I grew up in Fairview Park, Ohio, which is a suburb of Cleveland, so coming to college in Rhode Island was a serious wake up call. I was thrown into a group of peers that I was required to interact with and I quickly realized that I was quite different from everyone. I've been living in New England for over a year and I’m still getting used to the culture and lingo that comes with the territory.
1. I pronounce things "wrong." I have what I suppose is a Midwestern accent and every person who I talk to feels the need to point out the way that I pronounce certain words. I say coupon like "q-pon" instead of "coo-pon’"and ruin like "roon" instead of "roo-in." No one in New England can accept the fact that I have an accent, they just flat out tell me that I am wrong. It's very lovely.
2. What the heck are grinders? Last semester I went home with my friend for Easter weekend. Her aunt gave me an Easter card with ten dollars in it and told me to go “get some grinders” on her. I was very confused until my friend told me that a grinder is a sub sandwich. Why do you people call it that?
3. Apparently it isn't called pop. I am not a person who says "soda." Everyone at home that I know says "pop" and I am constantly teased at school for it. The look on peoples’ faces when I say it is priceless. They get so confused. I try to say soda around my friends at school now to avoid getting made fun of, but at home it is refreshing to hear my fellow Midwesterners speak the same as I do.
4. Tennis shoes are only for tennis. Before coming to Rhode Island I had never heard someone use the word "sneakers" in casual conversation. So when I start throwing "tennis shoes" into a casual conversation with my New England friends they ask me if I play tennis. No, Midwesterners use "tennis shoes" to mean all types of sport shoes. Don’t ask me why, we just do.
5. Why does everyone say "wicked" so much? The use of the word "wicked" makes no sense to me. Is everyone trying to use skateboard lingo? I don’t get it.
6. What is a "Masshole?" I had never heard this term before until I met some ‘Massholes" firsthand. They are sarcastic, rude and have a case of road rage.
7. Don't tell people that you're not a fan of seafood: I have never eaten lobster (or ‘lobstah’ lol) before, and people generally are taken aback when I tell them that I don’t eat a lot of fish. Also, I had my first bowl of clam chowder only a few months ago. It was actually really good, so maybe I’ll become a seafood lover by the time I graduate.
8. New Englanders are serious about their sports: I’m from Cleveland, and always thought Browns and Cavaliers fans were hardcore, but their craziness doesn’t get anywhere near the love New Englanders have for their professional sports teams. I have to sit through endless conversations about the Patriots, and I really don’t want to hear about the Celtics, sorry.
9. Pedestrians walk wherever they want to: At home, jaywalking is a crime in some cities, but in New England it seems that people cross the street whenever they feel like it, even if a car is coming. I reluctantly followed my friend across the street in traffic one time, and asked her why she just walked right into the traffic. She said that the cars were just going to have to deal with it and stop for her.
10. My style is definitely not preppy:
I do not
understand the obsession that students my age have with Vineyard Vines and Lily
Pulitzer clothes. My style is not preppy or nautical in any way, so I probably
stand out as a walk to class every day. I don’t own a pair of Uggs, Hunters, or
Bean Boots. I do have a Lily planner, though, which makes me feel like I can fit in slightly lol.
Despite my irritation at a few of these things, I love living and going to school in New England. My college experience so far has taught me not only academics, but how to understand and interact with some of the lovely New Englanders I have met along the way.