Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NYC for Now, Texas Forever

From Arkansas to Alabama to the Carolinas, I have been able to talk with some incredible Southerners of New York. Their stories have made me laugh, made me think, and encouraged me. More importantly, I hope that they have done at least one of those things for you. For my last interview I figured I would answer a couple questions myself!

Chelsea//Deer Park, TX

What do you miss most about the south?
I miss the outdoors, just sitting on my back porch on the swing with my mom, watching my brothers throw the football while the American flag is blowing in the wind. I miss driving my car, and having my own room. All of the freedoms that come with living in the south. I miss my family and my best friend. I miss knowing exactly where everything is and knowing that things aren't just going to suddenly go out of business and disappear. There’s a level of certainty that is present in the south, and that’s comforting to me.

Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
Lord, I hope so. Unfortunately, I don’t see that happening really soon though. When I first moved here I would practically count the days until I could move back, but then I realized how much time I was wasting. I live in one of the greatest cities in the world, and I should be enjoying it. I now feel like I have the rest of my life to live in the south, but only a few more years to live here and have the experiences, the hardships, the adventures that come from living in New York City. The south will always be my home, and someday I will return.

 
New York City for now, Texas forever.

Monday, April 25, 2016

2 Things NYC Does Better Than the South

Don’t get me wrong, the south is my favorite. It’s my home. Which is why I could only think of 2 things that New York does better than the south.

Skyline
The NYC skyline is one of the most beautiful things in the world, and no one can tell me any different. It doesn’t matter the time of day, if it’s rainy or sunny, or if you’re in Manhattan or headed out to Staten Island, the skyline always looks magnificent. There have been so many times since I’ve moved here when things got really tough and I felt like I had made the wrong decision. Like I couldn’t make it here. Like I should have stayed in Texas. But it never fails that when I take a step back and get a glimpse of this incredible city I am quickly reminded why I chose this place.
 


Relationships
In New York making time for people is an intentional act. You often have to go out of your way to schedule in some time for someone because everyone here has a busy, hectic, insane schedule. We’re all committed to ten thousand different activities, and free time frequently doesn’t line up. That’s what makes relationships in New York so special. You know that the other person made an intentional effort to spend time with you, to ask how you’re doing, to go to Duane Reade with you because you don’t want to go alone. The relationships that are made in New York are ones that will last forever. They’re the friends that you get to know really well really quickly. The friends that invite you back to their hometown so that you can see exactly where they came from. The friends that you would fly across the country to watch them get married. These are those forever friendships.

 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Moving from Memphis

Jessica, from Memphis, Tennessee, was recently elected to be the president of her house at The King’s College. We sat down to chat earlier this week about her life as a Southerner of New York! Check out my interview with Jess below!!

What is your favorite part of being southern?
"The weather, it’s so warm. But at the same time it’s super humid so it has its ups and downs. I love the good ol’ southern cooking… all of the butter.”

When did you move to New York and why did you decide to leave the south?
“Almost 2 years ago. I knew that I wanted to leave the south, and I knew I wanted to go to a big city. I really wanted to go to a place where I felt like I could start over. Where no one knew my whole family history, nothing about me. Memphis isn’t small, but it’s very much a small town vibe.”

Is there anything that you do in the city or places you go that remind you of the south?
"When Chickfila opened and everyone was like “my pleasure” it reminded me of the south. The cool thing about the south is how you address people, like Mr. or Mrs. Going to diners reminds me of home because of the food. I went to a BBQ festival this past summer and there was a Memphis stand. I went and ate a bunch of it, and I felt like I was at home.”

What does New York have that the south doesn’t?
“It’s so much more open minded. There’s more curiosity here. When you learn someone else thinks differently here you want to learn more. The big thing for me is concerts. Here I can go to a concert for like 7 bucks or 12 bucks. I love being able to see the bands I listen to in a small space and meet them after the show. New York has so many kinds of food. I had never had Korean food before I moved here but now it’s one of my favorites.”

