Things I know about Texas: the sky is big. the fried chicken is good. the sun is hot. and the people dont talk good English. When I told people that I was going to Texas to learn Latin, they all looked at me a little funny. I mean, I personally wouldn’t go to Texas to learn English, and here I was going to Texas to learn a dead language, a classic language of the founders of Western Civilization. Texas. Latin. Texas…..Latin…..hmmm. Just doesn’t seem to add up. And it might sound a little…prejudiced, I guess. But this opinion has been validated through the English “lessons” I have been getting this week at my conference.

My seminar leader, Karen, decided to enlighten the “Californian Contigent” as I call myself, and complement my Latin learning (which is going…I think the word I’m looking for is HORRIBLE) with some good ol’ Texan slang. The first hilarious thing she said was when she was referring to her husband, who is from Vermont. She explained how they met, and how he “courted me for a good year before I gave in and married him.” Does he like Texas, I asked. “Yes, he wears the Wranglers now. I’m working on a hat. Hes a Yankee, but I love him.” And then other women admitted “Yeah…I married a Yank, too!” Apparently, in Texas, this is some sort of cardinal sin I was unaware of.

One of the most fun questions I get is “Now…where are YOU from?” since apparently its really obvious I’m not from these parts. Because in Texas, there are Texans, and then there is everyone else. Then someone might ask “g’eet yet?” which is translated to “Did you eat yet?” or “Yant to go somewhere?” which means “Do you want to go somewhere?” Because maybe they’re “fixin’ to go” somewhere. I’ve also been told “Don’t fuss me,” and to watch that water bottle in case it “tumps over,” which was explained as a compound of “turn and dump over.”

But of course, the classic is the “y’all.” We’re even using it as a pronoun in our verb conjugations. Yes, we’re translating Latin with the second person plural class of “y’all.” Karen, our seminar leader, even went so far as to proclaim that Texans have “perfected the English language,” by introducing the word “y’all” and its many uses. For example, “how y’all doing?” “are y’all finished yet?” And then “is all y’alls goin to dinner?” refers to many people more people than just “y’all.”

Other fun phrases include “usedtocould,” which is one word, and it means “I used to be able to.” For example, “I usedtocould run a mile real quick. I mightcould run it okay now, but I usedtocould run it real quick like.” I’m not kidding.

In sad news, it appears that hot guy in Latin class is married. He keeps referring to someone named Laura as “my wife” and is wearing a wedding ring and showing pictures of their adorable children, so I guess my little fantasy I had worked out in my head of how we would fall in love over the oringal Romance language and he would be my Latin lover and we would exchange numbers and emails at the end of the week and then court long distance and then marry and live in on a ranch in Texas but keep a house in Tahoe and teach all our half a dozen children Latin and guitar and how to brand cattle….yeah I guess that dream is out the window. But we do sit next to each other and flirt casually. Before I found out about the happily married father detail, we had a lot of fun talking about how we’re both teaching Spanish next year, and….well I really can’t remember the rest because he’s so cute I just kinda giggle when he talks and lose my focus. But we talked about important things, I’m sure. Teacher stuff.

Its pretty fun to watch all the homeschool moms flirt with Joe, too. They all get moonyeyed and giggly and the teacher uses him in all her examples about masculine things. He holds the door open for all of us and says “yes, ma’am.” oh I could just swoon when he says that. Juuuuust swoon.

Anyway Latin boot camp is over on Friday, thank you sweet baby Jesus, and I come back home and try to figure out how I’m going to teach a language I don’t know to the scariest age group ever – junior highers! This summer is going to be interesting.

Valete! (goodbye y’all! Look at me I’m learning!)