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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lessons Learned





I’m a transplanted northerner moved to the south.  What does that mean? Well, for one it means that I’m the one with the accent.  Not that the checkout lady at my local Harris Teeter would ever point that out, she’s too busy calling me things like “sugar pie” and blessing my heart.  I thought it was the sweetest thing too until someone told me that “bless your heart” has a 50/50 chance of being, well, not so complimentary. It’s kind of along the lines of the adage “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say it,” only down here they have to say something (even if only in their head) and then get overloaded with guilt and feel the need to bless you afterwards.  At first, after hearing this, I was really paranoid whenever someone did this too me, but now? Well, hey, if they want to extend me blessings, I’ll take them. I mean, can’t hurt, might help, right? ;-)

Anyway, that’s just one of the things that I’m getting used to and most of them really are good. The lifestyle down here has encouraged me to embark on a lot of personal self-improvement projects. My facial muscles are getting a real workout with all the smiling I’ve been doing. See, in the south, you smile. No matter whether it’s raining frogs or life is spitting in your oatmeal, you smile, because at the end of the day, even if you have nothing else to show for it, you can hold your head high knowing that you met the day with a good attitude.

Another thing I’ve been increasing my stamina on is patience.  It’s not that life in the south is truly any slower (goodness knows I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off) but there is a kind of pacing issue that I’ve noticed.  Things like when the light turns green and it takes a good ten or more seconds for that first car to actually proceed through the intersection.  At first I was like, AHHHH! GO! but didn’t dare honk the horn because no one else was doing it. After a while of hair-pulling (and always being just a smidge late for everything) I realized this lack of a lead-feet was all for a reason. In the south we don’t rush our neighbors and we look out for each other too. And well that person in the front of the line who isn’t zooming on to the next light? They’re just looking out for that neighbor who is most likely coming from the other direction because, see, slamming on the brakes is a big no-no down here too, which means that at least one, probably two cars are going to go through that red light! Slow and methodical wins the race, right? ;-) 

All that aside, I think the most amazing lesson I’ve learned down here is more of a re-learning of a very important life lesson. And that’s to take time to stop and enjoy those little miracles of life.  The funny thing is that those miracles are oftentimes things that I never really thought much of before or worse, considered more of a headache than a miracle. Want an example? Well how about this: SNOW.  Yup, that’s right, we had almost 4 inches of snow this last weekend.  Our first real snowfall in two winters of being here. And where before a “major snowstorm” would mean hours on end shoveling driveways and sidewalks, and even more lugging more firewood up to the house from the barn, this time the event was met with a contagious sort of enthusiasm that even me, a jaded, grumbly adult couldn’t ignore. Down here that much snow is nothing short of a miracle. And when that sort of miracle comes your way you don’t worry about the shoveling or feeding the fire to dry out the many, many wet hats and gloves that your children are going to go through. You just smile, blow up that inter-tube usually reserved for the pool (they make great sleds too!) and head down to the only real hill in the neighborhood and hang out with a bunch of your neighbors as your kids all laugh and play in the snow.







How about you? What are some of the quaint customs in your neck of the woods that are different from other parts of the country/world?

Best,
Lady Hellion

30 comments:

  1. aw, how nice :) love the pics. I've lived my whole life in NC, from the beach to the mountains. Wouldn't want to live anywhere else. In the rural parts of NC you can drive down a road and people sitting on their front porches will wave at you. Kind of nice :)

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    1. Sharon, I hear you. Rural NY can be like that too...if they know you! So when I first came down here and everyone waved I was always squinting at them trying to figure out if I'd met them yet or not ;-)

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  2. OMG This is so hilarious!!! I moved from Connecticut to North Carolina three years ago...and know exactly what you mean. The green light thing drove me berserk, and the day I learned the double meaning of 'bless your heart', well I was blessing some hearts that day, I'll tell you. But you are right, we knew such joy down South, too. The dusting that shut schools so that they had to open on Saturdays. And the waving and greetings from complete strangers. When I returned North, with my 'southern charm', people looked at me like I was crazy for 'waving' to strangers.

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    1. Christi, I find the cultural difference so amazing considering we're all one nation. That said, I think each region has its own charms and its own set of 'crazy' ways :-D

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  3. Aw, what a pretty snowfall you guys got!

    My story is a back-and-forth one. I was raised in the south -- NC from 1-8, then Atlanta from 8-18. Then I hightailed it for NYC, where I remained for 15 years. I have love-hate relationships with the north AND the south, but I have sensibilities that come from both sides of the coin, which can make me feel a little schizo sometimes. Ha! So in the end, hubby and I just decided to move to paradise. Now we live with a healthy mix of northerners and southerners in Palm Beach, FL. Half the people are laid back, taking their time to get anywhere, just happy to be living at the beach...and others try to run you off the road and flip you the bird any chance they get. LOL.

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    1. Jerrica, That is funny! I've heard that Florida is a great melting pot of cultures. I think it would be worth the mixed motley though to live on a beach! Can I visit? ;-)

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    2. Anytime, Tes!! The weather is stunning!! :)

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  4. I love the part about the traffic lights changing and no one moves or honks. Coming from NYC, that is the one thing we notice whenever we are on vacation in the south. The one or two times we were honked at, I checked out the license plate-sure enough, NY and NJ!
    Great post!

