By now, you probably know that within the next 2-3 months, we are moving back up to Connecticut. We've had a great three years in North Carolina, but are excited to be rejoining the North - for lots of reasons. First, for family and friends. Also, Ben is looking forward to going back into teaching tennis, where he is rewarded more for his hard work. I'm lucky enough to be married to him, as I will have the privilege of staying home with Oliver next year. (We're pretty excited about the gastronomy we will get to partake in as well!)
Anyway, I know this blog has been pretty much Oliver (and Stella) focused, but here are a few things that we've learned in North Carolina, that we will one day share with our Southern-born son. (These are in no particular order).
#1 - Southern hospitality is not a myth. All of our neighbors wave to each other when they drive on our street. It's wonderful. I love it.
#1 1/2 Paula Deen is not a myth either. I'm pretty sure there are a few versions of her running around dropping kids off at my school.
#2 - You can cut the lights on, and conjugated verbs can be used in pairs - eg: I might could do that. What would Microsoft Word grammar editor say to that one?
#3 - Southern accents may prove problematic for phonetic spelling (I can now successfully read "Ima gona git me sum more" - can you?), as well as understanding homophones - see photo: (actual assignment from about 2 weeks ago)
#4 - When women don't like someone, but they don't want to admit it, they say "bless her heart." As if that were some consolation, it's really just code.
#5 - You are classified by the college sports team you support, State and UNC divide houses, destroy relationships, and it's pretty serious stuff. Don't even mention Duke or Wake....
#6 - The skullet. I was aware of the mullet (business in front, party in the back), but not this.... It is a skullet. Yes, that's right. Google it if you don't believe me. How did I come to 'know' or hear of this oh so fashionable hair style? It was parent-teacher conferences. What? A father actually had this hair do? Nope. It was a younger brother of one of my students. Yes, that's right, he was 4 years old and sporting this do. Let that marinate.
#7 - "Baby" is a completely appropriate nickname to call a young girl or woman. As in, a Kindergartner approaches her teacher and the teacher says, "whatcha need baby?" Interesting.
#8 - Hush puppies are a lot sweeter than I thought they would be. They are also unusually addictive.
#9 - Barbeque is different in North Carolina, and doesn't actually have BBQ sauce on it, it's vinegar. The sauce is white. Not tasty.
#10 - There are more churches than grocery stores, gas stations and fast food restaurants (which is hard to do), and they have very amusing messages on the marquees out front. Examples: "Need a new life? G-d accepts trade-ins", "The golf course is open after church on Sunday, too", "call us to find G-d, text us if you want to meet him." Oh there are so many....
#11 - Working at a low-income school (mostly rural) has taught me that neglect is everywhere, regardless of your socioeconomic status. It can be sending a child to school hungry and in shorts in January, or it can be sending a nanny to pick them up from school because a parent is too busy with their hairdresser. Children have the same basic needs, no matter what their zip code.
#12 - Some of the photos in those emails you get entitled "The People of Walmart" are shot at our local Walmart. I've seen them first hand.
In closing, I'd like to reiterate that we have thoroughly enjoyed our time here. We know that had we not moved down here, we might not have Stella and Oliver in our lives. We've made wonderful friends, who we will stay in touch with for years, and will miss dearly.