I grew up in Michigan and I still consider myself a "Yankee", however I have lived here in the south for over 12 years and I could end up living longer "down here" than I did "up there". There are a number of things that I have learned about life in the south that I would like to share. First let me say that (unless otherwise stated) when I use the term "Southerner(s)" I am referring to those that grew up down here and call this "home" (and always have).
- Life is slower here. People say it all the time, but it really is true. Southerners just move at a slower pace. When I first moved down here I worked for a truly southern bank, and I was often asked as I was walking through the halls where the fire was. Now, there are two schools of thought here and I think they both apply depending on the person or situation. (1) They just enjoy the journey as much (or more than) the destination or (2) there is nothing worth getting "all worked up about".
Understanding this slow pace is key to every Northerner getting along and playing well with others here. If you push a Southerner to do something faster than they want to then it will just make them mad.
- "No Parking" is slang for "Park Here First". I have never lived in an area where people seem to be more "lazy" when it comes to walking from their car to the front door of the store. Now, (unlike Northerners) they are less likely to park illegally in handicapped spaces, however they will, without a second thought, park RIGHT IN FRONT of the door RIGHT NEXT TO the sign that says "NO PARKING". I really don't understand it.
- Tea. Sweet nectar, the liquid of life. As a Northerner, I never appreciated "Iced Tea", it was something you had every once in awhile (usually at my in-law's house). But once I moved down here, I became enlightened!
When you say "Tea" down here, there is only one thing you mean - Sweet Tea. If you ask for "Tea" in a restaurant, you will get Sweet Tea, unless you specifically ask for that red-headed-step-child called "Unsweetened Tea" (it even sounds funny). You will also find that some people go to specific restaurants just for the tea, because not all Sweet Tea is created equal. The chains are not the best place to get good tea, usually the best places are the local places (barbeque places have the best tea). The way you make Sweet Tea is to START with the sugar. You boil water and then add the sugar (alot) and THEN put the tea bags in and then later add more water.
Making tea "sweet" by adding sugar (or some pink or blue stuff) later is NOT "Sweet Tea", it is still "Unsweetened Tea". Also, good restaurants do four things with their Sweet Tea, (1) they have LOTS OF IT and (2) they never let your tea glass get more than half empty, (3) they serve it in a large "To Go" cup, and (4) always give you a "traveler" (some to take with you in your "to go" cup). Drink up!