Adjusting to Life in the South

July 11, 2014
When I've lived in the United States, I've always lived up North, specifically in Ohio and in Pennsylvania.  Although I'm not in a different country or anything like that, the culture is different here in the South, and I'm still getting surprised here and there.

* I can't believe how friendly people are in general.  I know it seems cliche to say, but I do find attitudes to be different here.  Strangers frequently approach me and start up conversations.  Everett and I were looking for pimentos and were asking each other what aisle they might be in.  A lady overheard us talking and then guided us over to them saying that she had trouble finding them awhile back.  I'm just used to people kind of keeping to themselves and didn't expect her to go out of her way to help us.  That's just one example from a long list of similar types of experiences I've been having down here.  The workers in stores are also VERY polite, and I've yet to have a rude experience so far, though I'm sure I just jinxed myself, haha.  I went into a Publix and got smiled at at least three times, got asked how I was doing, and then another worker asked if they could help me with anything.  I'm not used to that!!  I felt like I was getting the royal treatment or something because when I grocery shopped at big discount retail stores in Ohio, it seemed like I could never find anyone to help me and when I did, they looked bothered most of the time.  I was also surprised when I stopped to get fast food because the workers were SO nice, even at the drive-thru.  They kept calling me, "Ma'am," smiled, and said thank you.  I gave Everett a look, and I didn't even have to say a word.  He automatically knew exactly why I was surprised and told me that fast food experiences down South were much more pleasant compared to his fast food experiences up North.  I think being around friendlier people will have a positive effect on me because I try to be a nice person, but if a worker is wrong and they are rude to me I will defend myself, sometimes in a snarky way.

* There are some critters that I see here that I'm not used to seeing!  I've already been told by several people to "watch out for the snakes."  Yes, of course there are snakes in Ohio, but I've seen only one snake once when I was walking on the bike trail.  I guess they are a lot more common down here.  Also, the other night while we were driving my friend slammed on the brakes because of what I thought were two opossums crossing the road.  When I asked if that's what they were, both of my friends laughed at me and said that they were armadillos.  Hey, it was dark...and WHAT???  I didn't even know they had those down here!  I just associated them with the Southwest.  Everett told me to never touch an armadillo's tail (because that's exactly what I want to do) because it has given people leprosy.   

* Driving is different here!  Typically U-Turns are illegal in Ohio, but here it is common.  Also, I was warned that when I'm taking a right turn and someone is crossing a median and also turning right, that they have the right of way, not me.  Ummmm, I'm really glad I was informed of this because I would have surely gotten into an accident or at least gotten some rotten looks.  My roommate, Jared, told me that he learned the hard way and had people yelling at him and flipping him off and he had no idea why at first.  Also, I got a blinking yellow turn signal in North Carolina!  I had never seen one before, so I just had to guess that it meant that turning was okay as long as I was yielding to oncoming traffic, which luckily was the right guess.  At least there are no barred stop signs like there are in Michigan!  

* I'm still adjusting to the heat and weather.  I went swimming in the middle of the day and then sat and drank some sweet tea and felt fine.  Later that evening, I got a POUNDING headache from being in the heat too long and from dehydration.  I just was drinking the same amount of water I'd been drinking in Ohio, which is clearly not going to cut it here.  I've been extremely dehydrated twice, got burnt three times, and got a heat rash for the first time in my life.  Now I slather on sunscreen, drink tons of water, and now want to carry an umbrella around with me to shade myself from the sun like I saw a lot of Korean women do.  Just joking about the last part, but I have to be careful here!


Just one of the many places I got burnt

Getting baked, only not realizing it at the time

* I learned that Parker's gas stations/convenience stores are the best!  They are immaculate, they have little booths where you can eat whatever snack you've purchased, and they have the biggest selection of drinks I've ever seen in a convenience store!  

* I hadn't worn shorts in Ohio for about 3 years and I only have one pair that fit.  I need to get more shorts ASAP--it's wayyy too hot to be wearing jeans on days I'm outside a lot.

* Milk is over $4.00 a gallon here which surprised me!!  Everett said it's because most dairy farmers are up north and it costs so much down here because of the shipping costs.

* I'm getting to try all sorts of new food.  I had boiled peanuts, black eyed peas, humming bird cake, and went to a fish fry and had fried catfish.  Besides trying new food, I'm also enjoying being able to have traditional Southern food like grits and hush puppies.  

Boiled peanuts

These are just some little differences that I've noticed during my time here so far.  What have you learned when you moved to or visited a new place?
32 comments on "Adjusting to Life in the South"
  1. try LC by Lauren Conrad for shorts. they are awesome, and so reasonable!

