Friday, April 22, 2016

Southern Yankee

I saw a funny newspaper article titled "Southern Yankee" yesterday while walking downtown Memphis. It has been somewhat of a culture shock from time to time living down here, but it's why I took the opportunity.

You get so stuck in your bubble that anything unfamiliar seems like a death trap, or at least oddly bewildering or unacceptable. It is weird being on the other side of the fence. For example, I had quite a few laughs when living in Wisconsin and explaining the "norms" to a friend who moved there from North Carolina. Obviously, it was easy to say he was the "weird" one, but that has quickly become me in my new home.

I mean none of this in a bad way, actually the opposite, but I am trying to enlighten you.

So let me tell you some things I have found interesting in my first 2 months living in Tennessee. The state roadkill is the armadillo. I am totally making that up, but I forgot that I haven't seen an armadillo in probably 10 years. Fire ants are a real thing here as are bees the size of a quarter. I forget that I have a different accent than everyone down here, so when I say things, I am often asked to repeat it a few times and visa versa. Not to mention I can literally feel the southern accent pulling on mine. I will say a word and almost not be able to pronounce it because I am using half my northern accent and half southern. I also get stared at when I talk in public because people know I am not from around here. I got passed by a Sheriff going over 90mph on the highway. Confederate grave yards are a real thing as well as Confederate pride. The Memphis Grizzlies are by far the biggest point of pride for everyone in the surrounding area. College sports and Greek life are HUGE. So, I am now a Grizzlies fan, Ole Miss fan, and Redbirds fan. Along with Packers fan, Badger fan, Brewers fan, and Kansas State fan. In other words, my team never loses. I am a "ma'am" or "miss" or "darling" and don't say please and thank you enough. I have not made the switch from "you guys" to "y'all" but I am sure it is in my near future. Recycling has not yet become a thing here. Oh and smoking in restaurants and bars is still a thing. Being part of or knowing someone on a BBQ cooking team is a must. And yes, I already took off the Friday after opening night to the national BBQ cook-off in Memphis because that is also apparently a must. Many gas pumps are missing the part that you can latch the gas nozzle causing you to HAVE to hold the pump handle the entire time you fill, which I haven't quite figured out yet, but I have some theories. I have been told everyone vacations here during the summer because it gets so unbearably hot. All of the fun activities happen late April through early June because the weather is perfect. Liquor is not sold in grocery stores like it is in Wisconsin. You have to go to a liquor store, which is inconvenient probably for the better. "Sin" tax is no joke as a 12 pack of blue moon around here sells for ~$18 (unlike WI ~$13). There are no [strict] laws on window tinting because of the deathly heat. I think that's a good start.

It has been incredibly fun and at times interesting learning these cultural norms. Thankfully it takes about 2 sentences out of my mouth for people to get the fact I'm not from around here. :-p

It continues to be a fun journey and I'm so glad I made the decision to move!! I still look forward to visitors!

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