Friday, January 15, 2016

My Texas Alphabet: X for Texans

The idea for this alphabet post series comes from ' The Alphabet of My Emigration' by Dee Dorota L., member of The Polish Ladies Abroad Club, who has relocated to England.
I have also decided to join the project and write about My Texas Alphabet twice a week.

 This post is the English version of my alphabet entry in Polish which also tells about Texans among others.

There are many things you which are important when you move to another country, but one of the most significant part of your life is the people who you see every day. The Texans I have happened to meet so far were friendly, nice and rather straightforward people. It seems, 'Friendship' is the state motto with a reason.

At the beginning of my life in Texas, saying more than 'good morning' eg. while entering a store, was quite a challenge to me. The reason was not the language though. I simply was not used to saying more than that. It is not customary in Poland (Europe?) to do so when you visit a shop or talk to sales persons/strangers. Nobody welcomes you in a store with 'how are you doing?'. What you can most often hear is simply 'good morning' or 'can I help you?' Your reply is expected to be short too - just 'good morning'. Of course, you can be more explicit answering the question and saying what you are looking for or just answer (shortly again) 'thank you'. I am not a talkative person so, when in Texas, at first I needed to make an effort to react properly in such situations. Besides, I certainly did not want to be regarded as rude or impolite.
Nevertheless, after some time, I got used to the 'how are you doing' dialogues and even found them nice. These days, seeing a friendly smile I also start such small talks.

What I really like about Texans is that people/strangers passing each other by on a street, customers in stores and so on, smile to each other and greet each other. It is really nice. So I do smile too. More often than I used to do it in Poland. Because of another custom difference, which I never thought of before leaving my home country. If you smile to strangers there, for example while walking in a city, most likely passers-by would think you are up to something, you are laughing at them or maybe something is wrong with you.

Here in Texas, when I see someone smiling at me, it fills me with positive energy and I simply smile back.

However, what surprised me the most was that persons who do not know me: waitresses/store customers/clerks make positive comments on my outfit items, shoes etc. Quite often, I happen to hear 'I like your..........', 'I love your........', 'your......... is/are really cute'.

I never experienced such a thing in Poland or any other European country which I visited. No, my look or style did not change while living in Texas. I most often wear my European clothing/shoes. Again, in Poland, commenting on such personal matters, considering talking to strangers or customers would be found rather improper or/and unprofessional. No way, you would hear “I like your ........” from a bank clerk for example. Bank/office persons talk to customers only about the bank/office matters. Waiters, who I used to meet, talked to guests only while taking orders/on orders. However, it happened they chatted  about other things as well, but only when a guest happened to start a dialogue. Anyway, even in such a case, you would never hear a comment on your look or appearance as it would be something maybe similar to violating your personal zone. You just say 'I love your ..........' only to someone who you are accustomed with.
But it is so nice to hear it! Especially when you do not expect it at all. I like it! Well, who does not. It is always quite uplifting and makes me feel good as well.

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