I got the opportunity to head out of the area for July 4 and make my way to the hills of North Carolina. As much as I love my home here in New England, it felt nice to spend some time in the South. Nothing says home like hearing "y'all."
Don't get me wrong: I adore my new world here in New England. But it still feels nice to be back in an area that feels like home.
Before coming here, I lived in Jacksonville, Fla., for about five years. The area has much more of a Savannah feel and pace than the more popular South Beach/Miami areas about five hours south. So when I was with my family in the southern hospitality of North Carolina, I felt a relaxed feel of home.
Which is weird, because I grew up in Michigan, and at various times of my life, loathed some of the very things that now seem comfortable.
I couldn't stand a southern drawl - so unrefined and grating. I thought sweet tea was syrupy and sugary, and didn't care about college football or understand why it was more popular in the South than the NFL.
And ah, the humidity! Rivulets of sweat meandering down your back, making your shirt cling wetly to you every time you stepped out of a building any time of the year. Gross.
And yet, after awhile in Florida, I found myself saying "y'all" and "do what?" with the best of them. I drank sweet tea. I cheered for the Gators. It all became, well, familiar.
Boston still feels like a place I'm visiting, but I know I'll soon fall into the rhythms and folkways of this region and it, too, will feel like home. I don't know if I'll ever drop my Rs, but I already cheer for the Sox and love Regina Pizza in the North End. But I'm not all the way there yet.
So, why bring this all up in a blog about being a new guy in New England? I can't help but wonder what makes y'all feel at home here. What weird or quirky thing makes this area feel familiar and comfortable? I hate the humidity of the South, but I feel at home with it. What grates on you, but at the same time brings you comfort?
Leave your answers in the comments below. I can't wait to read them while drinking a glass of sweet tea.
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About the authorJoe Allen-Black left the flat landscape and temperate climes of Florida, where he was a reporter and web producer, for the peaks, valleys, and mercurial weather of New England. Joe, More »
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