1. Texas apparel
My first week in Japan when I lived abroad, my coordinator took me and fellow teachers out for a night of karaoke and general expat debauchery. Even in semi-rural Japan, I spotted a 6th Street T-shirt from Austin on a Japanese man in front of a convenience store. Not too many “Don’t mess with Texas” shirts are flooding the planet, but there are still traces of Texas in the form of Texas Rangers baseball caps, University of Texas gear, and shirts like the one I saw. And whenever I see Texas fan apparel, I feel homesick.
2. The right combination of smells
For me, petrichor — the smell of the earth after a long rain — in the autumn, will always remind me of Octobers in Dallas, when the leaves are soaked but their odors still rise after baking in the Texas heat. For others, it may be smelling the dry air in the desert, or someone smoking pot to make Texan stoners reminisce about summer days in Austin amongst the hippies.
3. When your stomach rumbles
There are some cravings that simply can’t be satisfied without returning to Texas. Where else in the world are you going to find suitable breakfast tacos? BBQ? Chicken fried steak? Some of you may think you’re in love with cuisine elsewhere in the country and around the world, but there will come a day (or several) for a Texan when nothing but food from the Lone Star State can make us happy.
4. Major holidays
Spending December holidays in Texas and celebrating July 4th with barbeques in the park leaves you with a longing for the familiar when major holidays start approaching. It’s never quite the same when Christmas comes and you’re spending it someplace that actually gets snow, or March 2nd (Texas Independence Day) rolls around and there’s not a Texas flag in sight.
5. Meeting another Texan
Just recently, I came across someone from El Paso at a comedy club in Tokyo. We grabbed a pint and started a conversation about the things we missed (and didn’t miss). Those thoughts may have laid dormant for weeks, or even months, but when other Texans are around, you can’t help but long for home.
6. During a long drive
For Texans, watching the world zip by as you’re sitting in a car will be a throwback to your childhood: stopping in West for kolaches, camping in Palo Duro Canyon, looking at the sunset after a day on the road.