Home again, home again, after a most wonderful week in the lovely state of Ohio. I think Ohio is just so beautiful, plus, we spent time with so many wonderful people that my cup is just full and running over. ;)

There are pictures moved from camera to computer but they are so many that it will take another few days to work on editing. So, another post, another time.

I was working on this post the whole month of August, since the 3rd marked FIVE YEARS of moving to the Deep South, so I’ll finish this one out…

Five years seems to warrant some kind of celebration. A medal. A badge, saying “I made it!” or something. :) I’ve heard it said it takes five years to really truly adjust to a new area, and that’s about what it’s been for me.

Wow. Five years.

… since we sold our city row home, packed all our earthly belongings, and moved south. Moved into a house I had never seen before, on a dirt road, and back in the trees so far we couldn’t see our neighbors. That was quite an adjustment from living in the city and having our front yard be the sidewalk, where hundreds of people walk just inches from our front windows every day.

…since I left the rolling farm land of Lancaster County and moved to the flatlands of Georgia, where the only thing that grows is pine trees and onions. (just kidding. Well, sort of. J )



…since I left the tame farmyard animals of cows and horses to go to the native animals of armadillos, alligators, wild pigs, and snakes.

[baby armadillo found several years ago outside our house)

… where living near the ocean is simply divine.

[storm rapidly moving in]



… since I moved away from everyone I had known and moved to a place where I knew Ben’s family and that was it.

… where you can drive on flat country roads with child in lap


… where wide front porches are for watching rain and neighbor waves.

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We now live in town, which is still relative. City here is more like development, and there is nothing over two stories, except a few historic mansions. :) Walmart is nearby, and Kmart, and well, a few little shops in the one-block downtown area and a few more scattered around town, but that’s about it. I was used to having any kind of shopping desirable within 15 miles.

I felt c.u.l.t.u.r.e. s.h.o.c.k. the first few months that I lived here. That was something I was not expecting. I mean, this is still the United States, right?

I remember one of the first times I was running errands in town. I went into the bank to make a transaction, and the teller found out who I was. “Ooooh, ah know Bee-yun!” she gushed, because Ben had worked at his dad’s car wash in town several years before we got married, and learned to know quite a few local people through that. We talked for a bit, and before I left I asked her name. “Tay-nuh” she told me. “Okay, nice to meet you, Tayna!” I said. “No, it’s TAY-nuh,” she said. “Okay, Tayna!” I happened to glance at the name tag that was sitting at her desk. Too late I realized I didn’t even understand when someone told me that her name was Tina. I remember wondering if I have to learn a new language to live here!!

The drawl was only one of the new things about living in the south. Everywhere I went, I felt like I was in another country and totally didn’t fit in! That is probably why I learned to pick up the drawl, if I need to, just so I didn’t feel like such an odd ball every time I went into town! And I used to make such fun of people that move to the south and start talking like that… J

But even more than the external changes, it feels as though the Lord has really used this time to change me deeper, on the inside.

Perhaps if one has never moved out of their home area they may not fully understand the identity crisis one goes through who is suddenly the new person, when they were once loved and known. To find a place of belonging when everyone else already has a place. To struggle with the new area when other people seemingly adjust well made a new person (me) feel as though there must be something dreadfully wrong with me. Feeling so stripped as a person that I wondered if I had anything left to offer anymore. And if Idid have something, would people want it, if they knew nothing about me? Leaving the security of family, the safety net of friendships formed by years of connection, to a place where I knew not a soul, and only been with my husband’s family several times…

Not everyone that moves feels all this so deeply, but to those who do, it is very very real. There is a deep sense of vulnerability. Will people get me? Will they like me? They don’t know anything about me or my family. I’m not known by anyone.

But I felt as though I didn’t even know who I was anymore.
And the new people around me didn’t know who I was either.

They didn’t know anything about me, except that I was Ben’s wife. Which is okay. It really wasn’t about them. But coming from an area where I knew so many people and where so many people know the family I come from,  and doing what felt like starting over with my life, it was a lost feeling.