What do you miss most about the south?
“I’m a big nature person. I love doing outdoorsy things. I love canoeing, hiking, going outdoors with friends. I’m also a very extraverted person, but I need alone time. It’s very hard to come by here. You can find it if you look for it, but trying to find that time is something you have to schedule into your life. I miss the ease of having a car… I miss driving. Driving was my alone time. I would turn up my music and just drive. I mean here I can put in headphones but I would feel weird just screaming the lyrics on the street.”

Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
"I think it was a really good place to grow up. I never thought the same way as people from home. I was a lot more curious about other cultures. When I came here, within the first semester, it was the first place I felt like I belonged. I don’t think I will stay in the city forever, but I really love the culture here.”

Monday, April 18, 2016

Boy from Bham

Jonathan Harvill, from Birmingham, Alabama, is a Disney lovin’, down home kid. We actually met before he became a Southerner of New York, so it’s been really fun to watch this transition. Check out my interview with Jonathan below!

Have you always lived in the south?
“I was born in Mobile, Alabama. We lived in Tallahassee for a bit, but we ended up in Birmingham.”

What is your favorite part of being southern?
"My family. Most of my family is down there. It’s me, my sister, and my parents. We’re all pretty tight. My grandparents and my cousins are within driving distance. Another thing I love is driving, I miss doing that. You can’t really do that here… you don’t want to do that here.”

When did you move to New York, and why did you decide to move?
“I moved here almost 2 years ago to go to The King’s College. One of my good friends that I grew up with came to King’s her freshman year, and she told me about it. I loved the school, the small community, and New York City. I love Disney and film. You can get a lot of both of those things here. There’s a focus in the city, specifically in film. When films are released they come to New York and LA first, and that’s a pretty cool opportunity.”

Are there any places you go or things you do in the city that remind you of the south?
"Walking through the woods in Central Park, it’s something that you can’t get anywhere else in Manhattan. It feels so different. Central Park is so New York, but the woods are so not New York. It reminds me of hiking back home, there’s a lot of green back home.”

What do you miss most about the south?
“I miss drinking coffee on my back porch. There’s just a whole lot more space there. I obviously miss my backyard. In the south you can just drive to so many different places, visit friends, go hiking. There’s the city of Birmingham, so you can kind of get it all. You can see the starts at night. There’s just a peace to that, and I didn’t notice it before. There’s also an added appreciation for my parents and what they do. The quality time with them, I miss that a lot.”

Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
“I don’t know if I will move back to Alabama. If I could guess where I will be in 5 years I would guess it would be in the southeast.”

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Southern Living v. NYC Living

As you can imagine, living in the city is very different than living in the south. New York apartments are a big adjustment after living in a house my whole life. Below are my thoughts on this struggle and a few others!


The Moving Process
After making the exciting decision to move to NYC almost 3 years ago I quickly realized that I had more to plan for than I ever imagined. Moving to the city was honestly really difficult/expensive. I packed up my suitcases to take on the plane and had to ship everything else to my new apartment. That was one of those times where I didn’t ask for the total and just swiped my card, knowing that I would deal with reality of the price later down the road.


My Little Home
One of my favorite parts of the south are the wide open spaces. After living in a house for my entire life, moving into a 600 sq ft apartment with 3 other people was a VERY big adjustment. I wasn’t used to having to share a closet or a bedroom or my personal breathing space, but that all had to change real quick. Over the last couple years I’ve surprisingly grown to love my little home, but that’s probably because I moved into an apartment almost double the size and only have 1 roommate now. But that’s just a guess.

Also, tiny apartments are not the place for dogs. So, one time I bought a fish. It wasn't the same.


