Why did you leave Catalonia?
A few years ago my wife was offered a job at the R&D centre her company has in the Dallas area, and it was an easy decision, a total no-brainer. The economy in Catalonia was struggling and so this was a huge opportunity for all of us, and also for our two sons. The little one was born almost at the same time we decided to move, and his older brother was only two then. Now they are both fluent in English and Catalan and they are growing up knowing and enjoying two very different cultures.
Why did you choose Dallas?
We didn't really choose, this was part of the job offer deal that my wife got, but we did do some research before making the decision and found out that Texas is one of the fastest growing states in the US, that the cost of living is very moderate and that Texans, in general, are friendly and laid back, and all that encouraged us to make the move.
How long have you lived there?
We moved to Dallas in 2012, so it's been almost four years now.
Are you happy with the job opportunities you found in your adoptive country?
This was one of the key things in making the decision to move to Dallas. Texas has a very diversified economy. Obviously the energy sector is one of the pillars of the state, but there are also tech companies, financial services, health and telecom, and it is home to the largest airline in the world. Since moving here, I've changed jobs and joined a multinational software company. We work for some of the biggest airlines worldwide, as well as the top hotel chains and travel agencies, providing them with the latest travel technology to support their business.
What do you think is the best thing about living in Dallas?
We love travelling and exploring new places and Dallas's location is great. It's just two hours away by plane from the Riviera Maya or the National Parks in Utah and Colorado, or three hours away from New York, Florida or the US west coast. Locally, we really appreciate the opportunity of living in a large house and have lots of space for the boys to burn their energy and for us to entertain our friends.
What do you consider the highlights for any brief visit for the first time?
I think any visit to the Dallas area needs to tap into the cowboy culture, and so a visit to the Stockyards is a must. You can enjoy a traditional rodeo (and even join in, if you dare!) or go square dancing at the largest honky tonk in the world (Billy Bob's) surrounded by cowboys in their hats and perfectly ironed jeans and cowgirls in their close-fitting shirts and boots. JFK fans shouldn't miss a visit to the 6th Floor Museum in Dealey Plaza, where the president was shot, and JR fans should head to Southfork Ranch, the setting of the “Dallas” TV series.
And if visitors have more time or make a return visit?
I would recommend exploring some small towns nearby like Jefferson, which still keeps a far west look, with its old Post Office, Rail Station and historical hotels like the Excelsior House. And if they have a little more time and are willing to go a little further, I'd say they drive to the Hill Country near Austin and enjoy the scenery with huge natural pools and waterfalls, and the second largest granite dome in the US, Enchanted Rock.
What do you miss most from home?
The way of life in the US is very different from back in Barcelona, and we definitely miss things like the food or being close to both the mountains and the sea. But, it is little things like not being there for family celebrations, or just going out for a walk (instead of driving everywhere) that we miss the most.
Do you plan to go back to Catalonia?
Sure! We know we will go back in a few years, before our kids grow up too much and the transition becomes too complicated.
Xavier Genís is from Vilanova i la Geltrú (Garraf). Xavier has been living in Dallas (Texas) since 2012. He works in a software multinational.