Thursday, December 13, 2012

Texas, you are from "The Hood"

My Texas Christmas Tree Ornament. Given to me by a dear friend years ago after I moved from the US

I always find the life stories of others interesting.  In the case of moving abroad, sometimes the move is planned, other times not, but everyone’s story is interesting.  

I met someone at a gathering recently that introduced themselves as having just moved from New York City.  She went on and on about how different Dubai was from New York.  The streets, the restaurants, the lifestyle... I agree it is a pretty special place.  

I obviously introduced myself as American, so as everyone was leaving, she asked me which state I was from.  “Texas”, I answered.  “Oh, we are from Dallas”, she told me. However, that subject was quickly changed and her emphasis was still making it clear that she had just moved from New York because that is “the last place they lived before coming to Dubai”.

Now, I could be reading too much into this, but I just felt like she did not want to openly admit that she was from Texas.  I confess that I have been in situations where I was not always sure how someone would react to me being from Texas, or in some cases America.  For example, when George W Bush was not the most favorite American president, I would take a millisecond mental preparation for any sort of response about having the same state in common.  A few people inquired, but it was never malicious.

Imagine my horror when I first met one of my neighbors and I asked her where she was from.  Iraq.  This was only one day after the US started bombing Iraq.  In normal introductory conversation, she in return asked me where I was from.  That was one of the few times in my life where I felt speechless.  What should I say?  “Hi, nice to meet you.  I am from the country that is bombing yours.”  I felt this profound need to apologize or even hug her.  Regardless of what anyone thinks politically, bombs were dropped.  My initial reaction was to do something, and a hug was the first thing that came to mind as mass military movement is a heavy subject.

After I got over my shock, I answered that I was American.  It didn’t seem to faze her and we went on talking about our kids, where we live and other day-to-day things.  Of course like all people I have met throughout my time abroad, she doesn't mix people and politics.  It was never even a topic of discussion. 

In general, people that I meet who have been to Texas really like it.  People who have been to anywhere else in the US also really like it.  Some even think I am a bit crazy for not having a specific plan to move back to Texas anytime soon.  Maybe so, but it's just not in our cards.

I do not have a long family tree from Texas.  We moved there when I was very young.  However, I grew up there.  While I continue to live happily where I am, if someone asks where I am from I fess up.  So while you may have escaped “the hood”, don’t erase it.  Own it.  The eyes of Texas are upon you…

No comments: