English or Spanish in America?
America is fast becoming a bilingual country. While English is the official language for use in government, once you leave the confines of that, you enter, depending on the area in America, into an odd mix of Spanglish.
English dominates certain areas of the US, those areas furthest away from the Mexican border and areas that have little agricultural business. Areas like Montana, North Dakota, maybe Kansas and others. As you get closer to the border of Mexico or the southeastern states, Spanish is not far behind English as being dominate. However, Spanish is dominate over English in America in the towns and cities along the Mexican border. Travel to towns and cities along the border in Texas near the Gulf of Mexico and you might think you are in Mexico because English is subservient to Spanish in most places. It is a weird twilight zone event. You know you are in America because it looks American yet the language is mostly Spanish. Even if you are blond and blue eyed and enter a bank in these locales, the greeting is in Spanish, "Buenos dias". Now, you would expect a bank teller to have the intelligence that this person is obviously NOT Hispanic but anglo and greet them in English. Sort of a duh moment. Yet, it happens. Then when you speak English to them and then they say, "uno momento, por favor", leave, and return with a bilingual teller, it is even more alienish.
It is just weird. That sort of tells you that in certain areas of America, America speaks Spanish by default and English is the foreign language. Again. it is an odd feeling as you leave the bank and while it looks American (Safeway is near, a shopping center, Texas license plates) one hears nothing but Spanish, although I am sure that anyone under 25 is most likely bilingual. Even many of the small stores have Spanish store names. Although, the under 25 is not always true. You will find the usual response when asking for help in English, " No habla ingles. No entiendo" .
The best way to deal with it is not get frustrated or angry. Treat it as if you are visiting Mexico or Spain. Don't look at every Spanish person as if they are illegal. Use the opportunity to practice your own pathetic Spanish you learned years ago or just from osmosis in culture. You know, since most labels and everything else is bilingual, you pick up Spanish words to incorporate with English. It is a learning experience. The same is true for those seeking to know English.
Yes, we all know the country is America and everyone knows to expect English in daily life and business, but on the flip side, expect Spanish also. It's not going away. Fight it or adapt to it but being a little bilingual is a good thing. I mean, don't you like burritos, nachos, tacos, quesadilla, enchiladas, fajitas, salsa, tamales, horchata, churros, gorditas? Si or no? Esta comida es muy bien!
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