Paying for My Little Home
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Grocery Shopping
One of the great things about NYC is the abundance of Trader Joes. I love them. What I don’t love is having to stand in line outside of the store just so I can wait to get in. And then once I’m in having to stand in another line that snakes around the store leading to the register. Often grocery shopping ends up being me standing in this line asking my boyfriend to go grab things and bring them back to the cart. Obviously, this little system works out really well for me... until it’s snowing outside and I have to carry my groceries home without slipping on the ice and praying the handles on the bags don’t break. But they do. Every time.


The Subway *screams*
When I first moved here I was very nervous about the subway system. I was terrified that I would get on the wrong train and end up in the Bronx alone and not know how to make it home, or that I would get mugged. And while I have had some crazy experiences on the subway, neither of those fears have come true.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Southern Steph

Stephanie Conway, from Winston Salem, North Carolina, moved to New York almost 3 years ago. Since then she has become one of my favorite Southerners of New York.

What is your favorite part about being southern?
My favorite parts about being southern are the nice people and life's simple pace. Honestly, I could go on and on about why I love the south. It's a land filled with barbecue, lakes, mountains, beautiful beaches, Spanish moss, t-shirts, Chacos, Cookout milkshakes and some of the nicest people you will ever meet.

Why did you move to New York?
I moved to New York in 2013 to begin school at King's. I left southern comfort and came to the city to experience something exciting and new. New York City was a place filled with endless possibilities. It held unknown friends, jobs, classes, concerts, internships, mission work and cool experiences. There was no telling where I would end up if I chose to attend King's. If I had chosen other state schools (N.C. State, UNC Chapel Hill or Appalachian State), I would have always wondered what those possibilities were. It has been a difficult adjustment but I definitely don't regret my decision.

Are there places you go or things you do in New York that remind you of home?
When I was in North Carolina, I spent all my days at coffee shops or exploring downtown. Now that I'm in New York, I do the same but on a much larger scale. You could explore here for a century and never see it all. The streets keep changing, stores keep moving, and building keep appearing. Some of my favorite coffee shops are Brooklyn Roasting Company, Toby's, Kinfolk and DevociĆ³n. It's also a good time to eno in Central Park or go climbing at Brooklyn Boulders. Contrary to popular belief, we don't have chicken & waffles in the south. But we do have fried chicken, so really it's close enough. Go to Sweet Chick.
What does New York have that the south doesn't?
New York has Juice Generation! I'm also extremely impressed by the churches here. The sermons are intellectually engaging and relatable. Churchgoers here are less common than in southern states, which makes the community look and feel a little different. New York also has a ton of cool historical sites and some of the best people watching you'll EVER find!
What do you miss the most about the south?
I miss the great outdoors the most. The hardest part of living in New York City is the fact that people are around you all the time. Climbing rocks and paved pathways in Central Park doesn't quite satisfy me and taking the train outside of the city costs money and takes too long. I really miss hiking, driving my car and screaming on mountain tops where no one can hear. But, sometimes wearing Chacos and carrying a backpack can be cathartic.
Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
I definitely hope to move back to the south one day. I'm not sure when that will be, but Lord, haste the day.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Welcome to New York

Since moving to New York something that I have missed, even more than wide open spaces and Mexican food, is my mom, Teri. Teri’s one of the greatest people I’ve ever met. She’s my best friend, my biggest supporter, and very funny.

This week she came to visit me!!


Of course we did the typical sightseeing things. We ventured up to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and pretty much only looked at Washington Crossing the Delaware. We ate lunch at Serendipity and drank frozen hot chocolate. We battled the sea of people that is Times Square to go see Les Mis. We even went to Shake Shack and talked about how they would never be as good as Whataburger.

The adventures we went on were so fun simply because she was there, even if we had to walk 6 blocks and 2 avenues in the pouring rain to get to our destination. But honestly, my favorite part of the trip was just her being here.

My mom is everything that I love about the south. She’s warm and inviting, sweet as can be, and she can make a DANG good peach cobbler.

Saying goodbye was hard, of course. It always is. But it was so, so sweet while it lasted.

