Well, it’s official. I’m home. The post office has been notified, the boxes are unpacked (most of them), there is sweet tea in the fridge… I’m a South Carolinian now.
From the moment we stepped on ground east of the Mississippi, I felt I could breath a little easier. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve assured all my left coast friends that I’ll always treasure that time. I’ll never get the beauty of a rocky Pacific Coast out of my heart, but like after a great vacation, it’s just always nice to be home. These are my people. I feel more like myself than ever.
And I was surprised to learn a few things about the world and about myself. Most of all that apparently I have a thicker accent than I thought I did. I got asked at least three times a week where I was from — one gentleman even correctly pinned me from Kentucky.
So, inspired by this post of predictions before we left, I’m sharing today the things I actually found myself missing while a Southern expatriate.
1. The accents — Speaking of accents, yup, I missed them. Not a drawl within earshot for the longest of time. (That is until I wound up miraculously working for a charming South Carolinian who fell in love with California herself. I could listen to her talk all day, which is a convenient quality for a boss.)
2. The heat and mosquitoes — Even though these are two things, I thought I’d get them both out of the way in one, because I know I’m gonna hear it on this one! I know, I know. The Southern annoyances we love to complain about. But I’m a hot weather girl. I love bare feet and bare legs and long summer nights. And I even found myself strangely nostalgic when I visited my momma’s house last July, found my poor little sticks eaten up with mosquito bites and kind of rather enjoyed the sensation that took me right back to childhood. (And side note — I figured out the secret to why Southerners are reportedly prettier: humidity. I never understood why glamorous ladies in movies were constantly slathering on lotion. That is, until my built in moisturizing system was approximately 2,794 miles away. It keeps our skin dewy soft, girls.)
3. Hymns — I predicted before we left that I’d miss a church on every corner. Turns out, we had a host of wonderful churches to pick from when we arrived in Monterey. We met some of the most warm, godly folks I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing at a wonderful church called Calvary Chapel. But — I missed the hymns. There’s nothing like a good verse of “Blessed Assurance” or “In the Sweet By and By” to remind me of some good doctrine. I’ll be glad to belt out “How Great Is Our God” while the drums are pounding, but there’s nothing like a choir singing “Amazing Grace” either.
4. The food — Ok, you know I had to say it once more. Butter. Sugar. Fried stuff. BBQ. Mr. SIT and I joked that whenever we made it back home for a visit, and the fam asked us what we wanted to see or do, all we wanted to “see” was food. The list was always filled with Corky’s BBQ or Indi’s Fried Chicken. And I don’t even have to mention that famous sandwich I’m so fond of. I even missed Cracker Barrel, that staple of interstate driving I didn’t even realize we only had in this neck of the woods.
5. The people. Yes, I was surprised to find we certainly don’t have a monopoly on hospitality. I encountered friendliness in Cali like I’d never known. But it’s a different kind. A friend who grew up in the South but now resides in San Francisco described to me her first visit back to see her dad in years and how uncomfortable she was with all the lavish compliments on her hair, outfit, and so on. I chuckled when she called it “aggressively friendly.” That’s about right. Southerners love to know how you’re doing, where your from, who your momma is. To some, it’s none-ya. But to me, it’s family.
What I loved about our years in Cali-land? Sports coverage starting at 9 a.m. (gotta love that Pacific Time Zone sometimes)