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    1. You know, if you honk at a Southerner you're going to be called a rude Yankee, which is a huge insult down South. LOL. My sister was mortified when her very Southern husband told me I sound like a Yankee now.

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    2. Nancy, It was very odd at first. Also what strikes me as odd is the number of people who will not go and wave a person turning to go first. I think it's sweet... but with the influx of all us "yankees" I always worry that the signals will get crossed!

      ps. Samantha... so far no one has called me a yankee... least not to my face. I wonder if that's what some of the Bless your Hearts are about though!

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    3. LOL, Tes! I would imagine that is some of the blessing of your heart. :) I've lived all of the the US, but I mainly grew up in Texas. And there's nothin' worse than bein' called a Yankee. Here in NC, I don't hear the word much, but I also live in one of the larger metropolitan areas. I'm guessing if I lived one or two counties over, it could be a big difference. :)

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    4. Alas, Ava, you are probably right. I'll still take heart that they're blessing me over calling me a Yankee though!

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  5. Tes,
    What a great blog! I'm originally from the South, but I've been living in Wisconsin for 16 years now. The people are mostly very kind and would give the shirts off their backs to help others. Work ethic is a really big thing. You work hard and you take care of yourself and yours, or if your neighbor needs a helping hand, you take care of them too. Lots of people are also stoic and don't share their troubles easily, so when someone opens up to me, I consider it a huge gift.

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    1. It's great to have neighbors like that, Samantha! I'm not sure I could deal with the cold again though... BRRRR!

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    2. I would gladly give up the cold, but my kids don't want to move. Plus, we have family here. I just wish we could live somewhere else in the winter.

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    3. Leaving family is hard. We have relatives up north so we go see them in the summer when it's sweltering down here!

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  6. Hi Tess!

    Wish I was there! I envy you for living in paradise! I may have grown up in up-state New York, gone to college in Arizona and got married in Florida but when my husband got out of the Navy after serving during Vietnam he moved us to Rhode Island. Since I original moved from New York because I hate cold weather so much I've missed the warmth of the south the most and I'm not just talking about the temperature!

    Of all the places I've lived I've never met people so willing to open their welcome and hearts more than there!

    Fortunately my younger son went to The Citadel and loved South Carolina so much he never moved back home and blessed us with a wonderful "southern" daughter-in-law and now 3 grandchildren so we make sure to visit as often as we can get time off from work!

    He loves living and working in South Carolina because the pace is so much more laid back but the one thing he original missed the most from our "neck of the woods" was Dunkin Donuts which was founded here in our little state. Coffee is so much a mainstay in Rhode Island and not just served hot but they also drink ice coffee year round! Of course coffee milk is also a must have and the only place I've ever seen it sold is here and is a favorite drink to have with our clam chowder (clear clam broth - no milk ) and clam cakes!

    You see in Rhode Island it's all about the food! In Rhode Island everyone loves the varieties of the classics like great Italian food at Federal Hill and and buying your lobster right off the fishing boats in Galilee to getting the best burgers at Crazy Burger in Narragansett or the best hot dogs in the state from Doug's Dogs just a block from the beach.

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    1. Jeanne! You're making me hungry! Clam chowder... YUM! My husband and I went to Maine for our 1st anniversary and the seafood was out of this world. That's great that you get to come down south for visits. I hope you do it during the winter!

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    2. I LOVE Rhode Island. If someone forced me to move back north, I would choose somewhere between Providence and Newport.

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    3. You want to live in my neighborhood then! For any of you of more advanced years (like I am) you'll remember the song by Newport natives The Cowsills and there song Indian Lake which is just a block away from my house in Wakefield at Indian Lake Shores (we even have totem pole at the end of our street)!

      Not too bad to have a fresh water lake a block away and only be 2 miles from the ocean!

      Any one want to buy a nice colonial with a chimney on either side of the house with a fireplace and a wood stove with plenty of extra fire wood to get you through next winter (compliments of hurricaine Sandy)? (The woods even all cut and stacked for next winter)!

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    4. Jeanne - sounds like you're in an awesome location. No thank you on the firewood though. It may be stacked but I remember lugging that stacked wood up to the house!

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  7. Love hearing north to south and south to north stories. I can't believe you've gotten more snow down there than we have up in Chicago!

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    1. I can't believe it either! Really? less than 4 inches?

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  8. I'm a transplant from the Midwest! And I realized pretty quick that when Marquita Valentine blesses my heart, there 'ain't a thang' on me being blessed. That's a southern code for stick it. Bhaha!

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    1. Andris - LOL! I hear you, though I've been told that sometimes... just sometimes it is meant to be nice. (Either that or they're just pulling one over on me)

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  9. I swear I don't know what I'm doing wrong - I've lived in the south all my life, and I've never had someone bless my heart! LOL - clearly I need to either be nicer or meaner ;)

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    1. I think you just need to dig deep for that inner bad girl, Erin. try it and let me know how it works out, k? ;-)

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  10. As a transplated yankee, my favorite thing about the South is how everyone will smile and exchange a word or two, even if you are strangers. I always forget and do the same when I go home and it always raises some brows!

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    1. My other favorite thing is how rare snow really is! i don't miss Northern winters at all.

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    2. Deb - I agree with you on both! Especially the winters. I don't think I could ever move back. I'm completely spoiled from the lack of shoveling!

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