Southern Living… am I cut out for this?

I have lived in Florida for almost 9 months now and I am still asking myself this question, am I really cut out for this?    It would have never crossed my mind to move to Florida, not because it is a terrible place to live or because I hate it, but I just would not have picked it on the map as a place to live.  This however is where my wonderful husband and his family is (who are great by the way)!   It is still quite an adjustment for me…  all the way across the country from my family, what I am used to and what I liked to do – “hobbies”.  That whole “home sick” thing is true. Now, I don’t literally get “sick” – nothing like that,  just miss it.  I don’t know many people who would be able move away from their families like I did.  I mean, I am capable of functioning without my family at my side but it does not mean I don’t really miss them! The reason that I can be away and the reason that I am is because I know how much I am loved… by both my family and my husband.  I am also confident that the two of us are our best together, a great team – wherever that may be.  This is what gave me the strength to go wherever we needed to go and be wherever is best for us.  Home with my family will always be there, it will always feel like home to me, but my husband and I have created our own home and it is where I truly belong… no matter what our address is – true home is where we are together.

So, back on track, this “southern living” stuff… I still don’t have a definite answer to that question… yet I am here – living!  I knew there would be a lot of new things… but never thought that there would be so many and as a matter of fact, I come up with more often!  To be honest, most everything is new.  There are things that I have gotten used to, things I have not, things I do not want to get used to and  things I just refuse to. You just don’t really realize how different areas around the country are from each other until you are actually in the midst of somewhere totally different from what you are used to.  It is probably good to get out and experience new places because it forces you to grow, suck it up and be challenged… ya know, stretch a little bit because after all… you really cannot “break”!

So… I kind of came up with a list of the things that are different or new to me about living in this very spot!  I have to emphasize that this list is not created to bash/make fun of or single people out but it may be quite enlightening for everyone… here and there and in between!