Not many people knew…
… if I was an only child or from a family of 6 kids
… that I loved music and the arts
… that I had traveled to 24 countries
… that I loved playing piano at weddings
… that I loved being involved in worship music at church
… whether my family lived in a shack or a nice home
… that my sisters and I are like this *entwines two fingers*
that I loved education and wanted to go to college to further mine
…whether I was quiet or outgoing
… whether I was a dreamer or a realist
… that I had loved being involved in camps and kids clubs
… and a host of other things.

It’s not that I was upset at people for not knowing. It’s just that I felt so lost, so who I am??

I still see so many areas that the Lord is at work in me. And like almost everyone, I’m sure there are just as many blind spots not yet revealed. But looking back, I can see how God has really used this move to strip me of my “props” and who I thought I was. Was it easy? Ohmyword, no.

From the little list above, you can see that music, education, and traveling were huge to me. And really, looking back, I can see that I got my identity from those things. God had led me into so many wonderful opportunities before I was married, but I somehow had gone from looking at those opportunities as gifts to receiving my worth and affirmation from them.

It’s been a long road, this identity and stripping and growing and learning who I am all over again. Some of it has just been time. I have learned that it takes a lot of time to really feel at home.

But even more than that, it’s a releasing of what I thought I was. Of who I thought I was. Of what I expected to be. Of what I expected my life to be like. I remember sobbing to Ben once that it felt like I was being stripped of anything and everything that I ever knew and loved and cared out.

I don’t feel like I’m exactly “on the other side” of it all. But I do know that there is soul-rest within me that wasn’t present before. A fuller God-trust, that He IS good, and that His will for me IS perfect. I do not have to understand everything about life in order to trust, and believe His Sovereignty. And a letting-go, an unclenching of the fingers to be open-handed about what God wills for me. Wanting His glory more than my comfort. A release of expectation, letting go of my own way of doing things and trusting Sovereignty, the One who chose my paths since before time began.

Onto some every-day life experiences in a lighter note…

It’s been quite an adventure living here. It’s funny, because now, as I write this, I have to really think about what is so different. I’m much more adjusted to it than I realized I was! I’ve been thinking about this 5 Year Anniversary for a little while though, and thought of a few highlights/experiences/new things about living in the Deep South.

[and a few pictures of evening boating]

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~For a true Southerner, so many things are fried. Fried green tomatoes, fried okra, fried chicken… And smothered in butter. Paula Deen is the epitome of true Southern soul food – I‘ve never eaten at her restaurant but from looking at pictures and her recipes I know that! I can’t say that I’ve adopted this style of cooking, although I enjoy eating it once in a great while!

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~For excitement if you’re a teenager: there is “The Strip” [a particular section of a particular road on a particular side of town] where you drive your car, I mean truck, and wave at all the cute girls also riding their cars, I mean trucks. Really!! This actually happened in Ben’s day! I will not say whether or not her participated… J

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[don’t these life-jacketed/swimsuits just look hysterical!?  

~Other areas of excitement: mud-bogging, tractor and truck pulls, beauty pageants. I must say something about beauty pageants. I have never, never in all my life, seen so many pageants! There is at least one contest for every age girl from very newborn to Miss America age. Honestly!! The majority of Southern women care very much about their appearance, and the appearance of their much-too-young-to-care daughters.

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~ The local newspaper has mainly two sections: news and sports. And no news outside of the county. Read that: county, not country. Oh, except an entire page dedicated to Nascar! rolls eyes :)

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~ There are Rednecks that are proud as can be about being redneck. Even will differentiate between themselves [who they call classy Redneck] and other “lower-class” redneck. I was wide-eyed when I first heard this from a proud Redneck himself! These Rednecks do not say their “TH’s” and thus words become “dis, der,” and “dat” [this, there, and that]. And they say “birf-day.” :)

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~ Men do not drive cars here. Rarely, rarely, will you see a man behind the wheel of a car. It is just not cool to drive a car! A truck. Yes, a very very big truck. The bigger, the better. And the hugest tires you ever, ever have seen. Some of them look like you need a ladder to climb up into them. Seriously!!

~ You can say anything about anyone as along as you end with a “Bless their heart!” Example: “That girl’s teeth are so bad they look like a half-eaten cob of corn! Bless her heart!”

[This blew my mind when I first saw it – however, Husband did clarify that this is not normal and would not be legal on-road, only in monster truck displays. :) But still……!!]

