My readers who know me well (and considering the diversity of such a widespread audience as my blog has I’m pretty sure that’s all six of you) may just flip out by that title. SHE’S TURNED YANKEE ON US! QUICK! SAVE HER FROM THE EVIL FANGS OF NORTHERN TREACHERY!
(That all-caps message was brought to you by the sole influence of Sophie Hudson. See, I haven’t forsaken my southern roots. Amen and pass the bacon.)
In the rare case that you’re reading my blog and do not know me well, first, glance up again at my blog name and then consider this: eight months ago I moved north of the Mason-Dixon line. Yep, that oughta explain everything.
But don’t send up the brute squad, yet. I haven’t converted to yankee ways and don’t intend to. (Although my mama had the audacity to say during a visit that I had lost some of my southern drawl. Bless her heart, but how could she! I know I never had much to begin with, but really, that’s the lowest of the low!)
Ahem. Anyhow, what was I saying? (Bear with me, y’all . . . )
Oh, why I don’t belong here but like it anyway. Right. Very quickly I picked up on differences between here and home, cultural and otherwise. Some things are hard to pinpoint exactly, but you just know it’s not normal. (Assuming I’m the normal one here.)
The more obvious ones are:
- their incorrect pronunciation of pecan (just about lost a friend over that one)
- their refusal to call a coke what it is (look folks, soda is for baking, and pop goes the weasel)
- putting our staple ingredients and spices in the International aisle (the International aisle! If that’s not an invitation to secede I don’t know what is!)
- the lack of a good fried catfish place (or even a bad one, for that matter!)
- labeling a high of 85 degrees as a hot day. (And I mean HAT, like SCORCHING, like how much HATTER can it get, yew gise?)
Then again, I have no doubt they were snickering behind my back the day I donned a hoodie when it dropped below 60 in July. And they’re currently getting a good chuckle out of my complete shock at seeing mountains of snow lining the roads!
But I’m sure they’ve heard many things about us southerners, and I’d hate to disappoint them, so might as well entertain them.
Many other of the northern stereotypes are true, such as serving unsweet tea (yes, there really is such a thing!), a shortage of southern Baptist churches (shocking, I know), and the lack of southern charm or etiquette, exchanged instead for crudeness and bluntness. I would give you an example, but, um, where I was raised “stupid” and “butt” were taboo.
What they lack in manners they make up for in Sunday yard sales. (That’s an even exchange, right?) I can’t think of a single fair-weathered Sunday that I didn’t spot one, whereas back home I’d never heard of a Sunday sale.
It’s just too much, I know.
So I think I’ve harped enough on the differences. (I didn’t even tell you about the time this born-and-bred Baptist attended a Presbyterian service, but that’s another story for another time. [Oh and hey, they serve wine. Just thought you might want to know in case you’re a Baptist and ever end up in a Presbyterian service. Not “end up” as if you would mistakenly walk in to the wrong church, but—oh, never mind . . . ] )
Okaaay . . . now to answer the question inevitably lingering in your mind: In spite of all the quirks, and admitting to feeling out of place, why do I still like it here?
The short answer is, you got me!
The long answer is, this move to the Midwest (not the north! Did you catch that? It’s the Mid. West.) has been the catalyst for much growth in my life. It has given me good exposure to much more than this admittedly (and thankful for) sheltered girl has had previously. It has forced me to think through and define what I believe; to step out of my comfort zone at times; to cherish the moments with those I love.
And I like that.
The cautious introvert in me is terrified at all this change. But the adventurous, live-life-to-the-fullest part of me that occasionally sneaks out is by faith leaping for joy. (Not to be confused with dancing for joy. I’m still a Baptist, you know.)
And this has nothing to do with the fact that I no longer live in the south, “tragic” though that may be. What it comes down to is this: God has me right where He wants me, and because of that I am happy to grow and flourish here in this frozen tundra with these poor ignorant people for as long as He has me here. Yes, even if that means at the risk of losing every last bit of my southern drawl—heaven forbid!—or going yard sale shopping on a Sunday.
But y’all, I’m not too worried. You can take the belle out of the south, but you can’t take the south out of the belle. And I’m pretty sure that’s biblical.
(Amen and pass the bacon.)