Friday, July 31, 2015

Everybody Is Somebody in Luckenbach, Texas

Luckenbach is quite a curious place. The only one of its kind. Situated not far (nineteen miles) from Fredericksburg, in Hill Country, TX. The small place was settled by German immigrants in 1850. It was quite unknown until a popular Texas character, named Hondo Crouch, bought it from the family who had lived there since the very beginning of the little hamlet. Luckenbach's country music life and fame started developing then: among others - Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings performed there.


What is so special about Luckenbach? It is actually a ghost town but it is always full of people: musicians who gather there and give live country music concerts, country music lovers and all the guys who come to Luckenbach to feel and enjoy its leisure atmosphere. The old general store is the main meeting spot and visitors' site. The store used to be a post office - these days it is also a beer tavern. Besides, there is a traditional dance hall (you can dance on its wooden floor most weekends) and a blacksmith shop (used sometimes only).
Sitting beneath old live oaks you can relax, listen to music and watch roosters that rule in Luckenbach. They walk freely around the entire area, jump on high tree branches and look down on all the tavern visitors. Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach :).


When we came to Luckenbach, we met a man who was selling cowboy hats near the tavern. We talked to him for a while - as he learned we were about to get married, he offered to marry us at the spot - he appeared to be a local pastor. Well, if  we had not arranged our marriage in Fredericksburg, we might  have accepted his idea and invitation. With all the musicians present there and all the 'guests' enjoying the local spirit, we could have had quite an unforgettable wedding party in Luckenbach.


Yes, we almost got married in Luckenbach.

Not far from the old general store, there is also another souvenir shop, quite different to the antique post office. Tho shop is run by a man, descendant of the German settlers who used to live in Luckenbach.

Luckenbach artist and shop owner

If you are lucky and his shop is open, you can talk to him, buy a piece of granite decorated (by the man himself) with pictures depicting bluebonnets or/ and have a glass bottle engraved by him (eg. with some signs and a picture of armadillo). I am so glad we managed to meet him too!



Luckenbach website: http://www.luckenbachtexas.com

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Poland And Polish - Stereotypes & Other 'Truths'

Polish culture and cuisine are so reach and diverse - I have no idea why Poland, in the US, is mainly associated with two things: pierogi (especially the ones stuffed with potatoes and onion) and polka.


First of all, having lived in Poland so long, I never ate that kind of pierogi at my family home. Never had them at my friends' in Poland either. I first ate them when I came to Texas, and I did not like them. Maybe the potato and onion pierogi were most popular among the Polish immigrants in the States?

Pierogi ruskie - picture from wikipedia.org

My favorite kind of pierogi are blueberry ones, served with cream and sugar. I also love so-called 'lazy pierogi' made by my mum. Sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar are heavenly delicious. They are quite different to the potato ones - they look different and taste totally different. Besides those,  I also quite like plum knedle (another kind of ball shaped pierogi). Neither of them seem to be very popular in America.

As for the polka. I have happened to hear (when I said I am from Poland): 'Ah Poland? Polka!'
Meaning the dance. OK. The word 'Polka' means 'Polish lady' in Polish. So yes, I am Polka. Maybe it is the beginning of the two words which causes the confusion - the three first letters which are the same in 'Poland' and 'polka'. Maybe that is why the latter one is commonly regarded here as Polish national dance. Well, it is not!
Poland has five national dances but polka is not one of them. Of course, polkas are played and danced by Polish folk bands/groups too - I remember one of them called 'Polka Tramblanka'. But polka is Czech national dance. Not Polish.
I do not know whether there is any point in explaining it to people, especially if some of them simply 'know better' or believe what typically Polish is, and, according to some, I am the one who has been misinformed.

Polonez - one of Polish national dances

Actually, during my stay in the States, I learned new things on what typically Polish means. Things which I did not know when I lived in Poland.

1. An American man (of some Polish roots) shared the info on the (typically Polish) way potato and onion pierogi (again :-) ) are served: according to him - with cream, oil and fried onion.

