What I didn't realize was that the new culture wouldn't only be a southern one. By choosing to live east of the intercoastal, we had moved not just to South Carolina but to Long Island, south.
New York (and New Jersey and New England) accents dominate the area, often seeming more prevalent than southern ones.
While my new neighbors are unfailingly friendly, their more brusque way of speaking has taken some getting used to. If someone uses that tone in Indiana, they are seriously unhappy with you. It always takes me a second to override my initial "Uh oh!" reaction.
I hadn't realized how foreign things felt until I went to book club the other day. As we went around the circle and said our names and where we were from, my heart actually fluttered when two women said they were from Wisconsin.
Wisconsin! Big Ten country!
It only got better as we encountered Illini and even a fellow Hoosier (from Danville! That's almost Indianapolis!).
These were the first midwesterners I'd encountered since moving down here, and it was amazing the kinship I felt for them. And they for me, given the reaction I got when I said I was from Indy.
Since there are so few midwestern transplants around here, it's a special moment to run into one. Rather like being in a foreign country and bumping into another American.
While I know it's illogical, I can't deny the comfort that came from talking with these women during book club. They're not nicer or friendlier than others I've met, nor do we have more in common per se. I think it's simply the lack of difference that puts my brain at ease, the sense of normalcy and "getting" one another.
Plus, I don't feel like they're yelling at me.
Photo by Diamondduste