Legend has it that "Texas" is derived from an indigenous word for "friend." Modern Texans are from hundreds of countries and speak thousands of languages. Spanish is the native language of 27%, followed by Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog, Hindi, French, Urdu and German.
We're on a mission to chat with our Texan friends and neighbors from as many national origins as possible, and share their stories here. What brought you to Texas, and what keeps you here? What does it mean to be Texan? Let us know!
Dasha Zelentsova, an anthopologist and dance instructor, tells us about her big move to the other side of the planet. She grew up "very close to Mongolia" -- just an eighteen hour drive. We discuss Florida, California, New Jersey, HEB, Buc-ee's, Whataburger and the Alamo. Dasha reveals how she can spot other Russians from a distance, and teaches us some useful phrases. (Субтитры на русском языке.)
Juldas "Mak" Makanga tells us what brought him all the way from the Gabonese Republic. We discuss the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Southern University, barbecue, and our dreams of retiring in the country. Juldas shares the fun of hearing one of his 12 languages being spoken in public by strangers here. What made him choose Texas and decide never to leave? (Sous-titres en français.)
Francia Carrizales, a nurse and mother, shares what it's like to move from the DR to Houston and then Austin, Texas. Do you follow the rules here for giving hugs, or do things the Dominican way? How do Dominicans greet each other? What's your food like back home, and what's the secret to making ANY food taste good? (Subtítulos en español.)
Actress and model Nguyen Stanton came to Texas as a young girl, as you can tell from her southern accent. She explains how and when to say, "Bless your heart," which isn't as nice as it sounds. We discuss the Dallas Cowboys, restaurants for a quick bite vs. to impress out-of-town guests, and bad guesses at pronouncing names. How can we be more welcoming to refugees and other newcomers?
Lorena Devlyn was an attorney in Mexico City and now interprets for French and Spanish speakers in the US federal courts. Once she told a judge he was the king of idioms... and guess what he heard instead? Any tips for raising bilingual kids? Teach us some funny expressions from south of the border! Like, how do they say, "Don't squat with your boots on"? (Subtítulos en español.)
Welcome to Texas! Cristina Mundaray moved here from Venezuela decades ago. We discuss Canadian winters, Texas summers, swimming and air conditioning. How many cousins do you have? What made you decide to stay here? When was the last time you saw a bonafide cowboy? Teach us a funny Venezuelan expression! (Subtítulos en español.)
Amon just got to the US a few months ago, and his first impression of Texas is: big cars, big roads and big buildings. We discuss Disney and Marvel movies, Lampasas, the Boteco food truck, his American wife and Brazilian beaches. Teach us some Portuguese!
Sandra shares her story of moving from France to Ireland to the United States, and settling in Texas. She loves gardening, ever since those summers in the French countryside, and is part of a community garden here. But most of all, she loves spending time with her twin daughters and husband, enjoying the parks and warm weather in her new home. They speak French and Spanish together at home.
Fahim Idais grew up in the West Bank, then moved to San Antonio in 1971, where he went to college and married an American. He served a full career as a US Air Force officer, then another as a Texas state employee, and now teaches part-time at Austin Community College. Over 100,000 Texans are Arab-American.
Masha arrived in Texas recently fleeing the war in Ukraine with her teenage son. She tells about her experiences and first impressions of life in the Lone Star State. Masha works as a translator of the Russian and Ukrainian languages. She explains some of the differences between the languages, and how their use has evolved in a bilingual country throughout her lifetime, often due to politics. The best thing about Austin: friendly, open-hearted people.
Israel, Taiwan, and more!