If you know me personally or have been following my blog for a while, then you probably know that I am a recent transplant to the Midwest. I was born in Atlanta, Ga, moved to south Georgia when I was 11, went to college in middle Georgia, then moved to Asheville, NC where we lived for 6 years. Even though I felt like a little bit of an outsider in North Carolina, I was still in the South. The biggest difference was that basketball was more popular than football.
Then, about a year ago our world got flipped upside down. My husband took a new position with his company in Minneapolis, MN. The next thing I know we’re selling our house in North Carolina and I’m looking for a parka at Lands’ End. Even though my husband technically started his new position in February, the kids and I didn’t move up until March (we were just a foursome then). Now that we’ve been in Minnesota for 10 months, some of the newness is starting to wear off. As the differences between the South and the Midwest become more and more obvious, I find myself feeling slightly homesick. The sub-zero temperatures, arctic winds, and four-foot snow drifts I have to shovel out of our driveway don’t help either.
Here are 5 things I miss about the South:
Oh, the food! Fried chicken, fried okra, chicken-fried steak, fried green tomatoes. Ok, maybe it’s a good thing I’ve moved away from the South and slowed down a little on the fried foods. Seriously, though. There are some things that were a part of my regular diet that I just can’t find here; most notably, grits! My daughter loves grits (and so do I) and we’ve had the hardest time finding good grits around here. Luckily, my mom brings some whenever she visits. Also, I had to search high and low to find a peanut butter machine. You know, that thing in the grocery store that has a bunch of peanuts in the top. You just flip a switch and voila! Junk-free peanut butter. But apparently grocery stores don’t like those here. Real talk…I would kill for a Pimento Cheese Chicken BLT from Rocky’s Hot Chicken Shack right now. I don’t care if it’s 2,500 calories. That’s why I have sweatpants!
This one might be obvious, even (or especially) to native Minnesotans. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people around here wonder out loud “Why do I live here? This is miserable!”. If the bone-chilling temperatures don’t get you, the months of dreary, gray skies will be sure to give you long-lasting seasonal depression. I grew up in south Georgia. In the middle of a swamp. It’s hot and humid almost all the time. I also spent a lot of time in north Florida at my family’s fishing cabin that had no air conditioning. I got so used to sweating from just sitting around that it doesn’t bother me anymore. I really miss the heat. Is that weird?
There are few places outside of the South where it’s perfectly acceptable to strike up a friendly conversation with a complete stranger for a few minutes and then never see them again. People also acknowledge each other in passing. They look each other in the eye and say “Hey! How are you?”. I tried doing that here and people actually ignored me. It was sad.
Some things just feel like home. Even though my family no longer lives in south Georgia, it will always be my home. It’s where I grew up. Sure, there are fields and trees in Minnesota, but not like back home. The cotton fields bursting with white, matching the little country churches set the background. Rows and rows of pecan trees. Wide rivers meandering through forests of evergreens. Cows, lots and lots of cows. That’s what I miss.
Family and Friends
This one is obvious. It was hard to leave North Carolina because almost all of our friends and family were within driving distance. Family is such a huge support system for us and it makes it harder when you have to get on a plane to see them (although, it’s usually the other way around). We were crazy enough to drive down south over the holidays. It was better than flying because we got to see both of our families and a lot of friends we haven’t seen in a while. I will never do it again though!
Even though I’m a little homesick, I’m still so happy that we’ve moved here. My husband and I love being able to experience different parts of the country. We also love exposing the kids to new people and new cultures. Minnesota isn’t all bad. Actually, it’s pretty awesome.
Here are some things I’ve enjoyed about Minnesota:
Fried cheese. Yes please.
The Love of the Outdoors
You better believe that everyone out here is outside every. single. weekend during the summer (which lasts about 5 weeks). There are a ton of parks and playgrounds. There are three that are walking-distance to our house. Lakes are everywhere and most of them have public beach access. And don’t think that winter stops them from being outside. Ice skating, sledding, snow-shoeing, ice fishing; there are tons of people outside almost every weekend making the most of it.
I thought this was weird, but apparently Minnesotans don’t realize they actually do this. When going over to someone’s house, Minnesotans always take their shoes off. I have to take my shoes off when I go to the doctor’s office. Whenever we had someone over to fix something in the house, they would always take their shoes off. It makes sense during the winter when everyone’s shoes are covered with snow and muck, but they do it in the spring, summer and fall too. I actually like this. I rarely wear shoes inside anyways. It keeps the house cleaner and makes me feel more relaxed.
What are some things you miss about where you grew up? What do you love about where you live now? I’d love to hear in the comments below!
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