Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Going Native

It is wildflower season in Texas! Each year, I anticipate this season a little bit more, to the point that for the first time in my life, I think I prefer spring over fall as my favorite! This year also marks our second annual bluebonnet photo shoot with the kids. I feel like I am doing my part as a dutiful Texas parent, by recording them each year among the flowers.

Yet as much as I'd like to think I am adapting to my adopted home state, there are a few ways in which I will never fully fit in as a Texan.

For one thing, I talk too fast. Folks around here sometimes give me a charming cockeyed look that says, "I'm sorry? I didn't quite catch that." And then I back up and start again with less complex sentence structure. There is no intelligence deficit, just a different way of getting one's point across.

The funny thing is, I have just as much trouble understanding some of the really rural speakers. My neighbor is a lifelong resident of the deep south, and I sometimes have to call in an interpreter his wife to translate between us. Fortunately, almost half the people I interact with either originated in a more northern state or they have spent time living in a city among other fast-talking folk, so for the most part we all understand each other fairly well.

Texas food is another area in which I am not yet fully up to speed. I still can't abide the smoky taste of brisket, or even the smell permeating any good barbecue joint. Smoked sausage on Texas white bread with a little mustard and pickles works when I am with a group, but barbecue is definitely not my bag. Mexican food all the way, please!

Just a couple hours ago, I was reminded once again of my lack of adaptation. Around here, when you want iced tea, you order "tea," upon which your server asks, "sweet or unsweet?" True natives drink it sweet. Everyone else orders it unsweet and puts artificial sweetener in it. Yeuch to all. I prefer my sweet on the side, thank you very much!

I just wish the alternative to "sweet" involved a different word. I say "UNsweet" every time, but sometimes the kid taking your order only hears the end of the word. So this afternoon I take a huge swig of my "tea" from McDonalds, and almost spit it out.... instead of cold brown water, I got a mouthful of melted popsicle. EWWWW!

In 2.5 years, I have learned a few new tricks:
  • I am comfortable with "fixinta" go somewhere with "ya'll".
  • I have adjusted to doing yardwork/gardening March-June and September-November, instead of a single growing & mowing season.
  • I accept that there will be days when I run the A/C in the afternoon, then crank the furnace on before bed.
  • I find 60 degrees to be cold enough to warrant a wrap.
  • I do not currently own a winter coat.
  • I have rekindled my love affair with Dr. Pepper; and know that Chicken Express on Wellborn Rd is one of two or three locations in town where one can get a fountain Dr Pepper made with cane sugar instead of corn syrup.
  • I know how to pull over into the berm and drive more slowly so the Ford F-350 behind me can hotfoot it to Austin a few minutes faster than I will.
But for some things, I will just have to let my children do the adapting. Does anyone want this here tea sitting on my counter?


  1. This is wonderful Krista. I also drink sweet tea and believe that it is the only way to drink it. You also need a wedge of lemon to make it really great. As far as the BBQ goes, I agree. I like my BBQ with a sweet sauce on it. That is the way we did it in Louisiana.
    By the way the photos are great.

  2. We are weird about tea! Cook it to make it HOT then put ice in it to make it COLD. Put sugar in it to make it SWEET then lemon to make it TART! Here's a tip...try ording tea "half and half" from Chicken Express, perfect! Full sweet is TOO sweet for me as well. Love the story and the pics! Oh, and ya do talk fast!

  3. The pictures of the kids are precious! And you are too funny with your yankee comments on Southern life!! :)

  4. I can't believe you don't like barbeque, but you say "fixinta"! Craziness.

    I bet I could keep up with your talking, though ;).


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