~ I think it is safe to say that the majority of people in this town have not traveled south farther than Florida, and north farther than one or two states (this is what Ben tells me). They simply have no reason to travel, because all or most of their family and friends are within several miles of them, right here.

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~It is very, very rude to answer/address  a person without saying, “Ma’am” or “Sir.” This is something children are taught from the time they start talking. And last names are not used when addressing someone. Instead of “Mrs Yoder” I am “Ms. Clarita” and my husband is “Mr. Ben.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone being called by their last name.

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~ I learned to water ski in a lake known to have gators in it! No, I did not see any while we were there, but I know people that have. I was semi-okay being in the water as long as I was rapidly moving. But very very nervous when I was down in the water waiting for the boat to pick me up!!!

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~ There are two seasons: Summer, and January/February/March. J No, not really. But summertime comes early and lasts late; normally, May through October are really hot months. In the intense heat of June/July/August/September, it’s gets up to 90-100 almost daily, with high humidity. So much humidity that you’ll start sweating at 7:30 in the morning, just from stepping outside the house.

~ Most of the local radio stations are Country. There is no classical station to be found. Only one Christian station accessible here. But many Country. Did I mention there are a lot of Country stations here?

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~Gardening is very difficult. We have to plant 4 times the amount of fertile northern gardens to get barely a quarter of what they do… There is so much sand where we’re at. Our driveway is natural sand.

~“Proper” takes on a whole new meaning here. I was in a local salon one day, talking somewhat but mostly listening, very fascinated, to the locals talk. One of the very preppy ladies suddenly announced to everyone there that she “had to tinkle!” I just try to hide my wide eyes and sudden smile. 

~ Everybody is a friend. Some you’re met, some you haven’t! When I go back north I wonder what everyone’s problem is – they’re just not friendly! In the north, sometimes one will see someone they know, and both parties will pretend to not see the other. Absolutely unheard of here, and now I can’t believe the lack of social politeness up north. Of course the friends you have up north are friendly, but here the general public is just nice to each other.

Here, there is a lot of “shmooze” – not all of which is sincere I’ve found – but the general idea is to make everyone feel as good as you can! It’s like there is an invisible contest to see who can make each other feel the best about themselves. J It’s quite interesting! Here, if you meet someone’s eye, they will at least acknowledge you with a smile or nod, and it’s not uncommon to chit-chat with a total stranger you meet on the street or in the grocery isle.

But sometimes it’s not as nice as you might hope. I had an experience a little while ago at a shop in town where I was looking at a go-away bag for Zoe. The lady gave me a price about something, all the while gushing and calling me “sweetie” and “darlin’” and all sorts of things, and told me that she is waaayyyy cheaper than another store where she buys them from (and named that store in TN). Little did she know I was going to that very area of TN the next weekend, and that was why I needed a bag! I ended up buying the bag simply because I needed one, but checked out that store when I was in TN. I was chagrined to see a much cheaper price than what I had bought for! And very chagrined to realized she had straight-out lied to me! In the north, there is not so much gush and goo, but my experiences there were that people were at least honest and straight-forward. Northerns are more “what you see is what you get”, and here sometimes it can feel more fake-sweet sometimes.

~ These Southern women can. gush. over. babies like you have never seen! In the north, you’ll often be met by a friendly, “Ohhhh, how sweet!” Down here, it’s a, “Looooook at the baybay! Her is sooooo precious! Yes, her is! Her is so SWATE!! [sweet]” and on and on, using terrible grammar reserved only for talking to babies. J Oh, and after being indignant several times over my baby being called this particular thing, I learned that it is actually a compliment (!!) for a baby to be called a “buggar”. Yes, really!

~ I think the Civil War is still going on down here. I don’t like to tell people I’m a Yankee. J Confederate flags still fly freely, and there is still a a lot of racism going on… A little bumper sticker and T-shirt I’ve also seen: “Fighting terrorism since 1861.” Are ya kidding me??? :)

~There is some Southern lingo that I had to learn when I first met Ben. I remember once when he was visiting when we were dating, and my whole family was seated at the dinner table. Ben was talking and started with, “One time when I was coming up…” and proceeded to tell the story. My whole family, including me, was lost. “Coming up where??” someone finally asked, because he never said his destination. Ben burst out laughing, and said that “coming up” is a term used in the south meaning, “growing up.” It doesn’t mean you’re going north somewhere!

