Thought Life

Five Days in Texas: From Austin to Dallas

Yesterday, my girlfriend and I visited a local church in Dallas after meeting up with a potential client, Lisa, at Starbucks. After the service, Lisa connected us with a local family, Christine and Richard, along with their two kids. This was really helpful since I’m looking to make as many connections as possible on my first trip to the US.

We had lunch with Christine and Richard, and they asked us what surprised us the most upon our arrival in Texas. I think this topic is worth writing about.


We noticed that in the restaurant, very few people were glued to their phones. In China, it’s common to see many people constantly looking at their phones.

Richard, the guy we had lunch with, didn’t even bring his phone to the table. He mentioned he prefers to focus on the present moment when spending time with family or friends.

Tipping at Restaurants

At first, I thought tipping would be annoying since we don’t have this practice in China. But then, I noticed something interesting. Since the tip percentage is based on the server’s quality of service, we always receive good service in restaurants, often accompanied by the server’s smile, which can brighten your day.

It’s like a reflection of capitalism, where good service is rewarded while poor service isn’t. In China, it’s not unusual to encounter servers with stern faces, giving a negative experience despite the food tasting good.

Anyway, I feel that the culture of tipping is an important factor in improving restaurant service, much like how a market economy can encourage innovation.

The culture of tipping is an important factor in improving restaurant service, much like how a market economy can encourage innovation.

Jonah Jin

Sports and Health

On Saturday, we visited Lady Bird Lake in Austin and walked along the Colorado River. We were surprised to see so many people running and biking, reminding us of our student days when people exercised in the playground.

There were moms and dads running while pushing strollers with one or even two babies. We also noticed older people with grey hair who were running or walking, looking no different from the younger crowd except for their hair color.

I’ve never seen this in China, which is why I feel that people in the US, or at least in Texas, seem healthier. They do appear healthier than people in China.

Also, when I asked RC and Christine about their leisure activities, they mentioned engaging in various sports like Pickleball, indoor rock climbing, etc.

Driving Speed

In Texas, I noticed people drive really fast. Renting a Tesla Model Y Performance was the right choice for me; it has good acceleration, which helps when merging onto main roads.

The higher speeds are actually a plus for me because I feel like I can cover distances much quicker than in China.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised that there were no tolls on the drive from Austin to Dallas.

Social Environment

For some strange reason, the only drawback I can think of in Texas is the food. But even then, it’s not that the food is bad; it’s more about needing time to adjust to it. To help with this, I forced myself to finish an entire bowl of salad on Friday evening, despite not liking the taste. I believe that both the human body and brain are highly adaptable.

People here live in individual houses rather than in the densely populated apartment complexes common in China. The population is more spread out. That’s why I always feel a sense of peace and less stress in Texas.

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