Let me explain:
  • Fruit pierogi are usually served (in Poland) with cream and/or sugar.
  • Other kinds of pierogi  are served with some hot oil, pieces of fried onion and, sometimes, with cracklings. 
  • The two ways are never mixed.
I have no problem with accepting and understanding that somebody may enjoy such a cream and oil mixture but my family, myself and most people I know in Poland, would find it gross. Maybe we are not typical Poles?


2. While I was looking through a catalouge of a popular American online store, I was pleased to find out that they also had earrings made in Poland on offer. The sterling silver earrings decorated with amber were quite nice. What really surprised me, was the information included in the item description. Reading it, I learned that products made of amber are a popular wedding gift given to a bride (in Poland of course) for good luck. Well, I come from that amber region, have attended quite a few weddings there and never had I heard about such an amber wedding good luck token, neither the brides I used to know. Too bad for us?

Jewellery and amber shop in Gdansk, Poland

3. Browsing another catalogue (a different online store), I have come across some (astonishing) info on another interesting  'Polish' thing. According to that, pictures depicting Virgin Mary standing at a washing line are popular in Poland. Where do they take such stories from? Luckily, in the later issues of catalogues by that company I did not see any other 'revelations' of that kind.

Not only non-Poles happen to be mistaken of course. One day, at a certain function, my husband and myself were wearing traditional folk costumes of the region I am from. Polish ladies of local Polonia community claimed, very strictly, that the outfits were not Polish. I found it sad - not only what they said but also the way they stated it, and how limited their knowledge was. And it was said to me by the Polish. What made it even sadder - a man of Oriental origin who saw us and our folk dress later (it was somewhere else), said: 'Oh, you represent Poland!' No, we were neither holding a sign with the name of the country nor had a Polish flag. He just knew it.


Well, stereotypes are most often based on lack of knowledge - on a certain topic. We tend to be very quick to make generalizations such as: 'all men are ......', 'all women are......', 'all (a nation) are/have ........'.
Personally, I try to avoid it, I am aware that generalization is an error of logical thinking. Besides, following stereotypes we can simply misjudge someone or misinterpret a life situation. Maybe it is part of human nature to believe stereotypes.
All in all, it is our decision whether we choose limitation or stay open to learning new things.
Stay open.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Panna Maria - First Polish Permanent Settlement in America

We visited Panna Maria, situated about fifty-five miles south of San Antonio, during our first Texas trip. Actually, it was a surprise gift from my husband - he took me there to show me the oldest Polish settlement in Texas, established in 1854 by Father Leopold Moczygemba and about one hundred families from Polish Silesia.



Panna Maria means Virgin Mary in Polish.


Panna Maria - Virgin Mary

Nowadays, the settlement is quite a tiny place with the Panna Maria Historical Society & Visitors' Center - housed in the old Pilarczyk Store (built in 1875).



An elderly lady, a descendant of the first settlers welcomed us there. To my delight, she spoke Polish - though actually it was a kind of mixture of a Silesian dialect and American English. That was why we had some difficulties in understanding each other but we managed to communicate anyway. The Visitors' Center is also a souvenir store.


The lady showed us to St. Joseph School Museum which is also the oldest Polish school building in the States. Inside the museum we could see many items which belonged to the first Polish settlers, also the ones brought by them from 19th century Poland.


We also visited Panna Maria Immaculate Conception Church, built in 1855.


The church, struck and destroyed by the lightning in 1875, was restored (works finished in 1877) and enlarged later (1937).


Panna Maria is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places as the oldest permanent Polish settlement in America. I am so glad my husband took me there!

Panna Maria website: http://www.pannamariatexas.com

Friday, July 24, 2015

My Decorated Boards: 'God Bless Texas' - Wall Decor Pattern #3

Here is another pattern of My Decorated Cutting Boards. This one - with 'an angel' a character which I created long time ago - is called 'God Bless Texas'.
You can read about the meaning of the flowery patterns and the story behind the character included on the board - here.

