Are you moving to the southern U.S., or thinking about it, and wondering what to expect? There’s a funny thing about moving to a completely new area; it’s the little things that surprise you. So, let’s look at some of those differences in the south that you may not expect.
It should come as no surprise that the climate in the south is warmer than up north, and that means that snow is rare. The amount of snow has increased somewhat due to global climate change, but for the most part, if you’re from a northern state, you’ll need to get used to warmer winters. That’s not to say that it doesn’t ever get cold in the South. You’ll still want a good sweater and rain gear for when winter rolls around.
What else does the lack of snow mean? You’ll notice that when it does snow, or rain, for that matter, Southerners don’t seem to know how to drive. They’re just not used to it, so you’ll want to drive carefully. Also, even when there’s just an inch or two of fluff on the ground, they’ll close schools and have a snow day. Schools just aren’t equipped for snowy weather, so they shut their doors rather than deal with it.
If you haven’t spent much time in the south, you may not be familiar with sweet tea, meaning, really, really sweet tea. In the southern states, this is a staple, and you’ll find it served in most restaurants, fast food chains included.
By religion, we mean Christianity, and by Christianity, we mean primarily the Baptist religion. You’ll find churches on most street corners, and nearly everyone attends one church or another. This doesn’t mean you have to, but it’s something you should be aware of.
Sunday is for church, but Saturday is for football. Expect most people to be watching at home, or going to a game.
In many areas of the south, it’s illegal to sell alcohol on Sundays. Also, on the other days of the week, most liquor stores close around 7 pm, so if you want to pick up a bottle of wine to go with dinner, make sure you don’t wait until the meal is nearly served.
In many areas of the U.S., drivers are crazy. You’ll find people speeding, honking, and exhibiting various signs of road rage. Fortunately, most drivers in the south are courteous, and honking at others is greatly discouraged. They may have trouble driving in the rain or snow, but you’ll find southern drivers polite.
Maybe people are more courteous drivers because life, in general, is taken at a slower pace than in the rest of the U.S. In general, you’ll find that people just aren’t in that much of a rush, and that helps to keep stress lower.
There is all sorts of delicious food in the south, and they’re not ashamed to cook with plenty of butter and flour, either. While you’ll find many great dishes, expect two staples to keep cropping up: potatoes, and fried chicken. When we say potatoes, we don’t just mean russet, either. We mean sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, and mashed potatoes.
Hopefully now you’ll know a little better what to expect when you move. There will be more to get used to, but this will give you a cultural head start.