Another time I heard someone describe a person as a “sorry man.” I thought that meant the man was apologetic. I learned later that really means that a man is a pathetic case, or without much character to show for!

“Ugly” is another term used to describe bad behavior. “You apologize to your sister right now! You were acting so ugly to her!”

Another term used frequently is “along and along.” Up north we would say “little by little” or “as we can.” Example: Mr. Smith is fixing up his house along and along.

~ Shopping carts are called “buggies” and the signs even write them as such in parking lots.

~Your ego could grow pretty fast here! Everyone calls each other “sweetheart” and “darling” and “baby” and “doll” – even if you don’t know each other. The cashier at the grocery store will call an old gentleman “sweetheart” and he’ll respond back by calling her “baby” or some such thing. This was a NEW thing for me down here, and I was not sure how to respond to all these gushy people! Older men in particular can be very “sweet on you”.

Sooo, five years later, I find myself feeling rather at home in the midst of all this! Yes, it’s taken a while, and Pennsylvania still feels like home to me too. But this has been quite an adventure, a rich experience to live here. I feel that I am bettered for it, and I am privileged to call many people true friends… I can laugh at some of my experiences rather than feel frustrated and out of place. I feel that I am still learning, because there are still some things that amaze me, but I think (most times!) I can take it with humor now instead of a bug-eyed where-am-I feeling!

Because, I mean, even my two daughters now say “nekked” and “ya’ll” and “don’t be ugly”  and words I never dreamed my own children would say. I’m surrounded, and I give. :)

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 Y’all!  have a great day J



49 thoughts on “Five Years in the South

  1. justcallmeM

    I had lots of good chuckles. Good as in not laughing at the discomfiture you must’ve felt many times, but seeing southern life through someone’s eyes who didn’t grow up here. :) I’ve lived in GA most of my life by I still roll my eyes too as some of these things. And just wanted to say, too, that we are the richer for having you (and other fine folks who have moved in) here!!! :)

  2. ABAHM

    Oh my, fun to read you experiences and take on life in the South. We have only traveled through…and it was an experience for us!
    Hope all goes well this weekend with the storm coming in, and the Lord’s protection is over you all and those further North!

  3. mLou

    Oh Clarita, I must say, this post had me laughing- and pronouncing some of those words out loud. :) I can’t imagine what an an adjustment it must have been. Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” In my experience it’s a lot easier to accept the culture differences of someone in another country than it is to accept them in another family, or the next county over, or a different state in our own country. Isn’t that kind of strange?
    By the way, thanks for your little note the other week, I still fully intend on writing you back. :) have a great weekend.

  4. foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown

    omw!!!!! what is this??? Alabama blaring on Clarita’s blog?!?!?! LOVE it!! totally threw me for a loop when the song started up before i was reading words!! ;O)
    be back to read more later…nekked kidders here are about to be put to bed..

  5. r4valilswitz

    I’m from Ny And moved to Va, and I have two sisters who moved even farther south and we have concluded that Northerners are not unfriendly they are just not nosy:)) I know Va isn’t Ga but it is still a culture shock, But the one thing I do like is the Trucks:))

  6. TrentTribe

    Alright… I’ve been in the deep south for 18 months.  May I borrow this post when I’ve reached 5 years?  lol  Cause it is exactly EXACTLY what life in the deep south is all about.  ;) 

  7. madisonsmom2

    :) Loved this. I didn’t even grow up deep south, just southern IN but the difference between it and OH amazing. I am becoming more “northern” all the time. I go home and I’m like, “What’s wrong with these people? They all wave at me when I drive by and they don’t even know me!” :)

  8. redladybug18

    Loved reading this post and about your 5 years down here in the south. I live in Tx and I’d say about half of the phrases/words you mentioned are true here as well. We kinda have a mixture of the north and south here. Depending on how small the town is and how well everyone knows each other you’ll get the babe, darling thing. A few years ago when we went to a country church I had this 80 year old guy actually kiss me on the cheek in front of his wife as well as call me babe. Those kind are the real sweet southern Texans

  9. chambray7

    Enjoyed this post.  I live in Mississippi, and there are a lot of similarities here.  There’s just something about the south, you’ve gotta love it! =)

  10. Elizabethmarie_1

    Oh how fun to read this! You make me want to live in Georgia and eat fried food!
    I think it’s so sweet to hear little kids say yes ma’am and yes sir. We have tried to instill this into our own children, but it doesn’t stick. It’s our fault, we  weren’t consistent with it. 

