Naturally, most of the students and families that went were part of one exchange program or another. Everyone was excited and talked about what they were going to do there. The American students with us were excited to see Big Tex (a large cowboy statue), which and been burnt a few years back, and was rebuilt this year. We couldn't wait to get there.
When we arrived, we didn’t know what to do first since there was so much to see and do. I really wanted to see the Mustangs, my friend wanted to eat, and another friend wanted to go on the Ferris wheel. We all ended up eating first. I highly recommend the chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls (yes, they are exactly that: chocolate-covered strawberry waffle balls!). All of my Texan friends had told me that I will not experience Texas right until I had fried pickles, Snickers, or Oreos. Let me tell you, ANYTHING that can be fried WILL be fried in Texas--because they can. They have had an ongoing competition for the most creative things to fry, which has included fried Thanksgiving dinner, fried beer, fried butter, fried bubblegum, fried Nutella; the list is endless. You name it, they will fry it. I decided to stick with fried Oreos and it was the best decision I'd made since I got here.
We eventually got to the rides, which were fun like everywhere else. We wondered around listening to people talk about the State Fair and how amazing it was. We took pictures with Big Tex. We danced under the rain because we decided to accept it instead of hide from it. We listened to a country band play a song about how other people want to go to heaven, but they just want to come to Texas (Texan pride all the way!). I got to see the Ford Mustang car collection and talk to some owners. It made my day.
Overall, it was a very memorable day to say the least. Advice: please try fried Oreos. If you're worried about your diet, work out an extra half hour. But the pain will be worth it, trust me. I want to be able to say "Welcome to Texas!" just like my friends did.
Sandra Ziadeh is a Lebanese Fulbright grantee pursuing an M.Ed. in Counseling at University of North Texas.