  • fried food is  the most common cooking method here…. fried anything and everything… frequently
  • fresh oysters – yes, I tried one and that is all I needed (or did not need actually). Needless to say, I did not like it!
  • “greens” – by this I mean turnip greens, “collards” etc.  I have never had these before.
  • coffee – as it is now, we have to drive at least 40+ miles to get a good cup of coffee… which is quite the commute to Starbucks. —> I will go ahead and say it – I am a Starbucks brat, true to the core. I jump for joy over a freshly brewed cup of coffee when we can get it.  What I consider good coffee is not the norm… I have heard people say “If it aint cheap, it aint good”… but I could not disagree more!
  • church is way way way different from what I am used to, believe it or not!
  • “the bed”…. this one was one I noticed from day one!  “I stayed in the bed all day”, rather than… I stayed in bed all day!
  • here the meals are called breakfast, dinner, supper rather than breakfast, lunch and dinner!
  • Sweet tea, sweet tea, sweet tea –> If you order sweet tea where I am from you will get unsweetened tea with some sugar packets on the side which can be very irritating because it is really  not the same!
  • People actually BUY pine-needles (or “pine-straw” as they say here) to put around their flower beds etc… I could not believe it!
  • It is hard to find spinach and/or spring mix at a “local” store but I got really excited last week when I went and happened to pass by the salad section and saw some of BOTH!
  • sentences often do not make sence to me…mainly because the wording is different like in this example… “You might could get a job at…”  (I understand this statement of course, it is just worded different)… but that is only the beginning! Sometimes I get asked questions and I have NO idea what I am being asked!
  •  words that end in “ing” are not completed… “Dumplins”, “Thanks-givin”, “nothin”, “workin”,  you wanna put this in your “savins or checkin’ account?” etc.
  • words that end in “ow” or “ows”  are pronounced with “er” or “ers”… shut them “winders”, can you play the “pianer” too?  How on earth do kids learn how to spell?  What they hear cannot help their ability to sound out words to spell them correctly!
  • “y’all”, “all y’all”
  • There are also many different “sayins” I have never ever heard and often need a translation:  “I’m hangin’ in there like a hair-n-a-biscuit” – that one  always makes me laugh.  Where I am from people do not use a lot of sayings, I guess they just say whatever it is
  • food like: boiled peanuts, creamed corn, field peas, potted meat, oysters, alligator, catfish and different kinds of stuff I have never eaten! What is so crazy though is that food I have eaten in abundance many people have either never heard of or never tasted!
  • people driving lawn mowers in town for transportation and even carrying passengers
  •  kids and adults barefoot in the local grocery store… or kids in just their underwear without evidence of baiting for a while
  • referring to a mans wife as “old lady” –> I have never heard this reference before I lived here!
  • I frequently get asked “Where did he get you from?”, “You are not from around here are you?”, “Where did he find you?”…. etc.  So it is obvious I am not from here and people can tell pretty quick and I am not even sure they like it.  This seems like a born here or raised here only kind of town, but that does not go for everyone! Most people are actually pretty nice, but maybe even too nice as I will get into in a little bit.
  • no mountains in view anywhere and therefore, no snow! I really miss definite seasons although I admit, I remember always feeling like winter lasted too long, and summer too short – now I feel like “summer” is too long!
  • Food does not last as long… it goes stale super quick if it is not sealed really tight and items spoil much much faster!
  • Cookies stay extra moist which is great for some kinds but it is hard to make some items dry or crumbly if desired
  • bread dough takes a lot longer to rise and will not gain as much volume
  • my hair is extra frizzy because of the humidity and if I take the time to straighten it, as soon as I walk out of the house it starts to wave and frizz!
  • no hiking, no mountain biking, no snowboarding
  • bugs, bugs bugs and more bugs in abundance, including cockroaches and fire ants which I hate!
  • snakes, need I say more
  • Lots of overgrowth and luscious weeds, vines, poison etc.  I now would  not mind a yard that has the problem of sage bushes, manzanita bushes and pine needles because at least you can see through them and they don’t overtake you in a few weeks!
  • swampy areas
  • alligators
  • ditches in everyone’s yard
  • clay roads
  • I miss the fresh mountain air and leaving the windows open all night to cool off the house.
  • poor cell reception
  • Thunderstorms are better here!
  • door to door sales-people, solicitors, people knocking on your door for about any reason – religion, something to sell or services to sell you or wondering if you have anything THEY could sell for money, or “we noticed a tree in your yard that we can cut down for you (for a large fee)” etc.  Needless to say I don’t answer the door ever unless it is our friends/family.
  • There is not much regular flour stocked in the stores, self-rising flour is more common, but further, no pastry flour, whole wheat flour or any other kind of flour I like to use…. nothing!
  • buttermilk is abundant in the stores –> this is stocked in stores pretty much all the time, but it is never seen in gallons, half would be the largest if even that size.
  • different cuts of meat, or should I say different “parts” of the animal are for sale at the store and seems to sell!
  • regular good ol’ butter is not a big seller and is much higher in price – more margarine and lard sold
  • There were no dates on the chicken the last time I went to the store (emphasis on the last time) and the guy working in the meat responded to me this way after I told him they were not dated: “ma’am, the meat was frozen before so it is all fine”,  So I asked when it was taken out of the freezer and when it was put on the shelf…he responed, “I don’t know, but maybe like 4 or 5 days ago we put it out, but it was in the freezer before so it is fine”…. then I said nothing because I had no words for him.  I know I sound stuck-up but I am serious about food safety and don’t understand a grocery store being anything BUT that.
  • The beach is awesome!!  It is fun to actually swim in it too – I am used to the ocean being only something you look at and maybe get your legs in… just maybe since it is bone chilling cold!
  • no lean beef sold locally, 80/20 is the highest meat to fat ratio
  • The produce section at the stores is pretty small and unclean in my opinion, as a matter of fact the whole store is dirty but there is always people shopping!
  • At church people refer to each other as “brother” or “sister”… brother Steve, Sister Sally.
  • people are generally polite as I have never heard as many, “yes ma’am “, “excuse me ma’am”, “after you ma’am” etc in my whole life as I have in the last few months, but on the other hand, I have also not had as many head nods and whistles either, which kind of makes me want to recant my last statement.
  • I miss being close to a big grocery store, nice department store, home decor/ supply store, national bank chain, garden center, pet store etc.
  • I have found it exceedingly common for people to ask you anything and everything they want here. Privacy is not respected or reserved for the individual to share (if they choose).  People freely give out their information (and others) to just about anyone and expect your information to be given in return. “Who is your momma and daddy?”  “How much money do you make?”, “What is your address?”, “Didn’t you do this or that…?”… that is only the start.  “How did you end up here?”  I am used to building relationships with people and slowly getting to know someone as you choose and they have not already heard everything about you before you actually meet them! There are so many people who come up to my husband and tell him all kinds of things about him (that has obviously been morphed through the vine) and he does not even know who they are! I am starting to get it too, aren’t you married to so and so and isn’t his daddy so and so who works at such and such and then the usual questions that follow… to be honest I really don’t like it and it makes me uncomfortable.
  • hot outside and freezing inside – I am not used to A/C all the time… we had to use it about as much as people need heat in the winter here… not much.    People think I am so weird when I bring my jacket along for inside 🙂
  • cockroaches INSIDE!! –> No we did not have these and I had never seen one in my life until I moved here and they are absolutely disgusting!
  • the bug man… he drives around the neighborhood and sprays, so crazy!
  • and more… these were just what came out off the top of my head!