    Jeff grew up in Arkansas. It is a whole different world when we visit his family that still lives down there! I must admit, everyone is friendlier the farther south you go.
    However, I was just telling Jeff yesterday while we were in the city that I think Chicago is a warm and welcoming place….maybe because I haved lived in the area my whole life! hahaha.

    I didn’t realize how many countries you have traveled to. Wow. 
    It’s fun learning new tidbits about Clarita. =)
    I loved looking at all of your pictures…you are so pretty!
    Happy Thursday to you.

  11. grace_to_be

    TAY-NUH!! oh, that’s too funny!

    and yes YES! totally get the whole identity/ vulnerability part. so true.

    “But even more than that, it’s a releasing of what I thought I was. Of who I thought I was. Of what I expected to be. Of what I expected my life to be like.”

    and this. “But I do know that there is soul-rest within me that wasn’t present before. A fuller God-trust, that He IS good, and that His will for me IS perfect. I do not have to understand everything about life in order to trust, and believe His Sovereignty.”

    and i’ll stop there before i copy and paste the entire post right here in my comment :) but in other words, i’m with ya sister! or should i say, sista – keeping w/ the whole southern thing. ;)

    this was such a great post~ fun, encouraging. and awesome photos. love the shot of you w/ the side pony. very pretty!

  12. lifeisadance

    @mLou –  “Mark Twain said “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” In my experience it’s a lot easier to accept the culture differences of someone in another country than it is to accept them in another family, or the next county over, or a different state in our own country. Isn’t that kind of strange?” – so very very true!! Why is that?! And glad you got the humor. :)

    @foreveranoatneygirl_n2Hisown – ha ha! since I NEVER play country on my blog i thought it might raise a few eyebrows. :)

    @Elizabethmarie_1 – that is TOO funny about The Strip in Jeff’s town!! i am sitting here laughing…


  13. singingrachel

    oh my word, this was so fun to read and i had fun trying to say some of these words too.  I still crack up at the words coming out of my georgia families mouths but i love it too.  we northeners get a bang out of trying to talk like them. :) and you are right…. the south is so very friendly.  i know it must be hard to experience culture change like this but at the same time i’m almost a lil’ jealous and its something i’ve often thought would be so good for me. the whole identity thing can be such a huge thing….

     i love the way you have found soul -rest and even have felt that happening to you through your blog the past year. ” Bless your heart”… as the southeners say. :)

  14. appalolly

    Oh, my! I absolutely loved this post.  What you wrote about the changes that moving brought about in you and especially the little things that are different in the south than the north. I have spent my life living in WI and PA, and have never been in the south much.

    We have a good friend who grew up in Birmingham and then moved up here 8 years ago and he said that he experienced a lot of culture shock.  Just opposite of what yours way.

    Really, the way you describe the south makes me TOTALLY want to move there.  I feel like I would fit right in…a lot better than I do here in a lot of ways.  We already are Nascar fans, call ourselves rednecks, my husband drives a pick up, he LOVES fried food, I absolutely LOVE hot weather (not that I might not get tired of it if I lived there and had LOTS of it) but yeah, I feel like we should move somewhere down there.  

  15. msluz

    Oh what a fun post to read. I’m so intrigued by different “cultures” all across the states. Kinda got some of the stuff with Duane being from Texas, but he’s said in the past (due to interaction with others from S.C. & G.A.) that Texas is a different type of south. The ma’am and sir is definitely a thing in Texas. A 70 something year old man at church here in Phila got offended once, when Duane addressed him as “Sir”. Duane was offended that the man didn’t appreciate his respect. Around here it is very normal to be addressed as Ms. Lucy and never my last name. But then a lot of these people moved up from the south. Oh, how I love cultures.

