Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Deep in the Heart of Texas

We arrived in Texas last Wednesday afternoon, leaving the cold and snow (yes, snow!) of Jordan behind us. Our trip to Houston was uneventful except for the serendipitous meeting of a friend in the Paris airport. She was coming from Turkey, on her way home to Houston, and was on our flight. (Turns out she attends a church right near the campus where Oldest Daughter will be auditioning this week and we will be able to connect during the week.)

Passing through immigration at the Houston International Airport, we waited in the foreigners line with our friend who flew from Amman with us. Compared to the US citizens line, the foreigners line was so somber and quiet. Yes, Americans are, in general, loud, compared to rest of the world, a fact that doesn’t chagrin me anymore as I’ve recovered from my Ugly American complex. And we watched a great Welcome to the United States video as we waited in the immigration line. Lots of smiling faces. Americans are friendly. And Texans are very friendly. Within an hour of our arrival two Texan women had not only answered questions for me but had also offered me their phone numbers in case I might need more help in the future!

From Houston, we drove to Austin. Travel advisory: Don’t plan to drive three+ hours in a strange place after 24 hours of international travel. I had overlooked the fact that I would have been up for nearly two full days with just a couple hours of airplane sleep. Add to that mix, rain, and a dark sky for most of the journey and, all things considered we probably should have spent the night in Houston. By God’s grace we made it to Austin about ten at night, and that only with frequent rest (literally) stops.

A dear friend, a lovely Texan woman who recently moved from Amman, hosted us in Austin, generously cooking us yummy meals, showing us around, and introducing us to catfish (melts in your mouth) and hushpuppies ( a sort of southern falafel made with cornmeal instead of chickpeas). Austin seems a lovely city, though we didn’t take a lot of time to see it. Oldest daughter needed to keep up her practice regime before her audition last Saturday.

And though we didn’t tour the entire UT campus (40 acres), we did visit the music building twice. On Friday night Oldest Daughter had a consultation with the professor whose studio she auditioned for. I was reminded anew that application to music school at this level is not for the faint of heart. The admission process is three-pronged: Oldest Daughter must be accepted into the university, into the school of music, and into the studio of a particular instructor. The first two are fairly straightforward, however it is the last level which becomes very competitive. Oldest Daughter felt the audition went well, however no indication is given by the jury, and results will not be known until March. For the years and years of hard work, prospective students have but ten minutes to demonstrate their ability.

By Saturday night, post-audition, Oldest Daughter and I were pretty exhausted, both physically and emotionally. How wonderful it was to go church on Sunday morning and be encouraged by God’s Word and the fellowship of His people. Not to mention singing praises to Him, declaring His faithfulness and sovereignty. There are so many opportunities for fear and anxiety to gain a foothold but we were reminded anew of His perfect goodness.

Today we returned to Houston where we’ll be staying until next week. We find ourselves again enjoying the hospitality of yet more friendly Texans, whom we have just met for the first time (they are friends of friends). We are staying in their “quarters”, a lovely studio apartment above the garage. Oldest Daughter’s next audition is Friday. Thanks to those of you who are praying for Oldest Daughter. We appreciate you all!

1 comment:

Bonnie Jacobs said...

Come on over to Bonnie’s Books (http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2008/02/awards-ceremony-dress-appropriately.html). Dress up because I’m having an awards ceremony complete with gala. And do bring along your acceptance speech, though the producers are asking that each person receiving an award please limit your speech to five minutes ... save your longer comments for your own blog, when you pass along the award(s).