1. Golf Carts are acceptable forms of transportation. Everywhere. This guy down the street from me uses his to visit friends in our neighbourhood. My university uses theirs to take potential students on tours and to provide transportation to sanitation and gardening crews.
2. Hugs are for everyone. Even that guy you just met. If you choose to shake hands, people will think you don’t like them. I learned this the hard way, and still get made fun of by my friend’s girlfriend for not hugging him when we first met.
3. They test the tornado sirens at the same time every week. I was terrified the first time I heard them. As I thought they were dropping the bomb. I hid in the closet until my husband came home and explained that they ‘test’ the sirens as a cruel joke… er, I mean, to make sure they’ll work in an emergency.
4. Barbecue is a subject of much contention. Where the “best” barbecue is sold is quite contested among Southerners and I’ve learned not to ask in group situations. Much in the same way one does not discuss politics and religion, one does not discuss prefered barbecue venue.
5. Fixin’ to. If you’re “Fixin’ to,” you’re ‘preparing to.’ You can be “Fixin’ to take a bath,” “Fixin’ to go grocery shopping,” “Fixin’ to eat,” etc… You can also be “Fixin’ dinner” but you cannot be “Fixin’ the car.” Also: “Fin” is just short for fixin’, because that needed to be shortened. My husband sometimes says that he is “fin’uh order pizza” and I now speak enough of the Southern dialect to understand and tell him that I would like mushrooms on mine.
6. There are no basements. When I first moved here, I was confused by the near total lack of basements. House tours that came without basement vistas seemed incomplete to me, but were the norm to my Southern friends. So, I Googled “Why don’t Southern homes have basements” and found this genius answer on Quora.
7. You can’t order traditional tea. If you order tea, you’ll receive an iced, sugary beverage. If you ask people if they serve tea, they’ll ask you whether you prefer sweetened or unsweetened and bring you a dark, chilled drink. You must specifically ask whether or not establishments serve hot tea. If they do, you’re in luck and they will likely raise an eyebrow before bringing you a hot cup of water with a Bigelow tea bag on the side.
8. There are bugs everywhere… sometimes that’s not such a bad thing…
With regards to the pics of the bugs, the first two are from around my yard, and the last one is from near my school. I’m glad the gigantic spider was choosing to live near my school, while the butterfly and ladybug preferred to take up residence near my home.
I hope you enjoyed this list of things I learned after moving to the South. Thanks for reading!