Love letter to Lubbock:
I don’t belong here. That’s what I thought when I first moved to Lubbock. I thought to myself, I’m just a punk kid coming to get a Ph.D. at Texas Tech University.
At that time, my degree was the most important thing I needed to accomplish in the next three years.
Well, that all changed pretty quickly.
I was sitting in the storefront of a local oil-change business getting my car’s oil changed. This was before I discovered the convenience of sitting in my car while the work was being done. A gentleman approached me without missing a beat and asked me what I thought about Texas Tech’s performance the night before. They had pummeled a shoddy Kansas Jayhawks football team, and this man, understandably, was excited about Texas Tech’s football potential that season.
It didn’t matter that I was on my phone trying to ignore the world.
It didn’t matter that he didn’t know me.
It didn’t matter that Texas Tech wouldn’t live up to our overzealous expectations.
This gentleman’s gesture was emblematic of the West Texas culture. A gesture that doesn’t happen in other parts of the country. Certainly not where I’m from.
West Texas may be known for its dust storms, or volatile weather patterns. Hell, these days it’s even known for having a basketball team that made it to the national championship (Guns Up!). But, four years ago while visiting the campus for the first time, I had no idea the “southern” hospitality I had only known in the movies was overly represented in an otherwise relatively forgotten area of the country.
Fortunately for West Texas, beauty is a wonderfully relative term. And my goodness is it beautiful out here.
But here’s the catch, Lubbock doesn’t have the beauty that is captured by sight. Lubbock’s beauty comes from the hospitality, congeniality and “neighboresque” conversations like the one I had while getting my oil changed.
I initially thought I was going to be here for three years. I thought to myself, get in, get your degree, get out. Well, so far only two of those things are true, and the degree is yet to be one of them. I didn’t know that coming to Lubbock for a Ph.D. was the second most important thing I came for.
Not only did I stay a fourth year willingly, I had to fight for funding in order to stay immersed in some of the friendliest culture this country has to offer.
Unfortunately, I am leaving this beautiful town.
Opportunity doesn’t always knock where we want it to, but it calls us where we are needed. And for now, I’m needed elsewhere.
That doesn’t mean I will soon forget my time here in Lubbock, Texas, the dusty, isolated, wind-ridden, beautiful town. In fact, I pray regularly I can take the best parts of the isolated, wind-ridden, beautiful town with me to my new opportunity, even if it means bringing a little West Texas dirt along the way.
After all, the Lubbock hospitality is the most important thing I came for. I just didn’t know it at the time.