Last year, I left the suburbs of Chicago for the bayou country of Louisiana. Moving 14 hours away gave me some insight on the switch from city to country life. The following are 10 things that might hit a little close to home. If you are new to the Southern culture like me, some, if not all, of these scenarios are bound to happen to you at some point or another.
1. Alien vocabulary
Once you move to the South, a whole new language starts being spoken by those around you. Shopping carts become "buggies," snow cones become "snowballs," and backpacks become "book sacks." There are some weird words you'll encounter, and people will give you crap about your NORMAL words that you say; which leads me to my next point...
2. People telling you that you have an "accent"
No matter what you say, people will look at you strangely and tell you that "you must not be from here." If I had a dollar for every time one of my Louisiana friends told me to repeat a word so they can make fun of me for it, I'd be able to pay all my LSU parking tickets. Don't even get me started on names of cities or families.
3. Delicious food
OK, so the freshman 15 was definitely real. Perhaps I could've avoided this if I stayed in Illinois for college, but being around the comfort foods of Louisiana really did me dirty. From jambalaya to beignets, you will taste some of the most delicious food of your life. Even Sonic tastes better in the South...
4. Bad drivers
I thought people in the city of Chicago were psychopaths, but the top spot definitely goes to those with a drivers license in the states of Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Driving in Baton Rouge by itself scares the crap out of me: people go either 20 under or 50 over the speed limit, people stop/park in the middle of the road, and not to mention nobody pulls to the middle of the intersection when turning left on a green light.
Prepare to die, that's all. And don't ever bother straightening/curling your hair.
6. People LOVE college football
If you go to an SEC school like I do, you know how seriously people take their football. Nothing beats a Saturday night in Death Valley, and the school spirit is like nothing you've ever seen before. Also, go shopping: girls dress up to the 9's on game day and you don't wanna be caught slacking.
7. First time at Mardi Gras
This is an experience you'll never forget. My best friend/roommate Claire let me stay with her and her family during Mardi Gras, and they showed the Chicago girls how it's done. This is one of the most fun memories of my life and you have to have the experience for yourself. LSU even gives us a break from school to partake in the festivities!!!
8. Southern Hospitality
EVERYONE HERE IS SO NICE — teachers, servers, old ladies in the supermarket, random passersby on the street. This one is very refreshing, especially coming from the mean streets of Chicago. For example, last week I was with my friend when her tire blew, and two random men came to help us on the side of the road. If that were to happen to me in the city, people would probably just honk at me for blocking the freeway.
8. Time moves slower
People in the South generally just take their time to do things, so you have to learn to be patient. Except to stand in line at the store for a few more minutes, wait for your meal a little longer than usual, and most of the time waiting includes small talk and making new friends.
10. Infinite amount of Gordon McKernan billboards
You'd think after seeing one of his billboards every quarter mile down I-10, I'd actually know what they were advertising. All I know is Gordon McKernan's name, face, and that I've blocked these signs from my consciousness.