Pattern #3

Check our other patterns here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Reading Time: 'The Prophet' by Kahlil Gibran

This is quite a different and an amazing book. Meaning its content of course.
First published in 1926, written in a language which very much differs from contemporary English, considering both grammar structures and vocabulary.While reading it, I needed to look up some words in a dictionary to understand the messages of the Prophet better. He speaks to the people of Orphalese on all the life matters such as Love, Marriage, Parenthood, Work, Death and many others. Each chapter contains some deep thoughts - a kind of philosophical approach - on what really important in life is. In a way, 'The Prophet' is like a compilation of the teachings by various philosophers of different eras. All in one.

Picture from amazon.com
Among the parts which I really like there are the words of
  • Love
"Love gives naught but itself and takes naught but from itself.
Love possesses not nor would it be possessed.
For love is sufficient unto love."
  • Marriage
"Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music."
  • and Children
"You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams."

It is the kind of book which makes you think after reading almost every sentence. Of the importance and unimportance of what we do and believe in. You may agree or disagree with the  author but his message makes you stop and consider what he affirms.

The Prophet is about to leave the island where he has spent twelve years. Reading the words on his departure made me think of the time when I had left Poland. Of course I am just a lady, not a prophet at all, but somehow the words reminded me those days when I was to leave the country:
"In the stillness of the night I have walked in your streets, and my spirit has entered your houses,
And your heart-beats were in my heart, and your breath was upon my face, and I knew you all.
Ay, I knew your joy and your pain, and in your sleep your dreams were my dreams."
"Fain would I take with me all that is here. But how shall I?"

Read some more of 'The Prophet' here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Catherine - Punk Rock Cat

Here is Catherine. She lives with Janet and Richard in Illinois.
Look at her. Isn't she lovely?

Catherine ' is “resting” from all her hard work. Yes, that’s her toy: Rowdy Rat, which she is using as a pillow.'

She has already visited our blog and check it out here). We are glad she is back again as the cat is known for her special taste:

'Catherine did it again, as she just can’t resist pretending to be a bee where Oriental lilies are concerned.  No harm at all to the plant, but what a chore for her to have to clean herself up.  She WILL, eventually, but in the meantime…. Here is her punk look!

Is that shame I see in those downcast eyes?'
 
  
Credits: Citations and pictures by Janet Barnstable

Thursday, July 16, 2015

New Guests on The Patio

I have heard their loud chirps a few times. Yesterday, I finally managed to see them.  First I, spotted ten or eleven of them fly away, then I noticed a row of black, little figures sitting, almost vertically, on the flat, outside frame of a window. It was quite a peculiar view: they looked like a wall decoration, sitting in exactly the same position, as stuck to the wall, all of them turning their heads on the right. Some were peeping uncertainly in my direction so I was trying to stand still, not to scare the cute guests resting on our patio. I was happy to see a 'new' kind of local birds.

How they were sitting

Later I checked that the species is called:
 

Chimney Swift 


Although it reminds a swallow, the two species are not closely related. Chimney swift is a great aerialist. Its beak is tiny (about 0.20"/5mm) though its gape (mouth) is much bigger inside - the bird eats insects and little spiders. An interesting fact is that chimney swift is able to focus both eyes at once or one only/independently. The bird winters in South America and comes back to eastern North America in the summer. The species is protected by law in the US, it is also regarded as 'Near Threatened' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

Chimney swifts are monogamous birds

Chimney swifts are really cute little creatures (size: 4 3/4 - 5", 12-12.5cm) and I am happy they are in our area too. Hopefully they find home in our chimney.


Picture and birds' voice from:
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ChimneySwift23.jpg


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Sharing Polish & American Movies

My husband and I enjoy watching movies. Different ones, including TV series, comedies and history dramas, war films and adventure stories, SF and fantasy tales, documentaries and natural history shows, detective stories and educational programmes, thrillers and action movies. The ones made in the 30s and more recent productions. However, I need to mention, we are not very much keen on horrors. Anyway, we have watched tonnes of films together. I also introduced my husband to some Polish movies and he presented to me a few American ones, which I had not known before. If you have not seen them yet, maybe you will also watch them soon.

Since my hubbie is interested in WW2 history, most of the Polish movies we watched are various stories connected with that time frame/life in Poland during WW2. Needless to say, I like these films too.

