People keep asking me how I like Texas. It stands to reason because the difference between Toronto and Texas is possibly interplanetary. And I don’t mean that to be rude, but let’s be honest, the South has a very strong, pronounced character that is unlike anywhere else in the world.
To be clear, there are things I find completely loving and charming about Texas that I would not change. The way that men open doors (sounds stupid to an East Coaster I am sure). But they do. Almost all North Texan men open the door for a lady (at least in my husbands circle of family and friends).
I like that. A lot.
I love the gentility of it. The quality of the polite society that has most people using the term ‘Ma’am’ when I check out at the local Albertson’s grocery or buy ice cream for the twins. And I find myself saying “thank you Sir” although I never have before used ‘Sir’ or ‘Ma’am’ as much as I have been since I got to Texas. It’s seems the right thing to do to fit in.
I want to fit in.
I get embarrassed when abrupt people ask me where I am from. It goes down something like this:
Clerk: “You sound fuuuuuuny. Where you from anyhow?”
Clerk: “Oh my gosh. That’s far. I know a guy in Canada maybe you know him… “
[Insert patient pause].
I won’t lie. Sometimes I want to say something shocking in reply like: “Oh my God, I know John! He was my first baby daddy. Do you have an address for him?” But I don’t. Because that would be rude. And sometimes when I smile all ‘friendly-like’ I am perpetuating the myth that all Canadians are friendly. Which isn’t true.
And I am glad the only one that can hear my inner writers dialogue is me. Do they shoot people for being a wise-ass here? I hope not or I am in big trouble.
When a Canadian is smiling really big at you after you have made a boneheaded statement or question… they are being polite too. We do that. Most of us. The good ones I suppose. I am nice and would like to remain that way.
For the record I am not Mexican, I’m Italian but we tan the same. And if I was Mexican I would be cool with that too. I wonder why they ask? I kind of like my tan and for a computer nerd like me to have one is a karmic victory of sorts.
If you have followed me from my first blog and anticipating that I will have shit figured out, you might be disappointed. I am still the same person, making a fresh start in a new country, with a new husband, twin 8-year old boys, a business, a new family to figure out and find my place within and two dogs that think having their own kids is really really cool.
Home is where the heart is. My life is where my husband is. But I get pangs for home and for things I recognize from time to time. Labels I understand (all the food is different). A culture I understand (Texas women are put together… I have the fashion sense of a turtle).
I can hide among the locals and look like a local until I open my mouth, and folks zero in on my lack of southern drawl (no I am not from New York but I happen to have friends there). I haven’t felt this vulnerable since Grade 4 when my parents moved me from the public school in Cookstown Ontario to the Roman Catholic Elementary School in Alliston. I had no friends there either, and I totally sucked at jump-rope so my social life was doomed from the get-go. I don’t like feeling “new”.
My two dogs however have instantly adapted. I heard Diego practicing his Spanish the other day.