Darlene Campos Pens A Love Letter To Houston

BY: DARLENE CAMPOS

 

Houston.

It’s the city my parents settled in almost 27 years ago. It’s the place where I was born, the place I was fortunate to grow up in, the place where I went to college, and the place where I still live today.

How long does it take you to get to work in the morning? It takes me just a few minutes because I’m lucky to live close by - but at my former job, it took me almost two hours. And it was only sixteen miles away. What can I say? Morning traffic.

How big is Houston? My boyfriend lives about an hour away from me. If I drive to his place from mine, I still wouldn’t reach George Bush Intercontinental Airport because I would need to drive even further. IT'S THAT BIG.

And, it’s getting bigger. More people have moved here. The traffic is worse. But it’s still home. For me, Houston will always be home.

It’s home because of its rich diversity. If I want Korean food for breakfast, Lebanese for lunch, and Cuban for dinner, it’s totally possible in Houston. There are 145 languages spoken here. There are Cuban festivals, Palestinian festivals, Japanese festivals, Greek festivals, African festivals – more than you can think of. And we all love Houston just the same.

It’s home because of its love for the literary world. Inprint brings writers like Sandra Cisneros, George Saunders, and Ann Patchett. WITS hires writers to teach creative writing in public schools, prisons, and hospitals. Brazos Bookstore, Blue Willow Bookshop, Becker’s Books, and Kaboom Books are just a handful of indie bookstores Houston has to offer.

It’s home because of its museums. The Houston Museum of Natural Science once had the Magna Carta, the Museum of Fine Arts Houston brought Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night and the Health Museum is now hosting Bodyworlds. The Children’s Museum is a giant building where kids have loads of fun and they learn without even noticing. The Holocaust Museum educates and pierces your heart no matter how many times you go. We have over 150 museums here. We love learning and learning loves us.

It’s home when I’m stuck in traffic.

It’s home when I get the finger, even though I was the one who got cut off.

It’s home when I can’t find a parking spot at Hermann because I was dumb enough to go on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s home when the news says there’s been another shooting, another kidnapping, another robbery, another child missing.

It’s home when the Texas Medical Center and the oil industries announce more layoffs.

It’s home when I drive by the big “We Love Houston” sign off I-10.

No matter what happens.

Houston is my home.