After living in New England for five years, I can’t help but compare it to my home in NC. Moving back to the South has been a harder transition than I anticipated. The mild summer was so much better than the sweltering heat that local people say isn’t that bad… OMG. It is. It gets freaking hot here! There always seems to be a faint smell of cigarettes and the stench of fast food at every shopping center. But there are a lot of things that are great about NC. So I took time and I refocused my energy on the positive. I came up with this list of things that I both missed and love about North Carolina:
The people I love are here. It goes without saying that there are people I love in New England; however, my immediate family is in NC. And I have a handful of special friends that are near to me now. I missed them desperately over the past five years and now I can see them more often.
Southern Hospitality. Strangers, friends, acquaintances alike will take time to stop and have a conversation. It’s so nice to have someone say, “Hey, How y’all doin’? “ or “Y’all have a nice day now” as they hold the door open for you. Something about those phrases puts a smile on my face. Maybe it’s just nice to have someone take a moment of their time to say hello.
The word “Y’all”. I quit saying the word “y’all” when I moved to New England. For some reason, it has never been a favorite word of mine and it was easy to drop. I did not grow up saying it, but it slowly crept into my vocabulary sometime when I was a teenager. I know it is not technically grammatically correct, BUT it’s inclusive and comforting and I found I missed it.
Carolina Panthers: I LOVE Football. I have been looking forward to NFL football since February. Now that I live in Charlotte I can watch all the Panther’s games on TV or in the stadium (if I get tickets!). One of my best friends and I were able to attend the Panther’s training camp with our kids and got autographs from all the players. That was a memorable experience that we all loved.
Appalachian State University. This is my happy place. There is nothing more peaceful than the mountains that this University is built on. I just flat out love it. It’s my alma mater and it didn’t take us long to drive up the mountain to show the kids our old stomping grounds. I don’t even know how to explain how fantastic it is to hear “Appalachian” being pronounced correctly again. This short Youtube video demonstrates the proper pronunciation of the university.
The seasons. North Carolina has a wonderful climate. It’s possible to truly enjoy all four seasons in NC. Charlotte may not get much snow in the winter, but it’s a quick trip up the mountain to go skiing or tubing. Spring is gorgeous! Seeing all the flowers in bloom and feeling the warm spring breeze makes me feel refreshed. Summer can be extremely hot, but we have a neighborhood pool and can take a quick dip anytime to cool off. My favorite season is autumn. The vibrantly colored foliage against a clear Carolina blue sky is picturesque.
Cost of living. This goes without saying. CT is expensive. I’m most excited about not paying a hefty oil bill to heat our house in the winter. And I just filled up my gas tank with gas that costs less than $2 a gallon. Yes, less than $2. AMAZING, I know.
The Food. Seriously, Southern comfort food is to die for. I enjoy in moderation because it’s not always the healthiest choice, but not much beats a toasted jalapeño pimento cheese sandwich with a tomato or a pasta salad made with Dukes Mayo. And lets’ not forget the fried chicken, fried pickles, fried green tomatoes or fried okra. The grocery store has an entire refrigerator dedicated to Cool Whip. And yes, I will eat a chicken biscuit for breakfast because it is GOOD. Also, my husband reminded me of a few other southern delicacies this weekend as well: Liver mush and mustard sandwiches and boiled peanuts. This is good eats, y’all.
Wine at the grocery store. I never knew this was a luxury until I was without. Beer was available at the grocery store in CT, but this mom likes wine. While living in CT, I had to cart the troops to the local spirit store to buy wine. Now I can just pick it up at the grocery store in one simple trip.
ACC Basketball. North Carolina is college basketball country. During basketball season, houses are divided between rival teams and friends root against each other. It’s all in good fun. March Madness is such a HUGE event around here, people actually skip work & school just to watch the tournaments and compare their brackets. And this Tarheel fan cannot wait to join in the fun this spring!
OUTDOOR FUN: (I was going to do a list of ten, but I couldn’t leave out this one) BBQ’s, Pig Pickings, Grilling out can happen almost all year in NC. We can sit on the patio to eat dinner, kids can run barefoot and play in the yard and we can sit outside into the evening enjoying ourselves without getting a chill. In Charlotte we’re about 20 minutes from lakes and the white water center, 90 minutes from NC Wine Country, two hours from the mountains and three hours from the beach. Our possibilities for a local day or weekend trip are endless.
Southerns: What is your favorite thing about living here?