The travel day to Falfurrias is always filled with excitement to experience Texas food and culture and an anxious desire to start the fieldwork. The travel day back to Indianapolis is usually different. The team is exhausted mentally and physically, they are ready to go home but they don’t want to leave and they have not had time to process the trip yet in the quiet and comfort of their own homes. All of which usually leaves team members feeling a little off. The travel day home is a transition from the long and demanding days in the field to their home lives in Indianapolis. I try to give them a final few Texas experiences before the team departs to Indy to keep their minds off the emotions they will experience leaving the field and the anxiety they will face thinking about classes starting tomorrow.
We spent the morning cleaning the minivan and packing everything up. After leaving the hotel we went to Sacred Heart Cemetery. We walked through the cemetery looking at the sections where exhumations had taken place since 2013. In area 1, Wilmer’s marker is still alone in the middle of the vast open space. I made sure to clean up any trash around the marker and add some flowers for him.
Then we picked up breakfast at Whataburger. You can’t leave Texas without trying a breakfast taquito and honey butter chicken biscuit. Everyone slept off and on the drive to San Antonio, which shows just how exhausted they are. Our first stop was the Alamo. It’s always nice to tour the gardens around the mission. Then we move to the River Walk, which is just across the street. The weather was beautiful and it was a nice way to stretch our sore muscles. Our last stop before the airport was Moses Rose’s Hideout for some delicious brisket.
Despite severe weather warnings, our flights were only minimally delayed and we were back in our own beds by midnight. Over the next few days we will continue to post and reflect on our trip to Brooks County. Thank you for reading about our work and your support.
Most of the team had never been to Texas before, so we decided to wake up early and do a little sightseeing before going to the airport. We loaded up the minivan and went to Whataburger for breakfast taquitos and honey butter chicken biscuits. There are no Whataburgers in Indiana and I wanted to make sure they got to try these famous breakfast staples of Texas. Then we said goodbye to Falfurrias and started the drive to San Antonio.
We started at the Alamo and then made our way to the River Walk. I’ve always felt that this last day is a way to buffer the emotions of ending our work in the Texas Borderlands. These trips are both physically and mentally exhausting for the team. Additionally, these experiences are often intense and push them out of their comfort zones in terms of evaluating their place in a system of privilege and power. It’s not until they slow down that they truly begin to grasp the magnitude of the situation and what they have experienced.
We enjoyed brisket for lunch at Moses Rose’s Hideout and then tres leches cake at Rosario’s. We kept an eye on the radar because severe storms were moving across the Midwest, but we only had minor delays. And then just like that we were back in Indiana. The students are taking the day off to rest, recover and reflect on their experiences. Again, this is often necessary as they begin to consider the fact that they can just leave the border and return to the lifestyles that afford them comfort and security.
Please continue to visit the blog for the next week as we reflect upon our experiences. Thank you for following our journey and supporting us along the way.