An Uncomplicated Life Blog: The Can's and Cannot's of a Northerner-Turned-Southerner

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Can's and Cannot's of a Northerner-Turned-Southerner

It's no secret. I hail from Minneapolis; I spent a total of 26 years of my life there. But I happily carted off to the Deep South for graduate school in Savannah, GA. Then when hubs was offered a job in Dallas, TX, I more or less screamed at him, "TAKE IT! I want OUT of this frozen hellhole!"

So alas, I find myself permanently placed below the Mason-Dixon. Overall, I'm quite happy with it. I'm all about these mild winters and hot summers; well-mannered people everywhere I go; soft accents; and the best tacos I've ever had.

There are some things I just can't get into, try as I might. So I thought I'd explain the can's and cannot's of a Northern woman transitioning into a Southerner.

I can get into sweet tea. Why anyone drinks iced tea unsweetened is beyond me. Cold, bitter tea does not taste good!

I cannot get into chicken fried steak. That stuff is nasty! Why on earth would you pound, batter and deep fry (read: cook to death) a piece of steak?! Steak should be marinated/well seasoned and cooked to medium/medium rare. Deep frying beef is plain disgusting, no matter how much gravy you put on it.

I can adapt to saying y'all. It's so much easier than "you guys"! After a long convo with a Minnesotan girlfriend, I reverted back to "you guys" and stopped dead in my sentence... And laughed. No no. It's y'all now.

I cannot get into Lily Pulitzer. Those loud prints are best left for girls under the age of 10, and smocks are flattering on no one.

I can drive as fast as y'all on the interstate! I would say this is a Texan thing, but I spent some time in Atlanta and it was the same way. 80-85mph is completely reasonable. In fact, it might just be a Minnesotan thing to only drive 45mph in a 55, ESPECIALLY in the left hand lane. Add that to the list of things I don't miss...

I cannot understand why schools are cancelled at the threat of snow. Get it together, South, an inch or two of white stuff isn't going to ruin your day.

I can get into all the diversity in the South. It makes for a far better, more interesting community that promotes well-rounded individuals. Minnesota is called the Great White North for more reasons than just snow, if you catch my drift (so many puns!)

I cannot get into Texas chili. It's just over-seasoned meat... No veggies, no beans, just beef. Like, can I have a tortilla or some sour cream to go with this? Texas, your tacos are ON POINT, but your chili sucks.

I can get behind how social everyone is. I've had no problem making friends, both in grad school and in Texas. Everyone wants to hang out! People call you to do things! There are invites galore! In Minnesota, if you didn't have your crew from high school or college, good luck. You might get some after work happy hour invites, if you work real hard at making friends. Super clique-ish, that place.

I cannot understand why farm-to-table restaurants aren't the norm here like they are in Minneapolis, or that I can't find a co-op/farm share for produce or meat. WTF, Dallas? Furthermore, if you go to a conventional grocery store, good luck finding organic/preservative free/actually healthy food. I mean damn, Big D. You are YEARS behind here.

If you've never left your hometown, even for just a year or two, do yourself a favor and do it. It shapes your prescriptive and opens your eyes to new cultures and ways of life! Moving South (twice) was the best thing I ever did for my happiness.


  1. Haha - I live in VA, which most people associate with Arlington and that area (basically, D.C.) and I've also heard people lump it in with New England. I live in South-Central, below the Mason Dixon line (actually in the town the Civil War ended in) and let me tell, we are in the South! I've never lived up North, but I can definitely relate to most of what you said!

    I had the chance to live in Italy and England for a few years each, and it was such an amazing opportunity to experience other cultures and races and "everyday" lifestyles and ways of thinking. I now live in the same town I grew up in (it's funny how you can literally travel the world only to discover that you were HOME from the very beginning) but I'm so grateful for those opportunities to experience other "worlds."

