Battling homesickness for adventure

It’s the little things that make my eyes water and my stomach clench.

Sweat beads on the brow of my lip at 10 a.m. The crunch of a flour tortilla as beans and homemade salsa gush into my mouth. Stetsons and ranchero boots galore. I miss gaudy turquoise jewelry on old women; seeing faded Selena posters at every Mexican restaurant in the city while “Coma La Flor” plays in the background; and seeing the San Antonio Spurs logo slapped on everything from T-shirts to tattoos.

They’re the sights, sounds, tastes and smells that are home to me.

A very close look at people during this time of year is bound to reveal a teary eye or a wistful sigh from someone in a crowd. Homesickness is creeping into newbies at UAA.

While it’s easy to call a friend or family member to remind oneself of home or to seek out, in my case, the closest Mexican restaurant serving bean and cheese tacos, I have to remind myself not to always go for the easy fix. Because, sometimes, in mournful bouts of missing the familiar, I can forget that Anchorage is a beautiful city.

I left San Antonio for probably the same reasons other people leave home. I wanted to be in a new city to have new experiences and meet new people. I wanted to eat strange food and see foreign sights and hear people talk without a Texas twang in their voice. I wanted an adventure to look back on when I’m an old woman.

In the three weeks since I’ve been here, I’ve climbed a 5,184-foot mountain, seen five moose and two black bears, played Frisbee golf in a beautiful park, started working for a new student-run publication, had terrible tasting food and met a lot of interesting people.

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Despite the unexpected homesickness, coming to Anchorage is already the adventure I was expecting. Remembering that will likely be the difference between crying myself to sleep in the winter and strapping a pair of skis to my feet for a day of exploring trails.

All of us homesick puppies on campus probably thought filling the tank with gas or hopping on an airplane would be the hardest part of leaving home.

As it turns out, the hardest part is walking out the front door in search of the adventures Anchorage might be hiding.

But, if the past three weeks are telltale enough, the effort will most definitely be worth recanting to other old ladies around the bridge table someday.