Lubbock or Leave It.

I’m experiencing a culture shock of sorts here in West Texas, but it’s slight, and I wonder if it is actually being cushioned by the fact that I moved here straight from northeastern Brazil, instead of from the northern United States.  I am finding a surprising number of similarities between northeastern Brazil and west Texas, ones that are a far reality from my life back in the northern U.S. of A.:

  • there’s lots of meat, and in any style imaginable (grilled, fried, baked… fillet, tongue, or liver anyone?);
  • texans, as brazilians, loooove their all you can eat barbecue (churrasco). The earlier in the day, the better;

    img_0020saturday morning’s line at the golden corral all-you-can-eat, chock-full-o-meat buffet

  • the region is considered ‘caipira,’ or hillbilly-ish, by the rest of the country;
  • (note: I personally wouldn’t call folks hillbilly here at all, just chock full of southern warmth);
  • everyone everywhere I go is super-friendly and super-interested in what in gaaaawd’s name brought a chicago gal here (fill-in-blank, lubbock/ recife);
  • radio stations alternate between country, amy grant 80’s ballads, and straight up bible-talk;
  • folks are proud of texas, just as they are proud of pernambuco, brazil, & display their flag at every chance they get;img_00012

    my first afternoon with Uncle Sam at the local coffee shop J&B’s

  • people slip ‘oh gawd’/ ‘meu deus, or ‘jesus!’ or ‘mother mary!’/ ‘nossa senhora do ceu’ — what in brazil i called god-speak or jesus talk–  frequently into conversation.


the local Barnes and Noble even has a specialty and everyday bible section… as well as 8 rows of books on christian spirituality.  Smart marketing..

However, this is not meant to downplay or to simplify the differences between northeastern brazil and west texas.  One common difference I attribute simply to being in the United States. Most things here are large, exaggerated, and probably requires a car to arrive at.  Preferably a very large car.


a Saturday night at the local Irish pub, my tiny, shiny red Volvo looked somewhat puny in between these giants

The most surprising difference thus far relates to the alcohol policy of this college-town.  Lubbock lies within a dry county; in fact, alcohol wasn’t even sold here until well into the latter half of the 20th century.  In Brazil I would see small children run down to the corner store at noon on Sunday to buy their drunk dad a bottle of cheap, home-made caçaca (rum).  In Lubbock, the drunk college kids jump in their cars to drive to “The (liquor-law exempt) Strip,” which consists of a bunch of liquor stores lit up by Vegas-style lights which operates outside of the  city’s liquor laws.

l1080852The Lubbock Strip (photo: Laura McFarlane)

It’s so American that it even has a drive-in.


The Lubbock Strip (photo: Laura McFarlane)

When hearing of my plans to move to West Texas from Brazil, many of my friends warned of the impending shock.  One even pointed me to the Dixie Chicks song, Lubbock or Leave it, which forewarns:

Dust bowl, Bible belt
Got more churches than trees
Raise me, praise me, couldn’t save me
Couldn’t keep me on my knees
Oh, boy, rave on down loop 289
That’ll be the day you see me back
In this fool’s paradise

Though, so far my culture shock is not really attribultable to Texas nor to this fool’s paradise, but rather just the fact that I am back in the land of largess – Miami, Chicago, Lubbock, or L.A.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Dad said,

    We’re glad you’re enjoying the sights!

  2. 2

    Cibele said,

    shayna! adorei a comparacao!! ficou muito bom!!

Comment RSS · TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: