I knew we would be in for a lot of changes when we moved to the south. I knew we would sounds different and that my kids would most likely develop southern accents. I knew church and God were very big in people’s lives and that there were much greater racial and economic divide than New England (specifically coastal New Hampshire).
While I tried to prepare myself for all of the fore mentioned, it was difficult. One of those, you don’t know until you’re actually there scenarios. So we’ve been here a year, and here is what I’ve learned;
New vocabulary. There have been handfuls of new words I’ve had to learn. As well as new meanings for words that I already knew. Take for example Buggy. In my mind I see a horse with a carriage behind it. Here, a buggy is a shopping cart. How about a toboggan, a nice wooden sled. Well here in the south, there is no need for sleds, so they call the winter hats with the pompoms on top that are worn for the six days of the year it’s cold enough to do so, toboggans. These are just to name a few.
Religion. It’s a big. There is no other way to put it. Mass on Sunday is just the way life is. ‘Have a blessed day’ slips from mouths as simply as goodbye. With that, comes ‘Merry Christmas’ at the holiday season, which I love. In the North, people are too concerned with offending someone, so the only thing that can be said is ‘happy holidays’, or more typically, nothing at all.
Schools. I had to sign a waiver when the boys started daycare that outlined that I understood that they did not use corporal punishment. Yep.
Sunday. A day for two things; praising our lord and some goddam college football, USC and Clemson to be exact. If you aren’t getting up and putting your Sunday best on to go to mass, there is no point in being up before 11AM because basically nothing is open yet and most places don’t even open on Sunday.
Southern Hospitality. It’s real. The first week we were here I stood in line at the grocery store while the woman in front of me and the cashier spoke about the woman’s new hair. THESE TWO WOMEN HAD NEVER MET BEFORE, but when they gawked about her new hair for 10 minutes while I stood there with my yankee rush mindset silently screaming shut the hell up I have milk to buy and my kids are about five minutes overdue for a train wreck of melt down, you would have thought they’d know each other for ages. And when it was my turn to cash out you would have thought that the cashier and I went way back.
Temperature. The first thing people said when they found I relocated from New Hampshire “Aw hunny, have ya ever been in Columbia during the heat of the summer?” Why yes, yes I have. Have you ever been in New Hampshire in the middle of winter? Became my go to response. See, it’s all relative – Yes I will admit Columbia in the summer was something else, BUT I’d still take it over clearing snow from cars, stuffing screaming children into snowsuits just to go to the car to have to take it off again to get in the car seat, and my absolute least favorite of all – the snot freezing in your nose the second you walk out the door. I will take 102* and humid over that any day.
Women. I can’t even keep track anymore of how many times I have heard a woman say something about “going out without my face on”. I’m lucky if I make it out the house at all – let alone plan far enough in advance to have a few minutes to myself to apply make-up.
Men. When men in New Hampshire and other northern New England areas hit on you or cat call, it feels so offensive and dirty, typically because they are assholes about it. They feel that they are entitled to comment on your features. Well, in true southern gentlemen form “Wow ma’ma you sure are glowing, your husband is one lucky man” a comment I got at a gas station when I was pregnant with Chloe. Really? I was in awe. Immediately texted my friends.
Ma’ma/Sir. Just what comes out of your mouth when you talk to anyone, ever. No matter how old you are, and no matter how old the person you are speaking to is. It’s as natural as breathing.