When friends asked me why I was planning a trip to Texas, my short answer was “I’m going with the community I’m involved with in the East End” – which was kind of true. After all, Cathers, Andy M and I spent a week road-tripping and we’re all from the London community. But really, it’s not a community that just exists in London – it’s a transatlantic community that exists just as much in Texas as it does in the East End.
In the early days of Matryoshka Haus, the links between the two continents grew thanks to visitors back and forth over the pond. More recently, deeper connections have developed thanks to Texans’ involvement in the Chateau Duffy trips. For those few weeks in France, the community has been united in one place and in one task – a true community experience.
Visiting Texas for the first time was full of new things for me, but at the same time there was plenty of familiarity. In each place I visited, I met old friends – from dinner with the Paolis in Houston and live music with Stacey in Austin to the Chateau Duffy reunion BBQ in Kerville. But in each place I also met strangers, but because they were part of the Texan Matryoshka Haus community, they didn’t seem like strangers – they were friends I simply hadn’t met before.
Meals in Houston, Austin and Kerrville were so similar to our community meals in London – there was good food, great banter and plenty of wine. One meal with the Richards family in Kerrville ended up in a girly conversation that wouldn’t have been out of place at Thursday night curry. I may have been in an unfamiliar place, but I didn’t feel like I was with unfamiliar people. That is the beauty and blessing of the Matryoshka Haus community.