A Year Has Passed

The Boy and I have now lived in our new home for a year.  All in all, our transition down here was a lot smoother than I anticipated.  The beginning of the school year had its fair share of stressors, but over the course of the year, we have been very lucky with the opportunities that have come our way (including those that I helped force our way), and we have settled into a very happy existence.

Don’t get me wrong.  We were happy before, and I miss that just a little, the single mom household thing, the metropolitan suburbia thing, the way-more-time-for-hobbies thing.  I miss that a bit.  I miss our friends (although we are looking forward to some visits this summer!), some of our favorite restaurants, having a Target around the corner as opposed to 45 minutes away…

But they have been replaced with The Man around full-time thing, the warmer climate thing, and that little thing called “family” – there is nothing that beats that.  The ocean, new friends that crack me up Every Single Day, our new-to-us home, having The Man around Every Single Day, lunching with my mom, having dinner with my parents, getting off of work at 3pm and not having to do anything else with my job until the next morning (usually), sweet tea in abundance, and date night Every Single Weekend…

So as I sit and reflect about all that has changed in our lives since a year ago, I am very pleased that we jumped at this chance, very thankful for how it has turned out, and very, very happy.

The end of our rainbow

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Standing Up When It’s No Joke

Today I had to say something.

I know it’s different in the South, but really?  How long are we going to let this be an excuse?

At work today (which just blows me away, coming from a work environment where nothing off-color would ever escape my lips, not only because that’s really not me, but also because it would never fly with anyone else), a co-worker used a not uncommon Southern phrase which also happens to be derogatory to an ethnic group.  And then the person she was speaking to repeated it in his response.

I bit my lip, sighed uncomfortably, and tried to focus on my work.

It was said again.  And again, in response.  This happened three or four more times – it almost made me feel like I was getting “punked”, they couldn’t really be saying this same phrase over and over again so many times without it being a parody, right?  Nope.  They were for real, and I was fed up.

“Could we use a different word for that?” I asked.

I was not confrontational, but it was also clear I wasn’t joking.

The first woman immediately said, in a sing-song voice, “Uh-oh!  We’ve offended somebody!  Oh no.  Someone’s offended!”  And I don’t think she meant further offense with this — more of a Southern way of backhandedly telling you you’re overreacting while trying to smooth ruffled feathers, kind of like “Bless your heart!”

The man approached me and asked if I was a member of the slighted ethnic group.  Shocked, I asked, “Do I have to be to be offended?”

“I’m just asking a question!” he responded.  “And I’m just asking a question,” I said.

He went on to say he didn’t think it was offensive, and thankfully left soon after.

I wasn’t intending to be confrontational, just speaking up.  Because it bothered me, and I don’t care if it’s a “Southern” thing.  Truthfully I was more bothered by their responses to being called out for being offensive. It made me feel as if I was somehow in the wrong.  And maybe I am, geographically.

But we can’t accept this anymore.  “It was the way I was brought up,” is no longer an excuse, because you were probably also brought up to not hurt others.  “It’s just a saying down here,” is not OK anymore.

And when you offend someone, you need to say you are sorry, and leave it at that, whether or not you agree with the person who felt offended. Why don’t people get this? It’s not up for debate!  Every single person is different, and has had different experiences and backgrounds.  If you hurt someone enough for them to speak up and tell you to your face, you just end up looking like an ass if you insist you didn’t hurt them.  You may not have intended to, but you did.  Own it, apologize, and change the subject.

Thoughts?

How the South is Different

I’m a born and bred Midwesterner, and have never lived farther than about an hour from a Great Lake (with the exception of my time in college, smack dab in the middle of Michigan).  Moving to the South has been a bit of an adjustment.  So far there are a few glaring differences:

Little buggers are hard to see but they are the invading horde on our poor mimosa tree

Little buggers are hard to see but they are the invading horde on our poor mimosa tree

The South has more bugs.  Lots more, and they are scarier.  Remember my encounter with the half-dollar sized spider that looked more like the alien from Alien?…  Today I came across one of these while spraying around the perimeter of our house for these (they call them “piss ants” around here).  They have honking big black mosquitoes with white marks called “Asian Tiger Mosquitoes” that seem to love me, and leave gigantic, painful welts in their wake – these have actually made me cry.  The Man regularly encounters Black Widows, and I saw some nasty looking larvae of what are called mud-daubers when he scraped their mud-daubs off the side of the house recently.  All I can say is…  YUCK.  And WHY has no one invented a combination sunscreen and bug spray??? (sidenote: just got a bite from a fire ant in the middle of writing this post… *sigh*)

The South has much longer traffic lights and much lower speed limits.  I think I read once that the average time spent stopped at a traffic light is two minutes.  Not even close down here.  I think it must be somewhere between 5 and 8 minutes.  Definitely long enough to check your Facebook updates and still get bored.  Average speed limit when you are anywhere near any people is 35mph.  It’s taking a little getting used to for this city girl.

The cable bill is crazy high and the insurance bill is crazy low.  It all evens out, I guess.

People love to talk.  The Man is no exception.  Don’t even think for a second that you will just “run in and run out” of some restaurant or store or any place of business.  Invariably, someone will stop to chat, and your errand that was supposed to take 10 minutes has now taken a half hour.  Don’t get me wrong!  I much prefer the smiles, and the “Hey!” (Southern for “Hi!”) everywhere you go, as opposed to the avoid-all-eye-contact-and-pretend-not-to-see-all-other-humans-in-the-vicinity way of dealing with other people in public that is de rigueur up North.  But things take longer down here, for sure.  Even the mail…

Did I mention that it’s hot?  I’m really not complaining.  But I’ve never slept night after night with no sheet or blanket, even with the air on.  I struggle with this a bit because I’m most comfortable with something over me, but even a sheet can be too hot.

Luckily, these are all things I think I can get used to with time (well, except the bugs).  I know there are more, but I’ll save those for another post.  And even with all of these new things to get used to, I wouldn’t trade places with anyone.  I am loving our new digs. ❤