Thursday, November 20, 2008

Um, hi.

Okay. So. Here I am approximately 1,987 miles from where I was born and raised (the great state of Texas). The hubby's job moved us across the country and life has become suddenly much more funny. So funny, in fact, that I decided to blog about it.

Some background - aside from my super wonderful husband, I share my life with two beautiful and brilliant children (you'll hear LOTS about them I am sure), and a small, but sturdy, dog. Life was great in Texas, but I am keeping an open mind on our new adventures here in the northeast.

Back in August, when it became apparent that my husband would accept the job offer and we would have approximately 20 days to find a house, pack our crap, register for school, etc..., I started prepping my kids (ages 6 and 8) on some of the lingual differences between Massachusetts and Texas. We all made a conscious effort to eliminate "fixin' to" from our vocabulary (as in, "I'm fixin' to make supper"), we really worked hard on enunciating the "g" at the ends of our words (we are working, not workin'; cooking, not cookin'),and started to substitute "ya'll" with "you guys." So instead of yelling, "I'm fixin' to start spankin' butts if ya'll don't start cleanin' this room quicker than a dog chews dropped meatloaf." I practiced saying, "Children. Clean this mess up. NOW." See, shortly into our practicing our more refined language skills, I found that really I did much better if I just kept my normal ranting and raving down to short, succinct commands.

And then of course, I prepared my children for the northeastern phenomenon of misplacing the letter "r" in most words. You know, the whole "pahk the cah" (park the car) and whatnot. We watched Good Will Hunting (a most excellent movie) and paused it whenever there was a demonstration of this type of thing. My kids, being so so brilliant, caught on in the first five minutes and finally told me to stop pausing the movie already.

SO. We did the big move and it was a pain, but manageable. I somehow managed to get the kids into a really neat school and boxes unpacked in record time. By week three I was able to find the school, the grocery store, the gas station, and the Old Navy without the assistance of my GPS system. Fast forward five weeks and it is time for the first "parent/teacher conference" with my daughter's first grade teacher. After going though all the reading and math assessment results (all glowing), we started talking about how my sweet little girl was getting along with her new friends. The teacher gave a little chuckle and states that my sweetie was making friends just fine, but there was a teasing incident because of some speech differences. Darn! I thought we had the "ya'll" thing dealt with!! But surprise, it wasn't the "ya'll" that was causing the teasing. It was the word "the." Apparently during read-out-loud time, my child said "the" (as in rhymes with "we") and the kids laughed! The teacher informed me that here in Massachusetts, the word is pronounced "the" (as in rhymes with "duh"). Somehow in all of our preparation, we missed the word "the." The teacher said she had a talk with the class about how people say words differently in different parts of the country and she would not hold it against my daughter. Go figure! After that I figured that our family, ok, really just me, should accept the fact that we are different from those around us and people are going to laugh and maybe even tease us right in front of our faces. But that is okay because we can laugh back at the silly things they do here (like oh my gosh there are Dunkin Donuts and pizza places EVERYWHERE!!! ).

In fact, I find that when I am in a prolonged conversation with anyone (and this includes the grocery checker guy), it makes things more interesting if I really play up the southern accent. I think it is kind of funny to watch the expressions on their faces when I say something like, "My God, it's colder here than a dog's balls in belly-high snow!"