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    1. Good to know, thanks! I actually own a few Lauren Conrad shirts and love them, but my 1 pair of shorts aren't by LC, lol.

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  2. All of that food is making me hungry! Living in NC though, I've grew up with that all of my life. Grits are my favorite.

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  3. Southern food is the best. I felt the difference in moving from Florida to Massachusetts in 2007, the north and south are quite different. I had a bit of culture shock and came back in a year.

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    1. Southern food is tasty as anything, but I need a diet already, lol. At least the weather makes it easier to exercise. :) I'll get to be out walking when Ohio (where I'm from) is covered in snow and ice this winter.

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  4. I heard of boiled peanuts recently & was intrigued. How did they taste? :] // itsCarmen.com ☼

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    1. They tasted kind of mushy. I didn't like them at first, but once I got used to the texture, they were a good snack. :)

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  5. I am so jealous of all the southern food you are having. That's one thing I miss about Tennessee. Have you tried fried green tomatoes yet?

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  6. Girl welcome to all the awesome-ness!!! :) Nothing like living in the South ;)

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    1. I do like it here! I need a job so that I know I can stay.

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  7. What did you think about the boiled peanuts & catfish?? I'm originally from MN & moved down to TX 2 years ago...there were definitely some culture shock things.

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    1. I ended up liking boiled peanuts after I got used to them. The catfish was surprisingly good, and I'm amazed that I even tried it! I am so picky when it comes to fish/meat.

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  8. I love living in the south its just amazing :) Ive never been up North but whatevs lol
    I have lived in AL for 27 years and I still dont drink enough water and stay dehydrated.

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    1. You're funny! I can't take the pounding headaches, so I'm trying to change my ways.

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  9. Fried green tomatoes! I've been down south (Alabama/Mississippi) a couple times and while I've yet to have black-eyed peas, I've had catfish (good, if you like fish), and fried green tomatoes, which were amazing. Also, I noticed some of the things you mentioned (friendly people), and a few less positive things, like being called a "Yankee" and generally more prejudices.

    The customer service sounds awesome! Some of the rudeness we get up here in the (semi) North makes me rage-y.

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    1. No one has called me a "Yankee" yet, though I bet some people were thinking it. The only thing I really heard so far about "Yankees" was from my friend's professor who said that his father told him (back in the day before most buildings had A.C)., "Son, don't complain about the heat. It keeps the Yankees away." lol.

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  10. That sunburn pic makes me cringe because I know the feeling all too well. :( I've lived a few different places in the US and there can be such a huge difference in how outgoing people are. Like the supermarket thing you described: I feel like that would NEVER happen to me here in NYC, but in NC? Totally would and did.

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    1. Yes, it will take some getting used to. Up North I verrrrry rarely talked to strangers in stores.

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  11. Welcome to the South! LOL we are certainly different and some of the stereotypes are soooo true! Enjoy :)

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    1. Some of the stereotypes are true in a good way though!

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  12. Loving in Georgia I know exactly what you mean about ppl being nice. I love that even passing a stranger on the highway they throw their hand up and wave! Welcome to the south:)

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  13. So cool that you have started checking off things from your "Southern Bucket List." When you have grits at a restaurant, you should look for a meal called "shrimp and grits." It's made a little differently everywhere you go, but is soooooo good. What I like about the South is that your co-workers are really like your family. True that it's important to do a good job and take care of "customers", but when it comes down to it, co-workers have to be there for each other first and foremost. I have loved bonding with my co-workers and making new memories every day at work with some of my closest friends!

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    1. I will be on the lookout for shrimp and grits! Thanks for the recommendation. I hope I do end up loving my co-workers because right now I only really know Jared, Everett, and Everett's family members.

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  14. My best friend moved from Oregon to Arkansas and she is always telling me about cultural differences she has experienced. I love the different sayings they have down in the south.

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    1. Yes!! I've already heard "fixin' to" and "might could." Love it!

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  15. Moving from California to England forced me to experience a real winter. Plus, Im so curious to know what boiled peanuts taste like!

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    1. How'd you like winter?? Ohio winters are terrible if you don't like freezing (which I don't)...I'm glad to have escaped! You'll have to take a trip down South and try some boiled peanuts for yourself. :)

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  16. So glad you are loving life in Savannah! I hope I get to come and visit you down south sometime! I finally got a new laptop and now can post comments on your blog since my iPad wouldn't let me!

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    1. That would be awesome if you could come and visit. We would have a blast. :) Hooray for your new laptop!

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