How ya'll doing?

I guess there's a stereotype that most Texans speak English with a Texan accent - which I have found to be untrue. In fact I yet have to meet somebody who has the pure Texan accent and I've been here 2 weeks now. There is something that almost everybody uses and that is "ya'll" (meaning "you all"). How ya'll doing? Whatcha ya'll been up to? What can I getch ya'll? are some of the questions you hear all the time. When I have pointed this out to Sarah she says she even doesn't notice. Well I guess that's true if its your language. But I am very much looking forward to talking to somebody with a thick Texan accent :)

One thing I have found to be different (although I'm already used to it) is that pedestrian traffic lights have different colors. I mean red is still red, but instead of green they use white color. When I questioned it I heard something like its simpler this way. After voicing my opinion that wouldn't it be easier if green would always be green, the reaction was something like "oh.. I guess yeah". It makes you see how people get used to something and then consider this easy and convenient as this is what they're used to. I'm convinced you see such phenomena in every country, including our own (even though we might not be conscious of it!).

When going to the US you would normally expect to see and hear English everywhere, but it seems in the south Spanish is also a very important language. You see signs in both languages on the streets, in the shops, pretty much everywhere. When I landed in Atlanta airport already there I was struck by the amount of signboards in Spanish (sometimes only Spanish!). The influx of Mexicans to southern states of the US is pretty high and its common to see cities where Hispanic people form a majority (including big cities).

When you tell anyone outside the US that "Hello, I'm from Texas" you will most likely hear comments like "Oh, from the Bush country" or "So how's George these days", then here in Austin I have found only people that strongly dislike him. I have seen stickers in the shops saying "A village in Texas has lost its idiot" next to the picture of Bush, anti-Bush writings on cars, graffiti on the walls and pavement. As I hear Austin is the only city in Texas which consists mostly of democrats.

One thing that I constantly find telling myself is "Hey, that's just like in the movies!" US culture and lifestyle are so widely communicated to the world through Hollywood movies, TV serials and so on, that you won't be surprised that often. Its more like recognizing things you have seen than seeing something for the very first time. Its an interesting feeling that I have kind of never felt before. Its kind of like attending a concert of an artist whose songs you know well and when you hear the first chords of a song you recognize, you have this warm fuzzy feeling inside.

Seeing things with your own eyes beats TV any time, real thing is the real thing.

The first times I saw the yellow school bus I yelled "Hey, thats the schools bus!", first time I saw the fire truck I said "It's just like in the movies!". American homes/houses are somewhat distinct from houses in Europe, but they still feel familiar.

Tomorrow I'm attending a Mexican wedding here, with a Catholic mass and everything. More about that later!

(Pictures: 1. Austin suburbia 2. Texan nature and the truck we use to get around 3. Lily (Sarah's younger sister) and Sarah 4. Sarah and Jayda (Sarah's niece)). I promise to take much more pictures from now on and post them on the blog.

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