But not quite as sweet as the peach cobbler she made for me right before she left.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A True Southern Belle

Lindsey Girkin, from Eureka Springs, Arkansas, moved to New York City almost a year ago. Y’all, she is truly a southern belle. Check out our conversation on her life as a Southerner of New York!
Have you always lived in the south?
“Yeah, I have always lived there. My dad actually bought back the house that he grew up in, so it’s the house I grew up in.”

What is your favorite part of being southern?
“The food and SEC football, Woo Pig Sooie! I like Mexican food, but they only have weird taco things here that aren’t real. My favorite bbq place at home is called Bubba’s BBQ, and yes that’s really the name. My roommate’s twitter is filled with tweets using the hashtag ‘Things Southerners Say’ and they’re all quotes of me. I’ve said some pretty rad things about the south.”

 Is there anything that you do or places you go in the city that remind you of the south?
There’s this Arkansas sports bar that one of my professors told me about. Everyone just calls the hogs together. I put up this American flag in my living room, and sometimes I go and look at my flag and listen to George Strait or Luke Bryan. I also love to wear my chacos.”

What does New York have that the south doesn’t?
“I guess people dress better here. New York has better coffee and there’s Insomnia Cookies. Also, people watch hockey here. I went to a game once here even though I’m not really into it. Those people are savages. I do love men’s lacrosse. That’s something we do not have in the south.”

What do you miss most about the south?
“The people there are friendly. I miss sitting on the porch at night, kids tossing the football, and football games. Everyone watched SEC football all day Saturday. Even if you are yelling War Damn Eagle or Roll Tide, you’re still cool. I also miss people knowing what Enos are. When you say it here people think you’re talking about an emu, but that’s not it.”

 Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
“Maybe like Florida or something. I just wish New York had been built below the Mason-Dixon Line. I love the opportunities that New York has, so I don’t see myself leaving soon. People are probably surprised that I don’t want to move back to Arkansas, but really other than its total lack of sunshine, New York is the bomb. I get to do my homework at the Stock Exchange, go see a hipster concert, and sneak into swanky vip lounges all in one day. It rocks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

SC // NYC

I sat down with Tim Stratton, from Greer, South Carolina, this week and asked him about his life in the South and how it’s changed since moving to New York City almost 3 years ago.

And yes, he did the entire interview in his southern accent.
What is your favorite part of being southern?
“Obviously the great accents. No but really, definitely the southern hospitality.”

 Why did you decide to leave the south and move to New York?
“I wanted to live in a big city and Atlanta didn’t cut it. Plus, I knew I wanted to go to a Christian college, but I didn’t want to go to a school in the middle of nowhere.”

 Is there anything that you do or places you go in the city that remind you of the south?
“I occasionally go to The Liberty, which is the bar that hosts the NYC Clemson fan club, to watch the Clemson football games.”

 What does New York have that the south doesn’t?
“The city has more cultural diversity. And the south doesn’t have good Chinese food. Oh, and New York has pizza and bagels.”

What do you miss most about the south?
“I miss my family, football, the smell of freshly cut grass. The feeling of jumping in a cold pool on a hot summer afternoon and sitting on the back porch in the evening ‘shooting the breeze’ with the family. Also, I miss Bojangles and grits and fried green tomatoes. Did I already say Bojangles?”

 Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
"Honestly, probably not. I really love New York and I don’t see myself leaving anytime soon. I love the hustle and the speed of the city.”

Monday, March 28, 2016

The Sweetest Lil' Southerner

Hannah Silver, from Charlotte, NC, is without a doubt the sweetest lil’ southerner I’ve ever met. Below is the conversation I had with her about her experience as a Southerner of New York.

Where are you from?
“I’m from Charlotte, North Carolina. My family has only moved once, but we stayed in the same neighborhood. My mom is from Indiana and my dad is from Charlotte, so I’m a mixed breed.”

When did you move to New York, and why did you decide to leave the south?
“I moved here like 7 months ago, and it wasn’t for the weather. I came because I love adventure and people and culture. I wanted to experience something new.”

