Yee Haw! We're experiencing life as a member of an ethnic minority. I can't say that we've experienced any negative reactions to our vampirishly pale skin, dark hair and, of course, 'funny British accents'. No, I suppose the main response from people here is to treat us like novelties, persistently asking us to speak so they can hear that 'overseas talk'. Going through the supermarket today our friend's eldest, Samantha, stopped at two boys she knew. Without looking at us she said to her mother: "Mom. Make them talk British."
In today's Global community this quaint fascination in this town with the Brit factor is as fresh now as when I first visited Texas 23 years ago.
The supermarket encounter made me question what other things have remained the same since that first visit. This thought was further fuelled by the news that during our trip I would be going back to Dallas, the city where I lived, worked and even had a minor car crash (!) when I was 21...not far off the age that Samantha is now. How would life as a 20 year old Texan, born and bred in the state, compare to my memories of being a visiting student?
After only a day in Pampa, situated in the barren, windswept cowboy country of what is known as The Panhandle, I have been reminded of so many of the things that I realise many people, including fellow Americans, hate about Texas but which I love.
The Texan drawl, the 'Y'alls randomly thrown into sentences like we Brits throw in swear words.
Then there's the enveloping heat and the 'traditional' heavy interior design (no Ikea here).
But these are superficial things. I'm here to investigate, absorb and analyse the many more deeper differences from health, diet and fitness to schooling and, of course, politics.
I get to Texas on average once every 4 years. I'm in my element not chilling on a beach holiday but consuming culture (sometimes literally) and absorbing the way of life and I am privileged to have like-minded friends in the Kellys who see the huge benefits of being able to expose our children so deeply to another culture. It's not for everyone but it sure is for me and hubby...y'all!
....more to come