Since my early childhood my parents have always told me to enjoy every part of my life, no matter how ordinary it may seem. Before the summer of 2005, I never thought that there was anything special about living in Sugar Land, Texas. To me the freeways, flat plains, and country music never seemed like anything I could ever miss. For the longest time all I wanted was to get out of Texas, but when I had the chance to leave, all I could think about was coming home again.

For most people spending three weeks traversing along the Tuscan countryside is a dream vacation. The rolling hills and breathtaking views have attracted tourists, including my family, to the Italian countryside for generations. During my first week abroad, I’ll admit that I soaked up the foreign atmosphere. The idea of a new and mysterious language, cuisine and culture fascinated me. For those seven days I was totally absorbed in becoming something I could never be- Italian.

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It was almost as if I wished to abandon my own heritage and identity for something new that had no relation to me at all.

At some point along the picturesque drive between Florence and Genoa, it hit me: I didn’t want to throw away who I was for any foreign wonders. I couldn’t deny the fact that Italy was a magnificent country, but I had no emotional connection with it. Sugar Land was my home, and it was where I belonged. From this pivotal moment on, all I yearned for was to return home. Every time a waiter served me gnocchi, I imagined it was a double cheeseburger from Original Eat’s. I no longer felt wonder and awe when touring the ancient Roman ruins; I just saw old rocks. The Italian countryside no longer felt magical and mysterious to me, and by that point, it was time to go home.

The nine-hour plane ride felt like an eternity, but once we touched down a tingling sensation spread throughout my body. I was finally home again, and I couldn’t wait to set foot into the beautifully muggy Sugar Land atmosphere! The entire ride home all I could notice was how amazing and gorgeous Texas really was. There was so much beauty hidden in each and every corner that I found it overwhelming. I’d never thought that I would miss Sugar Land, but coming home I realized that it was a true part of who I was. The flat, green land was the foundation of my spirit and the blue, Southern skies were the inspiration to my soul. I realized that I was truly Texan, and that all my surroundings had helped shape me into who I was.

I think it’s interesting how I could never identify with my home until I left it. Now I understand that the everyday parts of my life in Sugar Land are really the most prized treasures in my heart. Now looking back, all my time spent living in Sugar Land makes me smile. Living in Sugar Land has provided me with two important tools: my home, and my sense of myself. There’s no doubt that I would be completely different person if I had never moved to Sugar Land. There’s no place in the world that I identify with more than Sugar Land, and I think it’s like that for anyone who’s grown to love the city. The landscape, along with the people, has helped form every inch of my soul, mind and heart. For me, living in Sugar Land is more than just being in a place; its being somewhere that I call home. Now I can confidently say that being a Texan is who I am, and there’s no way I would ever change that.

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