Again, I am not trying to be negative, just stating the differences for me – it is so easy to list all the things that are different but they are not all bad!  People always ask me about where I am from and it is fun to talk about it and the differences Although many times I feel like an alien.  Do “your people” do this or that…  I don’t really know, but I sure do miss them all… “my people” or “my country” and some people even say!

I still don’t know if I can answer my question, but on first glance, the answer is probably no because it is just not the most ideal place for me, my interests etc. and judging by my list above it is just so different, but for now, it is where we are and therefore I am cut out for it because I can be!  I would be lying though if I said that I wanted to live here forever, because I don’t and that is very hard for people to understand and also for me to say/admit because I know that many people really do love it here and cannot imagine ever leaving and I am afraid of hurting feelings, but I can’t help but be honest about it.

Yes I can do it because this is home.

9 thoughts on “Southern Living… am I cut out for this?

  1. oh my–I feel like I can visually see everything you are saying! Yes, Florida is wayyyyyy different than Oregon! But the most important thing you wrote is that you are loved~ by your sweet husband, by your family and mostly by your God!! this is just where you will get your material for the book you will write! 🙂

  2. Thanks for the blog Beka, it’s nice to hear from you!

    It sounds like there are quite a few differences from the panhandle of florida to louisiana or even southern florida. But I guess that makes sense.

    I guess it sort of feels like there are cultural “expectations” or something like that. We must have them up here, but since it’s “native” to us, we probably don’t notice them.

    Do you guys have Winn Dixie, Publix, Crackel Barrel, Popeye’s, or Waffle House?

    Anyways, put mo’ suga’ in the tea, mo’ salt on the fries, and pass the butta’, will ya?


    • HEY my cousin! It is crazy how we don’t really notice what we are used to, but stuff that is not the norm jumps out! Yep, we have all those things here, or at least pretty close. There is a waffle house in town but the others are not tooo far away. My favorite is Publix and the other new thing I really like that you did not mention is Chic Fil-A! 🙂 They have yummy lemonade! You make me laugh!! Miss you!

  3. This made me giggle! It reminds me of all the conversations we end up having when we get together and sadly I am accustomed to all the things you mentioned (and Troy said he is going to let you have it the next time you come over) LOL~ However, you left something important out~ you have made a lot of friends who simply adore you! Gretchen

    • Gretchen! You are so right, I have made wonderful friends!!! 🙂 Troy always tries to give me a hard time about “my people” and “my country” but he really should give “us” a chance!! lol. We all need to make a trip someday! Excited to hang out with you soon! 🙂

  4. I just saw this post, wow! You are so well written Beka, I always love your posts.

    Haha, you and me both on grocery store cleanliness/variety/food safety etc. I would have a hard time with that too.

    Think of you often! Miss you friend!

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