Things I Learned Moving From the North to the South
Moving from the North to the South can feel like moving to a completely different country. When the northern region of the U.S. is all you’ve ever known, the culture shock you’re likely to experience can take quite a bit of adjusting.
Of course, your specific destination in the South matters too. There are big differences between moving into one of the houses for rent in San Antonio as compared to destinations in the Deep South, but there are plenty of similarities too. Some of the things I learned by moving were rather surprising, others were common stereotypes I didn’t expect to be so widespread.
Y’All is Contagious
Whenever you hear anyone talking, unless they’re visiting from outside the reason, y’all is bound to come up constantly and it’s contagious. And yes, it is a word in Webster’s Dictionary.
Once you’ve made a few friends there is just no way to avoid saying it yourself without that southern twang. It’s the only way to address more than one person in Texas or anywhere else in the South. You won’t ever hear a true Southerner say “you guys,” in fact, they’ll probably cringe.
If you aren’t from the South, you should know if someone says they “might could” come to your wedding, it means they’ll probably be attending. So don’t correct them, as it’s commonly said, and it’s you that are in a foreign territory, not them.
You’ll Need to Slow Down
The pace is slower in the South, where people talk slow, work slow, and walk slow. While it may not be as noticeable in big cities, it’s a way of life in smaller towns. The grocery store clerk will probably want to have a conversation with you, which can be nice, but it can also be frustrating when you’re running late for work.
Your speech can be another issue. While you might not have an accent, the people there will likely point it out. Some might even make fun of it. People from the North tend to talk very fast without being conscious of it. Try to slow down your speech a bit or others will get lost in the conversation.
The Tea Is Always Sweet
If you ask for tea at a cafe or restaurant, the server will automatically assume you mean cold tea with loads of sugar, otherwise known as “sweet tea.” If that’s not what you want, you’ll need to specify.
All Soda is Coke
If someone tells you they want a coke, it doesn’t necessarily mean coca-cola. It could mean Mountain Dew. All sodas are called coke here.
It’s the Bible Belt
Sundays are for church among many southern households as this is the Bible Belt. So you can expect prayers before every meal at most dinner tables and even in restaurants. God comes up often in conversations too.
If someone says “Bless your heart,” however, that’s not necessarily a blessing. It can be used to express genuine sympathy, but it can also be used to soften the blow of an insult. The worst way it’s used is as a direct insult by those who want to disguise it in a veil of niceties.