  16. fruitloops115

    I knew if I read this and didn’t comment right away, and then came back later, you would have a gazillion comments, and that’s exactly what happened. (note to self, comment on Clarita’s posts as soon as you can… ) Loved the music to go w/ the post, it fit so well, and really really made me want to live in that culture

    So I moved here to your beloved PA and still have to deal with those same things that you dealt with living in your new place… all the adjustments to a differant culture, and that whole identity thing, and no-one really knowing who you are, or somtimes not really caring either. It’s been a journey for sure, not sure I’ve arrived yet.I felt like I could just have wrote a bunch of those paragraphs.

    About the shopping thing, It’s funny because growing up, we had to drive far to shop, prly like you have to do now, it was just a fact of life, and so I move to this place where wal-mart is a mere 5 min. away with a gazillion million place inbetween. That’s just as much to adjust to, like realy, why do people need all these places to shop????

    anyway here’s to new places, and new comfort zones. Great post!

  17. inanorchard

    I stopped in the other day and didn’t have time to finish reading this delightful post! I loved the pictures :) I love how the Lord worked in your life Clarita, taking away our props and the things we think define us… so much wisdom in those words.

    I’m such a West Coast girl! The deep south sounds so fascinating :) I think I’m going to start using some of those “southern-isms” in my everyday conversations and see what people say I LOVE that last picture!

  18. m2coblentz

    Clarita, I loved this post. I know the adjustment wasn’t easy but you are an amazing (and beautiful) woman and I love the way you have learned to accept and adjust but still keep who YOU are alive.

    “that I loved education and wanted to go to college to further mine” (me too!) I would love to start collage when Chase starts 1st grade :) Until then I keep reading!

  19. scuppernog

    While my family was visitin, I “carried” them to Walgreens.  Where the cashier asked if y’all be needin’a buggy and if y’all be fixin dressin. To which they answered No with a chuckle of who does she think we are Amish?  but had misunderstood as you drive a buggy and make your dresses?

  20. baileyandme

    this post really made my (very laaate) night!
    ever since you talked a little about all the pageants, i have thought about it (the south)a lot. i am very fascinated by this type of thing. you know what? honestly? i had to think a few times “it sounds like a great place to live”. like the whole “sittin` on yer porch” kind of thing. and the being friendly to strangers part. here? yeah, i`d say it`s safe to say that people are very busy and avoid eye contact etc. myself guilty as well. i wish in a lot of ways we’d be more “southern”. the “tay-na’ story– killer funny!!! oh, my word.

  21. baileyandme

    i have to add this: when my sister lived in NC i remember she said in the south they are WAY more gushy, expressive, complimenting… which is sweet! but she said that it felt somewhat insincere to her at times. like they might say that to your face… and then another thing behind your back… or not back it (the gushing) up with action. just saying there are plus’ to both ways. i`d say northern girls tend to be dry humored, a bit sarcastic, and more blunt– but maybe those are just the ones i “ran with”. ha

  22. chuckschic

    great post. found myself literally nodding my head at the stuff of, feeling like you’ve lost your own identity at times… don’t even know who i am anymore… and stripping away the layers in my own heart, coming to depend on God more and getting my identity in Him! Felt it when i moved to pa and then here esp! sounds like your headed down the right path, asking good questions and letting God work!

    Congratulations on 5 years! it is something to celebrate!! =)

  23. tigergal01

    I knew this would be another wonderful post!  Might have something to do with the fact that southern AL was “home” for 2 1/2 yrs for this farmland PA gal…and now we’ve moved again.  Something that I never would’ve planned, or expected.  I thought 1 move to Lanc Co when I got married and a second to the deep south was enough, but now we’ve been called to New England as part of a church plant.  Still going through the culture shock here…it was a year yesterday since our move.  Anyway, so good to read of your love of the south…I’m going to have my dear hubby read this, too…after Irene visits…it will be good for his soul as it was for mine!  Thank you for sharing once again, Clarita!


  24. lifeisadance

    @scuppernog – That is SO funny. :))

    @fruitloops115 – so so true – you’ve dealt with adjustments in the the exact opposite way… i’ve heard a lot of people say that moving to lancaster can be sooo hard, that because it’s such a big community it can take such a long time to feel like you have a place, that you are wanted and needed, that you just belong… sorry. :(( i do miss that area, but in some ways i’m glad i moved away, even if just to realize what people go through when they move to a new area. if i’d ever move back (which i’m not expecting, but…) i think it would put a whole new perspective on new people….