1. The Four Tank Men And A Dog - TV series of my childhood. Everybody (in Poland) watched the adventures of the four friendly guys - a tank crew - and their dog Szarik. I used to have khaki shorts with a picture of Szarik on them. That was cool (when I was little)!
The series was created in 1966 - 1970 (three seasons altogether).

picture from: naekranie.pl

2. Captain Kloss - More Than Life at Stake. Another series I grew up on. Everybody in Poland knew Captain Hans Closs - (fictional character) a Polish spy who operated as a Nazi Abwehr officer during WW2. The episodes were quite involving and interesting. Made in 1968.


3. How I Unleashed World War II (3 parts) - a comedy about a Polish soldier Franek Dolas who escapes from a stalag and his adventures on different fronts/different countries during the war. One of the movies I can watch again and again. Quite hilarious. Made in 1970.


4. The Law And The Fist. Made in 1964. The movie is regarded as one of the very first films made in a western convention. It does not show any cowboys though. "At the end of World War Two, Polish people move to the western lands vacated by Germans. But some ruthless profiteers pose as government representatives and intend to make off with loot from a deserted town they took over. One honest man stands up against them because he believes these goods belong to the people." (citation from: imdb.com)
I also like the song from this film.


5. The Sewer - another classic, made in 1956. It depicts the last days of the Warsaw Uprising 1944 and the desperate battle of an Uprising company against Nazis - occupants of the city. The fighters retreat through the Warsaw sewer system. Very tragic story.

picture from: filmreference.com
6. Vabank (two parts). A comedy which plot has nothing to do with the war. The plot is set in the 30s. The main character Kwinto is an old styled bank robber who wants to revenge a friend killed by Kramer's men. Kramer is a crook who used to be Kwinto's bank robbery associate. A good and funny movie with an interesting plot. Made in 1981.


7. Europa Europa - another WW2 movie. This one was directed by Agnieszka Holland, made in 1990. A story of a Jewish boy who tries to escape the Holocaust and survive in the Nazi Germany. He joins the Hitler Youth and pretends he is an 'Aryan' boy. Quite a movie.



And some of the American shows I was introduced to by my husband.

1. Kung Fu - TV series (first season made in 1972). I love the Shaolin teachings and philosophy included in all the episodes, and the calmness calming from it. It is interesting to know that David Carradine, who played the Kung Fu man, actually did not know any kung fu at the beginning of the first season - he learned it later. But thanks to his former ballet background, he was able to imitate kung fu-like moves and jumps. Very much my kind of show, I find the second season the weakest though.


2. Hatfields & McCoys (2012) - I learned the true story of two families involved in deadly feud which lasted almost thirty years (from 1863 to 1891). The story has become part of the American folklore lexicon so now, when I hear the names 'Hatfields' and 'McCoys', I kow what it means.


3. Band of Brothers (2001). The series was also presented on a Polish TV channel but somehow, when I lived in Poland, I never watched any episode. I am glad I finally did.  The story of the soldiers of Easy Company (the US Army 101st Airborne division) is as great as truly tragic. As tragic as the Second World War was. As any war is. I cried a lot while watching 'Band of Brothers'. It all reminded me of a man I used to know, who had thought during the war too. He never spoke of it though. I feel so bad now that I never cared to ask about it, did not show any interest. Maybe I was too young and too busy with my own life. Maybe he would not have wanted to talk about it anyway. I do hope that, although he is gone and no longer among us, he knows how much his and his fellow soldiers' sacrifice has been appreciated.

picture from: ign.com

4.  Combat! Made in 1962/1967. A TV series about a frontline American infantry squad who fights in Europe during WW2. We watched a few episodes - an interesting fact is that each of them includes a  kind of moral/personal studies of individual characters. In a way the series reminds me 'The Four Men And A Dog' as they were made almost at the same time. But of course, Combat! is totally different. Much more serious.
 
picture from wikipedia.org


5. The Three Stooges - first episode made in 1925. I knew Laurel and Hardy but did not know the three funny guys and their adventures.


