In about a week, I’ll have been living in San Antonio for 7 months. Can you believe that? I think back on how much I accomplished after 6 months in Argentina, and the times don’t even seem comparable. Everything’s been flying by, and I still don’t think I know much about where I am. That doesn’t mean I haven’t been looking!
1. My way or the highway… or the “feeder” or the grass between the ramp and the road.
There are several observations I’ve made that all have to do with Texan driving habits and infrastructure, which are as follows:
– Every highway has a frontage road on either side, and I’ve been told you know someone isn’t from Texas when they call it a frontage road (guilty) because it’s a “feeder”. They’re regular roads that have stop lights, but they follow the highway exactly. People who have come to visit see them as unnecessary, but they’re fun to play with when traffic sucks and you want to try beating everyone by getting on and off the ramps.
– Turnarounds are both a blessing and a curse. These are extra lanes far to the left that allow you to make a full U-turn legally. They’re great once you figure out what they’re for, but have fun understanding your GPS when you first get here.
– Even though turnarounds give you DESIGNATED SPACE FOR U-TURNS, Texans turn around whenever they damn well please. Unexpected U-turns galore. Don’t think they need a road, either, because I’ve seen cars drive straight off of a highway or road through the grass to the road they really need on more than one occasion.
– Finally, despite anarchist views towards road rules, everyone drives under the speed limit. Yes, I said UNDER. Being from up North, where everyone’s in a hurry and 5mph over the speed limit is the minimum, this continually baffles me.
2. Aggie rings are a status symbol
Texas A&M alumni are united by an excessively large ring that you WILL be able to see from across a room because that’s exactly what they want you to do.
3. White people
Fact: They’re a minority here. I’m totally ok with that, but it’s just never something I’ve experienced in the U.S. Have you ever checked out the Racial Dot Map? It’s pretty cool, so go play with it. The country from afar looks like this…
I’ll let you guess what blue represents. San Antonio is the big orange dot in the middle of Texas! If you’re thinking it’s a touchy subject by any means, it’s not. Everyone has a pretty good humor about their Hispanic heritage and embraces stereotypes of it, which I find hilarious. I’ve jokingly said that I’m too white to live here, and people have laughed and agreed that, indeed, albino girls aren’t meant for the Mexican heat.
4. Texans knows what to do with their pickles.
Uhhh no… there was not any sexual innuendo intended there. I don’t know if it’s a Texas thing or a Southern thing, but my taste preferences have been drastically altered since moving here.
Boring fact from Alexa’s past: I used to hate pickles. Fast forward to the present day, and I literally have cravings for fried pickles.
The best I’ve had were at Banger’s in Austin, which were dill spears coated to perfection and served with spicy buffalo ranch to dip. They are my religion.
ALSO! Pickle juice shots — real life.
– 1.5 oz whiskey (I’ve seen vodka, too.)
– 1.5 oz pickle juice
Speaking of drinking, here are two lovely tidbits I picked up from a coworker at happy hour one day:
“Not only is it ok for you to get two drinks at a time, down here you are EXPECTED to get two drinks at a time. God gave you two hands for a reason.”
“In Texas, alcohol abuse is when you don’t finish your drink.”
5. Living in Texas basically forces you to listen to country music
You can’t really avoid it when there are just as many country bars as “regular” dive bars and the majority of the live music acts that come in town are twangy and wearing boots. I guess it doesn’t help that my fellow Northerner coworker, Jordan, is a big fan and keeps dragging me to concerts. LIFE’S HARD, HUH?
6. Iced tea > water
I knew that iced tea was much bigger in the South, especially SWEET iced tea, which is basically sugar water hidden behind the healthy connotation that “tea” provides. I didn’t realize how big it was, though, until I walked into a catered lunch at a work meeting in San Antonio to find iced tea at every table setting where water would normally be. Where did this trend come from? Someone help.
7. “Is that your area code?”
San Antonio’s the 7th largest city in the U.S. and 9th fastest growing (yeah, I was surprised, too). Somehow, despite that, it maintains one area code (210) which makes me feel like I’m back in my little hometown Manhattan, IL where we used to only need to know the last 4 digits of someone’s number to be able to call their house. It’s cute, but I’m a little confused as to how that’s possible.
ANYWAY, that was a real random assortment of Texas/San Antonio facts that in no way connected to each other. Welcome to how my brain works.
If you have explanations for any of these or something else that you’ve noticed, please let me know!
OH, and HAPPY NEW YEAR, y’all!😀