The project “From Heel to Toe” captures the stories of Texans through one common theme: their boots. Sometimes the boots are a gift. Other times, the purchaser saved up and bought their own dream pair. This latest installment comes from a family from China living in Texas that was showered with Texas-themed presents for their new baby girl, Yuran. Among these gifts were tiny cowgirl boots.
Rachel Chang grew up in a city in China filled with tall buildings and apartments. She says when she and other children played in the alleys between the housing blocks, parents would yell from their balconies to call their children home for dinner.
“There was the one-child policy back then, so I was an only child,” Chang says. “Actually, meeting my husband and seeing how he is with his two siblings made me decide that I want more than just one because I love that.”
When Chang’s first child Yuran was born, she says her neighbor’s child brought over pink, Texas-shaped sugar cookies with Yuran’s name on them.
“It was very special,” Chang says. “After I moved to Texas, I realized how different and how special this boots, symbolic idea, is for all Texans. You see people wear them all year long, whatever the weather. It’s very different.”
Before Chang even thought of getting boots for Yuran, someone gave her a pair of tiny, girly ones as a gift.
“It’s very, very Texas, and very, very cute,” Chang says.
Chang says Texas is her second home, and that Austin is similar to the city she came from in China. Chang says Town Lake, Mount Bonnell and the City of Austin in general all remind her of home.
“You don’t have it all around the world that you have a big successful tech center city that has all of that,” Chang says. “It’s very beautiful. We feel like this is home. She will always have Austin, Texas on her birth certificate – this kind of stamp, in a nice way, on the paper of her life.”
Chang says she wants Yuran to carry on the spirit of what it means to be a Texan.
“You know, the cowgirl spirit,” Chang says. “Strong-willed, independent, happy.”
Written by Brooke Sjoberg.