 6. Lonesome Dove. Mini TV series made in 1989. A 'story about two former Texas rangers who decide to move cattle from the south to Montana. Augustus McCrae and Woodrow Call run into many problems on the way, and the journey doesn't end without numerous casualties' (citation from imdb.com). Quite involving and interesting plot based on the novel by Larry McMurtry. I wish we could watch the Lonesome Dove sequel/s made later.

picture from wikipedia.org

7. The Rifleman - TV series (made 1958/1963) about a rancher Lucas McCain and his son Mark. The plot is set in the 1870s and 1890s in New Mexico. I especially like the intro of each and every episode.



8.The Howdy Doody Show - children's TV show (1947/1960).


Howdy Doody to you!

Monday, July 13, 2015

Birdwatching in Texas

I used to think birdwatching is boring.  In the city where I lived, most common birds where sparrows, pigeons, seagulls, crows and ravens. They were all mostly black and gray and I found nothing interesting in watching them. Maybe because I so very much got used to them and, in a way, they were simply part of a well known landscape. Or maybe I because I was too busy. Or maybe both.

Baltic Sea seagulls

In Texas, due to the climate difference, wildlife - fauna and flora - is obviously not exactly the same as in Poland. It is interesting to see birds, plants and animals new to me. I not only enjoy watching them but also learning something about these unknown (to me) species.


In our neighborhood there was an area with a very old wood, trees and bushes untouched by humans for ages. With a little stream, it was a habitat and home for various kinds of creatures including many birds. Their songs and chirps were heard from early morning till the night. I loved listening to their voices. Especially the cardinal's calls were quite distinguished. Since the wood was not far from our house, I could observe the birds sitting in the trees and flying around our yard.

Here are some of them which I really liked.

1. My favorite one - Northern Cardinal.  They sing so beautifully!


The males, so pretty in red, because of their color were easy to spot among the greenery of the woods. The females are pale grayish brown with some reddish pink bill, not that noticeable at all.

2. Blue Jay - size: 10-11" (25.5/28cm)


They are also great vocalists and wonderful singers. Sometimes they even imitate hawk screams.

3. Northern Mockingbird - size: 9-10" (23-25.5cm)

The mockingbird can not only imitate other birds but also incorporate many various sounds into their repertoire (eg. barking dogs). Both males and females are alike in appearance.

4. House Sparrow - size: 51/2-6" (14/15cm)

Male House Sparrow

My favorite city bird which cousins live in Poland also. The male has a gray crown and gray rump. The female is dingy gray. Size: 51/2-6" (14/15cm).

5. Ruby-throated Hummingbird


These are very difficult to spot as they are so tiny (31/4 - 31/2"/ 8-9cm)! I have seen them twice maybe - thanks to my husband who noticed them and showed them to me.

It was so great having all the beautiful singers around! The area was also full of other musicians - katydids, crickets and similar instrumentalists which played their loud music days and nights.

video/ video

One sad day the wood was cut down and destroyed, and so were the animals' lives. Only a few trees were left. It was so terrible, especially that the little woodland had also been a stop for flocks of migrating birds - since always I guess. When the season came, once we heard lots of birds' cries, we looked out and saw plenty of yellowish birds, sitting on the three trees - the remains of the wild land. Many were flying around as if they had not known where to sit. They looked disoriented and confused. - no high branches to rest, no water to drink (the stream had been covered with concrete), no bugs to eat. It was all so sad! Probably quite a lot of those birds did not survive that migrating season.

Great Crested Flycatcher - size: 8-83/4" (20.5/22cm)


It eats large birds and dwells in treetops. Migrates to Mexico and South America in April.

All in all, with no trees around, most of the birds were gone. So it was nothing to be sorry about leaving the place when our migrating time came.

