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One of the first things I noticed is something that Shannon had pointed out when she came to visit me in New York. When I first went to the grocery store, I realized that the parking lot looked looked different from what I was used to. Were the spaces larger than in New York? Was it somehow set up differently? No! It was oddly uncluttered. People in the south (and apparently in the midwest) bring their carts to the corral. New Yorkers are obviously way too busy and important, so they leave their carts scattered about the grocery store parking lot. I think returning them is very civilized. And a pain in the ass.
I realize that the south is more religious than where I am from. If I didn't know it, the life sized crosses EVERYWHERE, including neighboring front lawns, would make it clear to me. Perhaps that is why people have a different attitude about alcohol than in New York? Now, New Yorkers consume often and in quantity. I mean, my friend Bill wears a hat that says in big letters, ALCOHOLIC. I'm aware that this isn't normal behavior across the country, so when we went out to dinner, I wasn't too surprised to notice that comparatively few diners were enjoying a glass of wine or beer. However, when we went to a Christmas party and were offered soda, I was VERY surprised. What is this? C'mon people! I realize this is one way to avoid expensive and pesky carpet stains (and Southerners, by and large, are very thrifty) but live a little. It's a Christmas party and while people don't have to be wearing lampshades, a little social lubricant would be nice. When I served wine at HM's first birthday party, it was clearly a faux pas. Whatever. Next year, martinis.
Like I said, Southerners are a thrifty people. Now, my father is from New England, where the prevailing attitude is to use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do with out, so I thought I knew thrifty. But no! Southerners really take it to a new level. Thrift shops abound! I love thrifting, but I've always gone thrifting to buy brands that I couldn't otherwise afford. Here, people go thrifting for Target clothes. Another bit of evidence of southern thriftiness is the repair stores on every corner. Need a vaccuum fixed? I can tell you where. A computer? There are at least half a dozen repair shops within five miles of my home. Your sewing machine? I know where you can get that done, too. Speaking of thrifting, I bought a used sewing machine for $15.00. I quite admire the waste not, want not attitude here.
Has anyone else experienced culture shock? This has really opened my eyes to how different American culture can be. Tell me your experiences.
And for you baby-picture beggers, here you go:
This is HM with Lambie, who was a gift from Jackie before she was born. HM loves Lambie, possibly more than she loves me and S.