Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I find tradition warm and comforting, like how curling up in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book is warm and comforting, likely because my aversion to change gently redirects me toward familiar activities and behaviors.

Throughout the last 7.5 years (how long Tom and I have been married), and even more so throughout the last five years (how long Tom and I have been parents), I’ve worked hard to build a tradition-rich life for my family. By incorporating traditions from Tom’s childhood, traditions from my childhood, and brand new traditions created with my children in mind, we’ve established ways of celebrating holidays, special occasions, and milestones both big and small that feel beautiful and authentic to all four of us, and to our extended families as well.

Moving has always been difficult for me (again with my aversion to change). I have found, however, that learning about the traditions in/of my new city, school, workplace, etc. – and then slowly incorporating my favorites into my life/our lives – helps me adjust and feel more at home. I cheer for the local professional sports teams, sing the university fight songs, stock up on university and local apparel, and learn how the locals speak.

Texas A&M University is widely considered one of the most tradition-rich schools in the country. From the first moment of freshman year orientation (Fish Camp), TAMU students are taught to respect and honor “the Spirit of Aggieland” and are supported on their quest to develop their character; strengthen their leadership skills; support their communities through public service; and promote unity within their class, the University, and beyond. TAMU has gone so far as to establish and support the Traditions Council, “dedicated to promoting and preserving the traditions of TAMU through education and awareness”.

Just like I’ve always done, I’m learning as much as I can about the traditions in/of our new city. And since College Station is primarily TAMU, learning the traditions in/of our new city means learning the traditions of TAMU. I’ve just barely scratched the surface thus far, but from what I can tell, the traditions here come in all shapes and sizes – pride- and awe-inspiring, powerful and spiritual, bizarre and kooky.

Throughout the 2011-2012 school year (which began yesterday) I’d like to share with you some of these traditions. This “series” will be therapeutic for me, and I hope it will be interesting for you!

To kick things off and to give you a glimpse of what’s to come, here are a few photos of a bayonet twirling presentation we saw at the TAMU New Faculty Family Fun Night. Tom and I were eager to see a bit of TAMU Corps of Cadet tradition in action (more about the Cadets in a future post), but Will just about peed his pants with excitement because – wait for it – the Cadet CARRIED A GUN THAT WAS ALSO A SWORD. An audible gasp escaped Will's lips when the Cadet began his presentation, and Will's jaw hit the table when the gun sword flew through the air.

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