Some other birds which are quite popular here and do not occur in Poland:
  • Mourning Dove - they are quite lovely. A couple of them visits our patio quite often. I like them too! They migrate to South America in September. Size: 10-12" (25.5/30cm)

Mourning Doves are monogamous birds


Interesting though maybe not that cute:
  • Common Grackle - size: 10-12" (25.5/30.5 cm)
Picture from From Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 3.0

  • Great-tailed grackle - size: 101/2-181/2" (26.5/47cm)


Quite noisy guys. Usually there are a lot of them around supermarkets, looking for something to eat. "In Mexico, where it is known as the chanate or zanate, there is a legend that it has seven songs. 'In the creation, the Zanate having no voice, stole its seven distinct songs from the wise and knowing sea turtle. You can now hear the Zanate's vocals as the Seven Passions (Love, Hate, Fear, Courage, Joy, Sadness, and Anger) of life.'" (citation from wikipedia)

Credits: pictures of American birds & birds' sounds source - wikipedia.org
Northern Cardinal: By Stephen Wolfe from Columbus, OH, USA (Northern Cardinal I  Uploaded by Snowmanradio) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Blue Jay: By Mdf (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Northern Mockingbird: By Captain-tucker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons;
House Sparrow: By Passer_domesticus_on_rose.jpg: PewuCom derivative work: Totodu74 (Passer_domesticus_on_rose.jpg) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Ruby-throated hummingbird: public domain, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Great crested flycatcher:By DickDaniels (http://carolinabirds.org/) (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons;
Great-tailed grackle: (Photograph taken by Patrick Coin) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Friday, July 10, 2015

'Little Texan'. My Decorated Cutting Boards - Pattern #2

Here is Pattern #2. The design contains a character of my own design ( I call it 'a boy') and a flowery folk motif of Kashubia region. With another character of the little picture 'family' I created long time ago.

You can read more about them and my boards here.


MORE PATTERNS TO COME!




Check our other patterns here.


'Chef Pol-Tex'. My Decorated Cutting Board - Pattern #1

I have completed my first board with the 'Chef Pol-Tex' pattern. I enjoy painting and  decorating things with my designs. :)

You can read more about the patterns and my boards here


Chef Pol-Tex is my of own design

Check our other patterns here.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Summarizing My Three Years In Texas - What I Learned, Enjoyed & How To Adjust To Life In Another Country


Time passes by so quickly. Soon there will be the third anniversary of my arrival in the States and in Texas. I think it is a good reason to sum up my experiences and write something about it. Just a few thoughts. Some of my previous posts have already touched the topic in certain ways but I do not intend to repeat myself.

A brief summary on what was new to me, what I learned/experienced/found out.

1. Housing
That was quite surprising - to learn that houses here are built in a totally different way, comparing to houses in Poland and Europe (where houses are made mostly of bricks and concrete, not wood). When I lived in Poland I read an article about a lady who had been stuck in an office toilet (somewhere in the States). Since it was late and there was no one to free her, within a few hours, she managed to scratch a hole in a wall and got out. Reading that news I could not understand how she had been able to do it. Because I had a Polish kind of wall in mind - thick and hard. You could scratch it for a month or longer and who knows whether it would be long enough to be successful (to make a big hole to go through it). Now I know the difference. But I still find it peculiar when I see a half of a house being transported somewhere.


2. Before I moved to Texas, I sometimes happened to watch a show (on TLC) about a health place, run by doctors and other professionals, for teenagers with obesity problems. The program presented the kids' dramas and struggles. At that time I found those young ones (with no offense) extremely and unusually big. Mainly because proper diet and keeping the right body weight had always been a topic in Poland. When I came to Texas, I learned those teenagers were neither extreme nor unusual. At least not here.

3. Clothes and their sizes
I am S when in Texas (feels good!). When in Europe, I am M, sometimes L, depending on a country where the clothes are made or/and the manufacturer.


4. Language
Of course, it helps when you are able to speak English (unless you can speak Spanish). But since I had learned British English, sometimes the differences in vocabulary and pronunciation caused a lot of confusion. Meaning myself and people whom I tried to talk to.
Some examples? Here they are:
Once I wanted to get a haircut and have my fringe trimmed. A usual thing but the hairstylist did not understand what I wanted. So I showed her. Later I learned that 'fringe' is called 'bangs' here.
Another time, when at a supermarket, I wanted to get a trolley - people did not know what I meant. So now I also call it 'a cart' as everybody else around.
There are more such words of course: a plaster and bandage, plaster and cast and so on, and so on.


