Culture Shock

We’ve lived in Texas a few months now and it’s surprised me how easy it’s been and yet, how different it is. I remember moving here in high school and having the same feeling. And I had it in Costa Rica too– with the added boost of a new language.

Though if you ask Little Sir, there has been a language barrier here too. I asked him if he was saying “y’all” yet and he asked me, “No, but what is that? People are saying that all the time and I don’t know what it is!” I explained and said it’s fine to say it, but we’re drawing the line at “fixin’ to”.

The shock to our systems isn’t just about a change in culture, but all the changes from where we left to where we are.

Food

The first grocery store I went to had such a small produce section, I thought the rest of it must be in a different part of the store. But, no, that was it. The one we go to now is bigger, but the variety and quality are definitely different. Some of this is due to what’s grown here or nearby to be practical enough to ship in. But I think some of it is due to the typical Texas diet.

Veggies are optional for most meals. And that stereotype about fried foods and gravy? Well, that’s true. I’m not a gravy fan and when I ask for no gravy, I usually have to repeat myself a few times because no one actually believes I  mean NO gravy. “Just a little?” No. “On the side?” No. “Not even on the potatoes?” No.

Grits are on the regular menu. And not as part of any kind of fusion or schtick. It’s Texas. We have grits on the menu.

I know I’ve talked about BBQ before and I will again, I’m sure. Because it’s delicious. I’m still looking for THE fried catfish place. I miss my favorite Chinese food. I have a lead on good Mexican food, so I’ll let you know.

Manners and Mores

I had to explain to Little Sir’s school, he’s not rude, he’s just not used to how y’all do it here. Yes, I say y’all now. When in Rome and all that. I’ve been called Ma’am more in the last few months than in my entire life. In California, this is startling. Here it is standard. I don’t even think my contractor knows my name because he only calls me ma’am.

There’s also just more conversation expected. Here’s an example. I was at the store and needed to ask where something was. In California, I’d ask “Where are the batteries?”

And I’d get, “Aisle 12.”

In Texas, it goes like this:

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m fine, how are y’all? Oh, isn’t your little boy cute. Ma’am, I like your sweater, did you get that from around here?”

“Thank you. He is pretty cute. I don’t know where I got this sweater. Probably Target. I like your earrings.”

“Thank you. I made them. What can I help you with today?”

“I was wondering if you could tell me where the batteries are?”

“Yes, ma’am. I’ll walk you there. Now what do you need them for? If I was you, I’d get this brand. My cousin got these for her kids’ toys and it burned out in about 8 seconds. Now, this here one is on sale, so you might be okay if you get them…”

I like it. It’s startling though. And it throws me off. It’s a lot of info-sharing for directions to the battery aisle.

Red vs Blue

We’re in a red state. I don’t think it’s a surprise to most, but I lean blue. I don’t say that to create conflict but to point out, it’s a big change in the political landscape here. It’s been good for me to hear people I like and respect talk about their views. And I have to listen if I want to make friends. And let’s not forget, most Texans are armed. Just kidding. But I find myself realizing a lot of the divisiveness is smoke and mirrors– a distraction. We all care about our communities- local and global. But we’ve got different ideas of how to get there.  This has also been good for my opinionated self to learn a bit more discretion. And believe it or not, I’ve found plenty of red-leaning folks that agree. We should all have to visit the other side– at least for a while.

New in Town

We’re in a smallish town in Texas and most everyone we’ve met is from here or from nearby. We definitely stand out with our “accents” and I still have California plates on my car. We’re curiosities and people have been quick to share their stories of visiting California and what they’ve heard about it or why on earth did we leave… I smile and look forward to my new plates. I actually will slip into a twang to go incognito when I’m tired.

So, we live in Texas, y’all. And it’s a big change. And it’s home. And it’s good.