Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Expat or Texpat?

I was shopping recently and came across a sales woman with a familiar sounding accent. She was clearly American, and once she heard me speaking to my son, she realised I must be as well. She asked, "Are you from North America?" (Which is the polite way to ask someone if they are American by the way, because if you ask a Canadian if they are American, well, you'll never hear the end of it. The accents can sound very similar sometimes especially with a little Aussie lingo in the mix that you can never be sure. So to be on the safe side, go for the whole continent and then work your way down). I said, "Yes, I am." So then she asked me even more politely, "What part of North America? Canada or the US?" To which I replied, "Oh me, I'm from Texas." Then we had the standard conversation about how she couldn't believe I was from Texas (always a hard sell) because I don't sound anything like a Texan (insert stereotypical accent here). We talked about places she'd been in Texas and the fact that she actually lived there for five years once herself. Turns out this particular saleswoman was from Chicago originally, married an Aussie and is now settled here in Melbourne with her very own Handsome Australian and a couple of kids.

When we finished with our pleasantries I wished her a good afternoon and continued my shopping. As I walked along, I replayed the conversation in my mind and started to think about my response to her question about where I'm from. When she said, 'Canada or the US?' I didn't even blink and shot out 'Texas'. Why? Maybe I was just trying to skip the next question: whereabouts in the US are you from? I don't think that was the case though. I think it was a case of Texas pride, because we Texans are, amongst other things, a proud people. Yes, the more I think about it, I wanted to make it very clear that I was not just from the US, but from Texas.

You know, there is a saying that goes: Texas. It's like a whole other country. The longer I live in Australia, the more I feel that way about Texas. When we make our annual trips to the USA to visit, we visit Texas almost exclusively. I've got family spread out all over the state and it takes us the entire 6 weeks just to fit them all in. So we really aren't visiting the US, we are visiting Texas and it is like a whole other country to us.

So I'm thinking instead of the 'Expat' label, perhaps 'Texpat' is more appropriate.


Jeff said...

1. Are you from ...?
2. Whereabouts from...?

This so reminds me of the post "How Expats Greet Each Other"


keep up the great work!

Laine Moore said...

lol I like this! I get the same thing about not having a "Texan" accent. I should just start saying "oh you're thinking of Southerners, I'm from Texas, it's different."

-fellow Texpat

Mari said...

I was an exchange student to OZ in 1995. When my host mum asked me what I wanted in my lunch, I said peanut butter and jelly. She seemed grossed out, but told me that I could make jelly from the cupboard. I was confused-how the hell do I MAKE jelly?

After getting over that confusion, she said she would make my peanut butter and jam sandwich for me. Then, she put margarine all over it! Too shy about the first confusion, I never said anything! I ate pbj and butter sandwiches all year!