North VS South
I’m originally from St. Louis, Missouri. I grew up watching the Cardinals play baseball on warm summer nights. I was an All American Midwestern girl who day dreamed about getting married and moving away, although none of my dreams included a sailor and moving to the South. Somehow there I was in my early 20’s married and moving to Kings Bay, Georgia.
On the news, shortly after arriving in my new town, an alligator had being captured out of someone’s back yard and I realized “I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.” In Missouri you call on a stray pet, not a man-eating reptile.
Next, while I was outside, these little bugs swarmed me. It reminded me of the story from the Bible! I ran inside and every day after that I was bit by something. There were these ants that made welts on you and gnats that had TEETH. Up North we have mosquitoes. You put on bug spray and they leave you alone. In the South you put on bug spray and they like you more.
One day at the playground with my two children my son who was 5 walked up to me and said “ya’ll” in a sentence. Without hesitation and surrounded by at least ten other Mom’s I corrected him saying, “ya’ll isn’t a word.” I had never felt a true death glare until that moment. One mother even called to her children, “Ya’ALL (exaggerated of course) come on, we are going home!”
I soon became accustomed to the weather, wild life, and language. I fell in LOVE with sweet tea and grits and have put up with all different types of bugs.
With our recent orders to Washington State friends and family have asked if I am anxious to leave The South. They assume that I am, but that is completely the opposite. Sure, baseball isn’t big here and I miss the seasons changing. I can also live without the fear of alligators eating my children. But, I feel at home here now.
There really is such a thing as Southern Hospitality. People are warm and inviting and will talk to you about anything and everything. I love the old oak and magnolia trees, the architecture and the presence of such strong faith. I love that there are crawfish festivals and family dinners. I love the big front porches where you see families and friends gathered on them at night with sweet tea in hand.
I am excited to move and explore a new place that I will make home, but part of me will be left here in Georgia. I hope all military families give each duty station a chance to grow on them. I could have easily decided that I didn’t like this area after my early experiences. I could have pouted and counted down until we were transferred again. I could have complained and made comments to everyone how much I wanted to get out of here, but I didn’t. I let this place become my home. If I hadn’t, I would have spent years somewhere I didn’t want to be. How awful would that be?
There are so many amazing places to live. Even if it’s not your first location choice, it is your choice to let it be your home. I made the choice, will you?
Questions, comments, topic ideas? Email Marie: firstname.lastname@example.org