    @singingrachel – wow, amazing you could sense that… you are a dear!

    @inanorchard – the west coast so intrigues me! i’ve only been to california once, but i loved it when i was there! i was in the pasadena/l.a. area, and visited an old village in the mountains. i’m thinking it was irish or scottish or something?? anyway, very very beautiful!

    @baileyandme – what your sister said… yes, yes! exactly. sometimes i miss the matter-of-fact northerners who just say it like it is. :) it seems like it takes the southerners a long time to really learn to trust a new person, BUT when they do, you have a true friend. i have made some very dear friends that are true-blue southerners.


  25. lifeisadance

    @chuckschic – you’ve faced adjustments many times over! wow… i think moving shows up insecurities and where we place our identity more than almost any other thing! you’re a strong woman!!

    @tigergal01 – goodness, you’ll be able to live anywhere in the world and fit right in with all your moves! :) Alabama to New England to Pennsylvania… wow, that’s about as different cultures as you can get with being in the US! bless your heart, that’s a lot! i wish i could just talk with you, i think i could learn a lot from you!

     @appalolly – we could find you a house right in town! :)


  26. baileyandme

    @lifeisadance – 
    i want to add that,i have 3 very beloved friends that are southern chicks and they are the most loyal, real, honest, beautiful, “the whole package” kind of girls– true (rare) gems. i dont want to make it sound like i think southern girls are floozies. NOT AL ALL. i think girls raised in the south def have a certain quality we are missing here! (lemons and gems where ever you go, north or south! i guess)

  27. cupajava

    yup ive been there, done that! :) ive learned to like the south, but there are things in the north i miss! ive often wished i could have the best of both worlds! …i know exactly what you mean about just totally loosing yourself. not knowing who you are is really not a good feeling at all! but like you said, its been good for me too! God worked in my life by moving me to the south, far away from my family. moving away from family is sooo not what i would wish for, but with the grace of God ive made it, and its made me a better person.:)

  28. SherriMonCheri

    Well, I can’t relate to all the “southern stories” but I totally understand the identity crisis of moving to a new community.  This too, was my situation…”But coming from an area where I knew so many people and where so many people know the family I come from,  and doing what felt like starting over with my life, it was a lost feeling.”  That first year was tough…a stripping of identity, like you said.  Sometimes I feel like I’m still learning about myself and who I am!  Congratulations on the 5 years! :)

  29. joysofphotography

    This is interesting…I’ve lived in Alabama for a little over 4 years now and there are def southern things around here….like the “Yes, Ma’am,” and “Yes, Sir,” and Ms” ect…but there are other things like having a Walmart and all kinds of restaurants,etc very close now…that I did not have close growing up! (I lived in upstate NY, up north, but very rural). Oh yea, another interesting thing about Alabama is college football…that is HUGE around here! Alabama really does feel like home now, but a lot of that has to do with the church I have been going to for the last year and a half, and how I feel connected there. Its funny cause I grew up in upstate NY and was excited to explore life, see new places, etc., then lived in DE for 4 years, then moved to AL, now thinking of moving to DE(when I get married in a couple months) is hard since I feel like Alabama is home now and its hard to think of “losing” my place here. Getting settled in a new place and finding your place there is hard. Life is def interesting and the different cultuers depending where you live!

  30. dilafila

    this is so good. i didn’t read other people’s comments just cause i wanted to say what i had to say without seeing what they had picked out from your post. you will be blessed. because you recognize that you already are. just seeing you list your favorites from the past and then letting that stuff to embrace a lifestyle completely opposite from what you were used to. i have never heard you complain and i have never thought about how your girls will now be “southern” girls when they grow up! i think it’s so cool. so encouraging to someone like me who isn’t settled down and is a tad frightened at what all could unfold in my life still. if that makes any sense. to me you are still a northern girl. but i love the southern girl you are becoming. so beautiful. the whole thing. from one northern girl to another :)

  31. richlyblest

    I see you around here and there on xanga and occasionally I’ve read your posts. I really, really enjoyed this one :) I have never gone south very far, but this makes me want to find out more about this fascinating southern culture. Maybe some dreadfully long NE Ohio winter we can head south and experience the southern culture. When does spring come? March? It’s still really dreary and unpleasant here so that might be prefect :)