  2. I love this post so much especially being a transplant from Boston down to Florida. Even though sometimes I don't feel like FL is the south because so many people who live here aren't from here....cough cough me. I cannot get behind sweet tea either. I feel like it is diabetes in a cup. I'll take my ice coffee with almond milk thank you :-) Wait the chili is just meat nothing else? Can you wrap it in like a tortilla or anything? Y'all is so much easier to say. You're right though when I go back up north and try to say it people are like "get your Karkeys lets go" <---that was me trying to write out a Boston accent did it work? Hahahahhaa thanks for this one this morning!

  3. I have a similar post in my drafts and you better believe Lilly is on my list. I just can't.
    I gotta say though, as a student and former teacher, I have no problem with school getting canceled at the threat of snow ;) My district was always the last one to make the call though, even if all the cities surrounding us had already canceled. So annoying.

  4. LOL this is hilarous. I'm from Wisconsin so I can relate with the snow thing...I hear how much the south freaks out if there is even an inch!!

  5. My husband always laughs when my southern side comes out - especially with the y'all!!! It is so much easier to say!! xo, biana -BlovedBoston

  6. Hahah! This might be one of my favorite posts you've ever written.

    So... chicken fried steak & Texas chili. I get it.... but oh man how I love them!

    Lily Pulitzer is a Texas thing? Yuck. I can't get into that, either.

    I'm one of those weird Texans that LOVES unsweet tea... (*hands over my Texas card*)

    "y'all" is where it is at.

    1. No, Lily Pulitzer is a decidedly SOUTHERN thing. People in Minneapolis wouldn't be caught dead in that crap. At least... Not anyone with the most remote fashion sense ;) #sorrynotsorry

  7. Lol, very cute! Love your Honesty. Great layout! Thank you for sharing!!

  8. This reminds me of when I moved to ft Walton Beach FL after living in Oregon my whole life. Such a culture shock!!!

  9. I live in Georgia and I love the south! I can't even think about not having sweet tea! Great post!

  10. Clearly Texas would much rather deep fry anything and everything than convert to clean eats. I have some friends that live down there and they told me you guys have deep fry festivals and everything from coke-cake-butter is deep fried. Nasty. So glad Vancouver is all focused on organic, sustainable and farm to table. And our restaurants swear by it.

  11. So so cute! I am from the Northeast and have lived and raised my own family in NE Florida! Wow - it is different down south - but now that I am adjusted - I wouldn't trade it in for anything - your post is so so cute! Ha ha - and sometimes the "southern sweet tea" is just too sweet for this Yankee! :)

  12. This was so entertaining! I have lived in the south my entire life, but I still agree with some of these things that you "cannot!" Chicken fried steak is a big NO for me!

  13. haha I loved this. Born and raised in southern Ohio, I also went south for college to North Carolina and then moved back home. Honestly there wasn't much different besides a few words, and they didn't say pop. But ya'll is common vocabulary here in Ohio.

  14. Hahah I laughed a bunch - I lived in the South and now the Southwest, and I love the cultural nuances!

  15. Oh girl how I love this. The driving is totally an above the MD line I think. Seattle drives are freaking horrible and you rarely see anyone driving over 70, let alone over 55 (the speed limit is 60).
    And I just love how friendly everyone is down there! Seattleites are passive aggressive and it drives me crazy.

  16. I love this post! I've always been a southern girl {Alabama born and raised} and I love that you pointed out how diverse the south the can be, Alabama especially gets a lot of flack but I went to undergrad at UAB which is a hugely successful diverse school. Also, I will forever hate Lily Pulitzer so bravo for that comment. yuk!

  17. Haha, my husband is from Texas and we have an ongoing argument about chili -- he says anything with beans in it can't even be called chili. I love the chili con carne he makes, but if I try to make something with beans or veggies other than tomatoes and onions, he insists on calling it "stew."

  18. ahh i love this post. i can relate to a few of them for sure!
    i cannot get behind why anyone would want to drink cold tea, sweetened or not!! it's so gross. it's meant to be hot! lol

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