5. Food/ Cuisine
  • I quite like the traditional Southern dishes. However, when I prepare them at home, I try to make them lighter and, of course, add a Polish style to them. 
  • Coleslaw is a popular side in Poland, so I was happy when I also found it on the menus here. 
  • Fish and chips in Texas taste much better than the ones I happened to have in England.
  • I have always liked cod and other cold sea kinds of fish. In Texas, catfish and hush puppies have become my favorite food too.
  • Tea is very popular in Poland but it is commonly served hot. I guess the reason is much colder climate there. In Texas, I learned to drink cold tea, especially during the summer. By the way, my husband makes the best cold tea in the world!
  • Buffet type food places are fun (and the ones we visit offer tasty meals too).
  • Best hot & sour soup ever, not to mention other Chinese dishes, are made in a certain Pearl Chinese Restaurant in North TX.
  • Obviously, while in Texas, I have learned a lot about Tex-Mex cuisine too. And I also enjoy having it from time to time. 
Some of the posts on food and drinks I wrote earlier: 
My First Thanksgiving & Cooking Challenge
About Groceries, Bread And Everyday Meals
About Doing New Things & How I Won With Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
Pearl Chinese Restaurants
The Ultimate Buffet Experience At Pizza Inn


6. Music and Live Entertainment
  • Bass Hall in Fort Worth is quite a pretty place and so is Winspear Opera House in Dallas. 
  • I have always been fond of music by Tchaikovsky but I needed to come to Texas to see 'The Nutcracker' live. At Christmas. And learn that it is one of the local Holiday traditions.
  • Besides that, we enjoyed watching many other ballets and music performances including a musical by Gershwin, classical music, jazz, traditional Irish music and more.
  •  North Texas Irish Festival - various interesting traditional music and dance groups, and more modern, rock bands. Quite an event. While listening to some of the musicians who sang and played shanty-like songs, I had a feeling I was back by the sea in Poland.
  • Scottish Festival & Highland Games - music and fun again!
  • Scarborough Fair reminds me old times country fairs seen in movies. The same atmosphere and similar attractions. Laughter and stage magic! Not to mention the mermaids and their stories. :)
  • Sports: rodeo, baseball, and hockey games - enjoyable and entertaining.
My First Live Baseball Game
My First Live Hockey Match
My First Time At The Rodeo


7. Cars and washing machines
Mostly everybody in Texas has a car but not everybody has a washing machine. It is the opposite in Poland. With very well developed public transport, numerous bus stops and buses going to various places every few minutes, commuter trains, ferries (at least where I come from), a car is simply not needed there. I used to know people in Poland who, despite having a car, preferred going to work by bus - to save on gas and to avoid traffic stress too.
In Texas, a car is a kind of first aid thing. Not having one can cause real problems.


8. Travel
  • Texas Hill Country is absolutely beautiful!
  • Everybody is somebody in Luckenbach.
  • We remember the Alamo too.We visited the place during our first Texas travels. 

9. Nature
Texas is not just a desert as quite a lot of guys in Poland tend to think (maybe because of the westerns they have seen and the scenery shown in those movies). The state has a lot of greenery, flowers, botanic gardens and beautiful landscapes.
When in Texas, I 'discovered' many plants which are also grown in Poland. The difference is that there, they are small, nursed mainly in plant pots. It is nice to see how big and beautiful they can become in the hot climate and weather conditions.
I saw raccoons as big as fat cats, admired the lovely birds of Texas (the red cardinal is my favorite one) and enjoyed listening to their songs (meaning birds of course, not raccoons); smelled some animals (guess what it was - did not enjoy it at all).
Bluebonnets are smaller and cuter here than similar kinds of plants which I know from Poland. On the other hand, the European ones are colorful, not only blue.


Finally, my advice for those of you who have moved to another country:
  • Visit various places in your new neighborhood/ area. Try to learn some history to better understand local people and  their customs as well.
  • Be open to differences and new things.
  • Do not categorize: 'better'/'worse' than at home. It does not change anything and leads you to nowhere. 
  • Find some places you like to go to and something you like doing.
  • Take everything as it is.
  • Try to adjust to new life circumstances and the society but remember who you are and where you come from.
  • ENJOY!