This past weekend, SMU had their yearly Family Weekend, which included a game against our cross-town rival, TCU. My parents flew in from California around 2:00 pm on Friday, and I got a chance to meet up with them shortly afterwards. After exchanging hugs and hellos, I got my parents settled in at their hotel and we made it out to the Boulevard. Boulevard’s are SMU’s version of tailgating; our entire boulevard is covered in white tents where people serve food to stopperbys. As a senior, most of my friends know my parents well, and got a chance to say hello to them. At tents, we ate of tacos, listened to loud country and rock music, and had fun. Even my fourteen year old sister was having a great time, even though she hardly knew a single person there. There are two first years at SMU that are from my hometown and it was really nice for us all to meet up on the boulevard and have our parents visit with one another. The Los Alamitos crew (where I am from) then left for Ford Stadium to cheer on the Mustangs. After the game, we left the stadium to go grab a bite at Torchy’s tacos down the street (hands down my favorite place to eat around campus).
The next day, my family and cousin from Fort Worth met up at my fraternity house for a paired open house event. Our chapter just got the opportunity to move into a new house on campus, so I was excited to show them the upgrade we’d received. One of our alumni owns a BBQ restaurant here in the DFW area and he was kind enough to cater the event for us, and the meal was fantastic. Shortly afterwards, the six of us headed to the Dallas Arboretum, a place that I had heard was really cool, but hadn’t explored during my first three years as a student.
The Dallas Arboretum continuously changes their scenery based upon seasons or holidays, and they just added a pumpkin patch for fall. The gardens host over 90,000 pumpkins and gourds, in every size, shape, and color you could imagine. I was amazed and interested in all the different kinds of pumpkins that exist; I even spent a solid half hour trying to memorize the different names of all the unique or abnormal types. The gardens were beautiful, and we spent at least two hours exploring all the different trails, probably walking close to three or four miles. My favorite view included an overlook into Whiterock Lake, with downtown Dallas sitting on the horizon.
After exhausting my sister and seeing a good majority of the grounds, my parents headed back to the hotel to change and quickly shower so we could head to dinner shortly afterwards. My dad always tries to take me out to dinner at least once when he comes to town and this time, we went to a restaurant I’d never heard of, but certainly plan to go back to. We ate at a place called the Dallas Fish Market, which is a small, nice seafood restaurant right in the heart of downtown Dallas. The place was unbelievably good, and I was so confused why I’d never heard of it before.
Afterwards, we had a fraternity catered reception at a place off campus. My mom finally met my best friend’s mom, even though I’ve known him since I was a first year student and had spent four or five weekends at his house in Austin. Not surprisingly, my mom and his became best friends in a single night talking together. The reception ran from around 8:00-11:00 pm and then we headed home for the night.
The next morning, my dad dropped off my sister and mom at DFW and met me at the Rustic, a live concert venue in Uptown. We decided to go because I had several friends that were going to perform live there that day. We got a chance to see SMU’s Belle Tones, our female a cappella group, and Southern Gentlemen, the male a cappella group. After they put on two amazing performances, we got to see two of my best friends Nikki and Chance perform together at their first gig since forming a band. All three performances were absolutely fantastic, and were made even better because I knew someone on stage during all three. Lastly, Blue Apollo, another SMU band played and the concert was over. My dad had to head out, so I decided to go to the Greek Food Festival at the Greek Orthodox church slightly north of campus with some of the people in Belle Tones, and other friends that had also attended their performance. I got to have probably the best gyro I’ve ever eaten and saw some traditional Greek dancing.
All in all, this was one of the more jam-packed weekends I’ve had at SMU and truly shows what living in a city like Dallas can offer a person on a single weekend. I loved seeing my parents and watching them connect with my friends and their parents. It certainly was the best family weekend I’ve had here at school!
– Evan Giacomini