  32. druett

    Oh wow, This post makes me HOMESICK!!!!!!! I can so relate with the “stripped” feeling, For me its the general public not being friendly to each other that still depresses me when I go out shopping etc. I just can’t seem to get used to it, Its hard for me to not take it personally an accept it as a culture thing..I just told a friend of mine that when I go back home(south Ga) My cup gets so full, as in affirmation lol:).. You make a pretty southern belle!:)

  33. the_kristen

    Wow. You described it so well! It had been 4 yrs in the fast, very fast-paced pa life for me and it does eventually feel like your 2nd home. But to move in an area where you don’t know a soul besides your husband and only visited your in-laws a few times… It’s tough. So I guess I wasn’t the only one feeling like that. But I love having friends and my ‘home’ here and when I go back ‘home’ to my growing up state-I still have friends there to. The more the merrier. So thank youfor posting this… I felt exactly like you did.

  34. mjhuyard

    Oh Clarita! This post makes me miss my hometown!

    Isn’t it funny that we are SNL’s and have traded places…..I have certainly felt the culture differences, but it’s been the opposite. I can definitely relate to no one knowing who you are or not caring either. And yes it was quite different how people mind there own business and don’t dare say a word to you, unless you happen to know them. And sometimes not even then.

    I certainly felt this when Josie went to preschool. Sometimes when I walked down the halls and passed the other moms, I would think “Well at least you could give me a hint of a little smile back!” :) Yep it was pretty much, don’t meet any eyes, and certainly don’t say “HI”. But I try to remember that it’s just culture differences! But there are so many things that I do LOVE about PA! Like the conveniences of shopping, and the 4 seasons we get here!

    About the “buggies”…I was at Kauffmans soon after I moved here, and asked where their buggies were. The guy gave me a confused look….like what do you mean?? He said that there may be some out on the hitching post! HA-ha! It was then that I realized what he thought I meant! That was about the last time I called a cart “buggy”.

    GREAT, GREAT post!! Loved reading it! Fun to see the south through someones eyes that grew up here! It took me back….

  35. shreddedwheatwsugar

    I loved this post. I feel like i’m only at the beginning stages of culture shock. In November of last year I moved from Walnutcreek, Ohio to the middle of nowhere Kokomo, Mississippi. You described perfectly so many of the things i’ve experienced and felt!

  36. down_onthefarm

    i thought that the tina part was so funny. and it was. but the birf-day…now that put this “grew up in a very transient maryland where you never saw any other mennonites but yourselves and then married and moved to The North where the roots go waaaaaay down generation after generation and everyone knows everyone but me kinda girl” over the edge of hysterical.

    thanks for sharing this part of your story…and let me know where you got that all in one life preserver swimsuit thing. i think i’d look good in it too. ;)

  37. down_onthefarm

    i thought about you and this post alot today…and was planning to stop by again. although i wasn’t sure exactly what else i wanted to say. ha. i still don’t know. :) maybe just how it struck me that in spite of our stories being so different, there’s so much the same. when others don’t know you. like not.at.all. it really has ya rethinking your own worth and value and where it comes from. at least, i did. AM. ;)

    and this was deeply touching. in a nod my head and feel it in my heart kinda way;  “…it’s a releasing of what I thought I was. Of who I thought I was. Of what I expected to be. Of what I expected my life to be like… it felt like I was being stripped of anything and everything that I ever knew and loved and cared out…I do not have to understand everything about life in order to trust, and believe His Sovereignty. And a letting-go, an unclenching of the fingers to be open-handed about what God wills for me. Wanting His glory more than my comfort. A release of expectation, letting go of my own way of doing things and trusting Sovereignty…”

    now about that swimsuit… :)

  38. lifeisadance

    @down_onthefarm – and i’m nodding my head to your words too… the re-thinking of worth when others don’t know you at all… i would never want to walk through all that again, and yet i think it was one of the best things that could have happened to me too. letting God teach me who i am apart from anything i DO. Still teaching me too… it feels really good that you can connect with all that… for me, there is such a connection with other “transplants.” :) ♥

    and goodness, will you please stop making me laugh like a goon over that swimsuit mental-picture?? :)

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