It's been an interesting change of culture for me the last 5 years, transplanting myself into the heart of the Bible belt. I've dealt with differing views on everything from the definition of a toboggan to whether or not the Rebel flag is a sign of racism or not. Who would have thought that crossing one state line would cause such culture shock?
I remember my first week on campus at LRC...or is it LRU now? Not sure how that ended up. Anywho, I was very taken aback by the general outgoing nature of the community. I would walk down the sidewalk of the Quad and have almost every person that passed me not only wave, but speak to me! "Hey, how's it going?" I recall wondering if the people here had eaten too many happy pills. In the area of Northern Virginia that I spent the majority of my childhood and teenage years, speaking to strangers is a rare occurrence. In fact, speaking to the wrong stranger, even kindheartedly, could get you hurt. I could understand how my quiet demeanor could be mistaken for snobbishness, but it still took me months to work up the nerve to wave at passersby that I didn't even know.
There are also several words that I have learned, although I don't add them to my personal vocabulary, much to my very southern husband's dismay.
Oh! And I don't want to forget the foods and drinks that I had never heard of before moving here. There's the sodas Cheerwine and Sundrop and the ever so strange livermush. No, I have not eaten it. Any food with the two words liver and mush in it is not something that I want to eat!
It's been difficult for me at times, living here, especially since I've had children. My inlaws have very different views on raising children than I do and I find myself greatly outnumbered at times. I have no family close by. My closest relatives are 6 hours away!
Unfortunately, in the small town in which I reside, there are also many close minded people that have very strong opinions about interracial relationships and have no qualms voicing these opinions rather loudly. Obviously, I have issue with this being the product of an interracial relationship, a member of an interracial relationship, and the mother of biracial children.
Religious beliefs are very stout here too. I'm a Christian, and I am on my own personal journey at the moment, working towards a stronger relationship with God, however, there are extremes in which to take things and I've found some of them to be staggering.
All in all, I'm glad to be in North Carolina because this is where I met my husband, where my children were born, and where I find my home. Even though I am now a southerner by address, I'm always a Yankee at heart. By the way, a toboggan is a SLED!