Is there anything that you do in the city or places you go that remind you of the south?
“No, not really. I mean I go to Trader Joe’s, that’s the closest I get to being home. There’s nothing much here that’s southern.”

What do you miss most about the south?
I miss the sky, the stars. I love being able to hike and explore and just be out in nature. I also miss my church. I went to this church where everyone knew my name, it was like a big family. People are just a little bit different in the south, I can’t explain it. The personal experience you have with cashiers and baristas is a little bit homier there. In New York it just seems like they want to get the job done.”

Do you think that you will ever move back to the south?
“Yes because that’s home to me. The city is a great adventure, but my roots are in the south.”

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

3 Things Southerners of New York Miss Most About the South

Living in New York City is truly an incredible experience. It's a new adventure every day, and there are so many one of a kind opportunities here. That being said, when you're from the South it's hard to not miss home, even if you live in a place as cool as NYC.

Here are the top 3 things Southerners of New York miss the most about living in the South!

Food
There is nothing like eating BBQ ribs, smothered in sauce on a Saturday afternoon. Something that I love about being home is when my dad is grilling while my brothers throw the football and my mom and I sit on the porch swing and watch it all happen. Come on, what's more southern than that?

Nature
The great outdoors are home to so many adventures. You can hike, or bike ride, or just explore new places. Unfortunately, in NY the closest we get to this is Central Park. Which is such a great place, one of my favorites actually, but still nothing compared to navigating through the woods or being on the beach.

Driving
Driving is the ultimate symbol of freedom, and it's something that southerners miss while in New York. Yes, some people here do drive, but that requires nearly getting hit every 10 seconds and sitting in horrendous traffic, and that's coming from a girl from Houston.

Southern Food > New York Food

Some people seem to be under the impression that New York City has some of the best food in the world. Sure there are great Irish pubs and restaurants that advertise "Japanese tacos and Mexican sushi", which sounds very risky to me. But don't let the abundance of Zagat ratings in the city fool you, Southern food is where it's at.


As a Texas girl, born and raised, I have a deep love for Mexican food. Some call it Tex-Mex, but whatever you want to call it, it's goooood. I've lived in NYC for almost 3 years and I have not found even 1 "Mexican" restaurant that comes close to the stuff back home.
The salsa here is basically a mixture of chopped tomatoes, onions and cilantro, which down south I believe we call pico de gallo.
When I get beans with my meal I usually expect refried or charro beans to be served, but up north they only serve black beans. Such a let down.


BBQ doesn't exist in New York, and it deeply saddens me. Whether it's Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, or Texas style barbeque I'm down. Personally, I'm more of a dry rub kinda girl, but seriously I have no prejudice. I'll try it all. There is a place in NY near my apartment that calls itself "Texas style BBQ". Of course when I first saw it I was so excited to have a piece of home in the city. Once I went inside I quickly realized that this was nothing like what I was used to. Apparently they fry their meat, like in a pan, and then put sauce on it. Needless to say, I did not even try it.

 


Even though Southerners of New York miss their BBQ and Mexican food, I think it's safe to say that we miss down home cooking even more. Who doesn't want to start out their day with chicken fried steak that's bigger than their face? I went to the Houston Rodeo a few weeks ago when I was home, and I was reminded of how many things you can deep fry, like oreos, nutella, and poptarts. But even when it's not rodeo season the South has no shortage of fried foods, such as, but definitely not limited to: chicken fried steak, fired okra, and fried pickles.
 
I think it's safe to say that it's obvious why Southerners of New York really miss southern food.

An Open Letter to the Great Outdoors

Dear Great Outdoors,

I miss you.

I miss going on adventures and exploring new places, like the time that my friends and I took a trip to Austin, Texas where we climbed all 102 steps, in the middle of July, to get to the top of Mount Bonnell. Even though we were extremely hot, it was so worth it because the views were incredible! We even ventured into some nearby woods to continue exploring. Sure we got a little lost, and sure we discovered some creepy creatures we had never seen before, but we eventually found our way out, and that's what counts!
 
