I grew up in the South, but having always lived there before I moved North never knew any better. I have found when I tell people that I moved to the Boston area at 17 they are amazed and immediately mention culture shock. Yes, Boston is very different. But aside from the obvious weather differences, I didn't feel acutely aware of the differences. Now, though, when I travel back to the South I am blown away by how different it is.
1) Fast food joints everywhere you stinkin' look. Not so much here in New England, thank GOD. I love fast food. I love McDonald's, Wendy's Burger King, Chick Fil A, Taco Bell and currently have a wicked craving for Arby's (its those darn "roastburger" commercials). Oh, and did I mention Sonic? Clearly I come by my love for fast food naturally.
2) Politically correct? Nah. So, we all know and love girl scout cookies. What are you favorites? Mine is easily, hands-down caramel de-lights. Oh, what did you say southern person? You've never heard of that one? Yes, actually you have. It's called a Samoa down in your lands. Now, to be honest, I'm not sure if that was a big battle or not. It just seems SO new england to change and also SO southern not to. that name difference is incredibly indicative of the differences between the two cultures. i'm in no way trying to put down the south. but, let's just say i was surprised by the lack of filter in some people's conversation :)
3) churches everywhere you freakin' look, even in that building over there that looks like a mall. yes, one church in Shreveport meets in an old mall that they purchased! what?! that seems like capitalism meets religion in such a bad, bad way. i obviously was aware that the south is more "religious" than the north, but man alive are there a crap load of churches down there. not just cute little white churches, i'm talking HUGE, fancy-schmancy, megachurch churches. what i liked about it was how freely you could discuss religion. one of my younger cousins was talking about how almost all of his classmates go to church every Sunday and his favorite music is Christan (which he can listen to on the radio). not so at my high school in belmont. not even close.
4) "the country" is glorious. my uncle own an old "fixer-uper" (trust me, there is no way to exaggerate that term in this case) that sits on 50 acres of land. Did you catch that? 50 acres! It was incredible and I would move onto 50 acres yesterday given the chance. It just seemed to quiet and removed and simple. Redneck? yes, but oh, so amazing. My uncle and aunt also have all sorts of antique-y things in their house. my uncle collects old soda coolers, my aunt has tons of old coke bottles and craker tins in her kitchen and their bathroom has an amazing claw-footed tub. if i could have a house like theirs (minus all the fixing up that's left to be done) i think i'd be in heaven. there's more i noticed/enjoyed/learned about the south on my trip, but that's good for now. i hope this doesn't sound negative because i love the south and all of the ways its so different from the north. so, dear southern reader, don't be offended. feel loved.