative “growing-up” years in that state, it never really felt like home. The summer of 1999 found our family moving back to Texas, this time to the suburbs of Dallas. Since graduating from Carroll Senior High School in Southlake, I have had the opportunity to live in and visit various cities across the globe. None of these cities, however, have been able to replace the love that I have for my home state of Texas.
For four years, Utah became my temporary place of residence while I attended Brigham Young University. I lived in Spain for a year and a half while serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I have vacationed in Mexico and Canada. I have traveled to London and Paris. I have been to cities across the United States. In all my travels and living circumstances, though, I was always grateful that I could go "home” to Texas.
Never before had I realized how much I loved Texas than when I was living in California. As a teenager, I repeatedly told my parents that I would one day live in Los Angeles. It was almost a threat at times – “I'm moving to LA to be a beach bum!" – which was invariably followed by a litany of reasons why no one should ever live in California ("The traffic! The taxes!”). However, I was stubborn in my determination to some day live in California, imagining it to be a wonderland of sun, surf and sophistication.
Upon graduating from BYU, I finally had the opportunity to fulfill my adolescent dream of living in California. I moved to the City of Angels in September 2007 to begin an internship at a prestigious public relations firm. I moved there not knowing a soul, but hoping that I would be able to build a life and a career in the city. I will admit that I had a very romanticized view of LA – an obscene amount of movies, books, TV shows and magazines had facilitated the preconceived idea of how my life would be living in Los Angeles. I had always pictured myself living in the big city, going to work in a downtown office in chic clothes, and enjoying the fast-pace atmosphere of city life. For as long as I can remember, that was my dream, my goal, what I aspired to and what I thought I wanted. I lived in Los Angeles for nine months before I realized that my adolescent fantasy was just that – a fantasy. It shocked me to discover that my big city adventure was not what I wanted. True, the taxes are high and the traffic is horrendous; but more than that, California did not feel like home.
I made the choice to leave the Hollywood hills and return home to the wide open spaces of my native Texas. To return home to the hot summers and cool winters. To return home to the hometown camaraderie and school traditions. To return home to the “hey y’all”-s and “yes, ma’am”-s. To return home to the place where the stars at night are big and bright. To return home to the place where I feel like I belong.
I truly believe that everyone should find a place that they can call home. For me, my home is Texas.