To Texas with love: patriotism, pride, and “bins”

I’ve been asked to write this column as I, and I quote, “have interesting opinions and an international perspective on things.” So, we’ll see how this goes. First things first: I’m Callum, a first-year soccer player from London, England. I live in Witt-Winn and am quite easy to find, just in case anyone has serious grievances or wants to send me some hate mail for what I’m about to give my “international perspective” on… Texans.

After travelling over 4000 miles to attend Trinity, the culture clash is, for me, very apparent. You’d think that Great Britain and the United States of America, both being huge Western world powers, would have many similarities in the lifestyle in each country, and you’d be right, but it’s the small things that one really notices coming from one place to another. Fiercely patriotic of both their state and country, I find that in their natural habitat the wild Texans survive on a cocktail of football (American style), Mexican food and rabid pride, excusing any questionable actions with answers such as “‘Merica” or “It’s Texas.” Texan logic took me a while to get used to, as did the language. You’d think that English is English wherever you go. You’re wrong. It’s ALUMINIUM. Stop using random Zs. It’s a BIN, not a “trash can.” You crazy Americans!

As I write this, the temperature in San Antonio is pretty low and 8:30 classes were actually cancelled this morning. Naturally, I feel right at home. Strangely, everybody else in this place is walking round wearing five jackets, three scarves and seven pairs of gloves. I’m in a short-sleeved Hawaiian shirt. It’s not the apocalypse ,guys, it’s just a bit of wind and rain! You guys are so funny.

The people have been wonderfully welcoming and lived up to the stereotype of Southern hospitality with ease. Furthermore, I’ve had a number of “firsts” thanks to my short stay here. Thanksgiving, Martin Luther King Day, an NBA game, Whataburger, IHOP and many other things have all been new and exciting experiences for me. I’ve had so many people ask me about London and say how cool they think it’d be to travel there and see the sights. It seems to me as if some people fall into the trap of thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Don’t take what you have here for granted. It’s so much fun. Keep celebrating San Antonio and the other parts of Texas (and the rest of the U.S.) that you come from, because I love London, but Texas really feels like a second home right now.

Essentially, this is my love letter to Texas. My first semester was a fantastic experience, and I think the university as a whole deserves immense praise for how welcoming it is to all the first years. But as an international outsider coming into Texas for the first time, I have nothing but good words to say about the place, the people and the lifestyle in general. Well, except for all the guns… but I’ll save that for another time. But seriously, y’all are great, let’s go throw the football around and hit some home runs cause I’m fixin’ to go two-steppin’ at Cowboys’ tonight. I think I’ve been converted…

Thank you if you managed to read this without using my accent in your head. If you want to hear more ramblings from this idiot abroad, follow me on Titter @callumjdsquires. If you need accommodation in London anytime, let me know. Or just come say hi around campus. And I can’t believe I got through this whole article without swearing once! F**k yes.

Callum Squires, first year german major.