I come from a place where it would rain 9 out of 12 months, snow during winters, and on many occasions the sun would shine, it would rain, hail and go back to being sunny again all in one day. The PNW was my home for the last 22 years but now Houston is where I call home. I thought I’d always live in Oregon with my family but when my mom moved to Atlanta it opened my eyes to so much more this world has to offer.
Why Houston? I wanted something different where I could feel out of place but comfortable at the same time and I’ve gained that here. I drove from Corvallis, Oregon all the way to Houston, Texas for this program and as soon as I got here I could already see that there are so many differences between the two. So much more food to enjoy, the weather is completely new to me, I can go down the street and find a beauty shop with everything I need, the crisscrossed highways and the main thing that stood out to me was the diversity of the city. Oregon as a whole isn’t comparable. I can admit, it was a tough transition moving because I didn’t know anyone, I don’t have family here and everything was completely new to me. There were many times where I would get depressed because I would see my friends back home together, and family gatherings that I couldn’t attend because I was now so far away. How was I going to get out of this slump, how do I meet people, will I ever get out of the house?
A few things I did was first, since I am in a historically black sorority, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. I attended Greek life events that took place on campus to try and connect to other members of my sorority as well as our council as a whole and I was able to link with a few people, exchange numbers and start building connections there. This was very helpful for me because they were like my first life line for where are the good spots to eat, best grocery stores, places to get my car looked at if I have any problems, hair salons, and all sorts of things that I wouldn’t have known on my own. Second, I was able to connect with people in my cohort for class. I feel this was a lot easier because we were together for class every time and we started to get familiar with one another and through this I am able to talk to them about anything because we grew closer.
Third, I took the initiative to get out of my comfort zone a little bit and just went out and did things on my own in order to familiarize myself with what’s around me. Don’t get me wrong I still don’t know my way around everywhere; GPS is my best friend but just driving around downtown, or around my apartment to just see what’s out there was helpful. And when I had family or friends come to visit from out of town I was able to take them around and even more so this time get out and walk around with them to experience the nitty gritty. Lastly, this doesn’t really apply to everyone but I needed to look for a part-time job and through that, the coworkers I have are extremely nice and are always telling me about events that are coming up, giving advice on things and just helping me when I need it.
I have been in Houston for 8 months now and I still have my days where I just go to class, come home and stay the rest of the day, or spend my weekends watching sports all day, I enjoy that. Some of the things I’ve been able to do have been attending many Greek events, checking out bars and different clubs, shopping in the Galleria and seeing the water wall. The zoo is free for UH students so I went there as well. I am a sports fanatic and one of the most exciting things I got to do was attend the Super Bowl experience down at the Discovery Green park and see everything that it had to offer. I’ve learned that it’s going to take some time to get acquainted with such a big city as Houston and I’m excited to do so because it’s never ending and I’m always down for something new to get out and experience.
Written by Queen Dash