How to be a Transplant Texan (And not look like an idiot)

by Mike Cheney

When I moved to Texas in late 2005, I really didn’t quite know what to think.  Having spent the previous 12 years in rural Missouri and growing up in rural Michigan really didn’t prepare me for what I was moving into.  It was a bit of a shock, really.

Sure, I knew about some of the music (didn’t really know about the regional music until I stumbled upon it) and we all are taught about the Alamo, oil and the cattle that dot the landscape in grade school. But, the beauty that the land holds from the top of the panhandle to the bottom by Laredo is unmatched.  It’s something that can’t be taught with pictures. It has to be witnessed firsthand to truly get the grasp you need.

The most interesting part of Texas is that no matter where you are, the natives look at transplants a little differently.   I’m not sure if it is good or bad thing, really.  One thing I have learned is that if you try to change the culture or how they think, you’re going to be shunned as if you questioned Tom Landry’s commitment to the Cowboys.  If you’re here and you want to be even remotely accepted, sit back and watch.  Ask questions about things, but don’t be overly nosy.  It takes an observant person about 20 seconds to learn that Texans are polite, but not overly friendly.  If a Texan wants to show you something or how it is done, you can bet they are proud of it.  If you accept them as they are and don’t try to change every possible thing in creation, they might actually like you.

14 Replies to “How to be a Transplant Texan (And not look like an idiot)”

  1. Spent 14 years in Texas before moving back to Pa. I miss it every day!! And I take exception to the comment that Texans are not overly friendy. True they look ay Yankees differently–but they are so very friendly!! My parents came to visit and could not believe how friendly everyone was. Upon moving back to Pa., I actually cried when I went shopping b/c I missed the happy cashiers and salespeople!! No place like Texas!

  2. I’ve been here almost 45 years and believe me I would never even consider going back to SW MO for anything more than a short visit. As has been said, by me and many others, I wasn’t born here but I got here as quick as I could…
    American by birth Texan by choice!!! And definitely by the Grace of GOD.
    Some of the native Texans are a bit hard to get to know but there just ain’t none any better!!!

    1. I’m with you! American by birth – Texas by CHOICE and DEFINITELY by the Grace of God! The only reason I wasn’t born here is because my mother was directionally-challenged. I kept her in labor for 3 days – ample time to get to Texas and birth me where I belonged… Thank God – better late than never!

      1. I’m not even American by birth! and i haven’t had the great fortune of living in Texas yet, but i’m married to a 6th generation Texan and live in Tennessee…as close as we could get to Texas…. When Texas secedes, we’ll be dropping everything and moving there!!

  3. What I mean by “polite, but not overly friendly” is this: They will leave you alone for the most part and are polite, but they aren’t big on intruding into your personal space. It’s actually sonething I like about it here. I’m not leaving either.

  4. But the said thing I’m a native Texan, and so many people are changing Texas by leaps and bounds, destroying our land and beautiful country side by putting cement every where makes me extremely sad, to see how this beautiful state is slowly being destroy by people making such changes called progress with the growth of people moving and making these changes… I’m sad……

    1. I agree with you Jeanne Beers. In my 40+ years in Texas I have seen way too much of those changes called progress and I don’t care for it either. I certainly love Texas the way I found it and I wish it had stayed that way. The changers come here, take our jobs, take our money and gripe about how they have to live here. I have no trouble reminding them the same road that brought them here will take them to a place more to their liking.

    2. Me too, my family has been here since 1836 and there is to much concrete and way to many houses. I would hate for them to see TEXAS now. We just do and say things different here. So if you want to live here accept our way of living or try another state.

  5. Living in Texas, my entire life, grew up in South Dallas, never met anyone remotely like the “Ewings” but loved going to the Mesquite Rodeo, Stock car Races and of course, the Sportitorium to watch the Von Erics beat the pants off everyone else! I love Waco, San Antonio, Galveston, Ft. Worth. But what really makes me proud to be a part of this great state is the places not every one knows about like Lost Maples State Park in the fall, the smell of pine trees in East Texas, the Denison Dam, when the bluebonnets are blooming, the fact that during the spring we let the wild flowers grow along the highways. I love the smell of freshly mowed hay, the glimpses of lightin’ bugs, Friday night Football. I love that Texas opened our homes and hearts after Katrina and welcomed our neighbors with food, shelter and jobs! I love that in Texas, men still open doors for you and children still say “ma’am” and “sir”! I love small town Texas where your children are safe because your neighbors are outdoors with you and the village” is watchibg over them! Yes, Texans are proud, loud and sometimes we talk differently, but we are also a caring, compassionate people, who love our history and our land. We fly our flag proudly and thank God for all we have, be it a little or a lot! Texas is my home and my heart and as the saying goes, ” There ain’t no where like Texas!”

  6. I’m not really a transplant-all of my grandparents were born here and after my dad got out of the Navy, I spent ages 2 until I almost turned 6 here. Then got to move back w/ my husband when I was 20. Been back since ’83. I remember when we lived in Lubbock and I was talking to a lady from up north-all she had to say about TX that I recall was to complain. I live in a different
    college town now and so it is not unusual to meet people from out of state. As long as they assimilate to our culture and not try to change it or sit around complaining, I am just fine w/ them. I mean, who can blame them for wanting to move to simply the BEST state in the union!

  7. At retirement, my wife and I moved to Texas in 2004 originally to be nearer our children. We are formally from the nanny state of California and were immediately happy that we made that decision! One of the first things I did was to register my wife’s car with the DPS. The lady who handled the registration apologized for the extra cost in registering our car the first time. It was around $200.00. I told her that Texas saved me about $300.00! The overall cost of living is much lower here and quality of life, in my opinion, is better. I have been warned not to “Californicate” Texas and I tell folks that is the last thing I would want to do since I moved out of that Nanny State. I love Texas!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *