When it comes to Denison, Texas the first thing that came to mind was to google it and figure out where in the world this “Denison” place was. Upon further research I found out two important details-

  1. It was the birthplace of Eisenhower.
    That’s pretty cool, right? I’ll definitely have to check that out.
  2. It’s approximately an hour north of Dallas.
    Well, alright I suppose that means I can swing by Dallas on the weekends from time to time if there’s nothing to do here…. Let me go ahead and say it- there’s nothing to do here on the weekends.

Just to give a general picture of Denison for my Augusta family back home- imagine a strange mix of Grovetown and Martinez, but slightly more spread out. You have much fewer niche shops and variety of culture is almost non-existent. While Sherman contains more of the typical commercial buildings, Sam’s, Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, etc, Denison tends to have that old-timey traditional feel. That is not to say the area does not have its redeeming factors. The idyllic views of rolling fields and cows grazing are something out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel and although the past few days have been gray and dreary, the autumn weather is in full swing and the pending nip of chill in the air is a reminder that winter will be here in no time at all. Was it everything I had ever dreamed it would be? I would be lying if I did not admit that I had my heart set on making it over to the west coast. However, as the week progresses and I get into the rhythm of work, I think I can learn to appreciate this sleepy town slowly, but surely.

Generally speaking, everyone I have had the chance to interact with has been quite amiable. What I did find strange was the peculiar lack of southern accents. The first day I came to the state and flew in from Dallas I was unable to find a single familiar southern accent between the airport, my hotel, and the McDonald’s where I decided to stop and grab a bite to eat, since it was one of the few places still open.

The hotel staff at the LaQuinta in Denison was everything and more than I expected out of your expected hotel visit. Not only was breakfast delicious every morning , but the front desk staff was especially gracious enough to help me with the finicky printer in the business center. However, as nice as it was to have breakfast ready for me and a clean and comfortable hotel room, it was especially difficult to relax too much knowing I had a busy week ahead of me. Aside from negotiations with the client, I was tasked with completing HR paperwork as well as recruiting. Along with this I also had to attend daily online meetings with work in order to ensure that I had a full grasp of what I should be aware in the new leadership role I was undertaking.

Simultaneously between the time I set out to travel and my stay at the hotel I managed to pick up a cold that has been keeping me from venturing out as much as I would like to. From what I picked up from the hotel staff, there are two places nearby that have live music on the weekends. One is called the Old Iron Post and located in the heart of downtown Sherman. The other is called Loose Wheels and is apparently a restaurant that was previously an old military radar tower. Hopefully once this cold blows over I’ll be able to check out both places.

The unfortunate side effect of traveling alone is the developing homesickness that results after the excitement of the actual travel has passed. Packing, boarding, flying, checking into my hotel, moving into my new apartment, were all exciting pieces of the traveling process, but at the end of the day you remember that all of your friends, family, and loved ones are many, many miles away. What was an easy 10 minute drive down the road to make a family dinner or grab a beer with a good friend becomes a methodically planned out flight home with the potential fall-through in the event that your work schedule, their work schedule, and free time in general doesn’t align. No matter how much they say things will change once you start traveling, nothing can truly prepare you for the slew of emotions you’ll experience along the way, and I know I’m personally just on the cusp of it all.

That being said, I’m looking forward to my first visit back home, which if not during the Christmas/New Year’s period, will be at the completion of my four month stay here in Texas. All of the calls, messages, and words of support are everything to me and knowing that I have such an abundance of love and encouragement is the best feeling in the world. Just know that I keep each and everyone of you in my prayers and vibes as much as you do for me.

One of the songs that came on my Spotify while I was doing some work in my hotel room was this song by Allen Stone called “Where You’re At”. Aside from the soulfully smooth tone of his voice, the simple yet profound lyrics of this song truly stood out to me.

“The best part of learning is just loving where you’re at.”