I also miss seeing the stars at night. With all the city lights it's almost impossible to see anything in the sky, which is so disappointing. It's so fun to sit out in the backyard or a random field and look up at the sky. The stars have the ability to make you feel so small at the same time as making you feel like anything is possible.
Sometimes one of the most relaxing things is sitting on the porch and just enjoying being outside, and this doesn't happen in New York. We aren't able to go out back and sit on the swing on a cool fall morning and sip coffee, or on a warm summer afternoon and drink sweet tea. There are no birds chirping or dogs begging you to throw the frisbee.
 
Great Outdoors, I miss you. And so do the rest of the Southerners of New York.


Fast Cars & Freedom

One of the hardest parts of living in New York is not having the ability to drive places. I mean, people do drive, but it ends up looking like this:

Yes, that is me. I'm telling you, driving in the city turns you into a madman. 10 out of 10 would not recommend. Was most of my time spent with my foot on the break? Definitely. Did I almost hit a few cars? Yeah. Were a couple of pedestrians lives at stake? Possibly.

In New York we have an expansive subway and bus system that allows us to get all over the city. I'm sure you're thinking to yourself "it would be nice to be able to get places without having to put in the effort that driving requires."

To that I would say "you're wrong."

Trains are constantly running late or making more stops than you expected. Sometimes the train skips your stop for no apparent reason, and occasionally the subway tracks catch on fire.

Driving is a symbol of freedom. Being able to drive means that you can go anywhere, anytime you want. It allows you to be completely free and in total control.

Plus, who doesn't love a good roadtrip?? Being in the car with my friends is honestly where some of my favorite memories come from.



Driving is one of my favorite parts about the south. Every time I'm home, one of the first things I do is get in my mustang, turn on a good radio station, and drive. I don't even need a destination, I just love to be out on the open road, singing (very poorly), even occasionally steering wheel drumming.

When I left the south I had no idea how important driving actually was to me. As I talk to more Southerners of New York I'm realizing that this is just another thing that all of us miss about home.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Sweet Home Alabama


Earlier this weekend I sat down with Scott White, from Daphne, Alabama, and asked him some questions about being a Southerner of New York.
What is your favorite part of being Southern?
“I like how everyone in the South is nice, and of course the food. I also love the culture surrounding football in the South. Up here no one watches football except for the occasional pro game. I have never seen more people watch hockey than I have in New York. In the South we watch college football. Oh, and Roll Tide Roll.”
 When did you move to NY, and why did you decide to leave the South?
“I moved here almost 2 years ago, and I decided to move because I love the opportunity here. Not necessarily just job opportunities, but you never know what you’re going to see or who you will meet. Everything happens in New York first. You don’t usually hear about huge Broadway premieres happening in Montgomery or Atlanta.”

What do you miss the most about the South?
“Honestly, I miss knowing everybody. I grew up in a very small town, I went to school with the same 29 kids for years. I knew their brothers and sisters and their parents. I also have noticed there are no quiet places in New York. In the South you can go 10 minutes from the main street and it’s silent. People in the South take that for granted, but here silence is a treasured thing.”
Do you think that you will ever move back to the South?
“I think that eventually I will move back because that’s where I was born, it’s where I was raised. That’s where I feel the most comfortable. That’s home.”

Monday, March 14, 2016

7 Reasons New York Is Not The South


I'm from a small town outside of Houston, Texas, and am unashamedly proud of my southern roots. I simply feel that the south is one of the greatest places in the world.

But somehow I ended up moving to New York City and making it my new home! Don't get me wrong, I love New York, but it is nothing compared to the south.

Here are some of the reasons why:

1. The Seasons 
It's practically always summer in the south which means eating ice cream on the front porch... in February

2. Hospitality
Southern gentlemen open doors for ladies without question, but New York men wait for women to open the door for them

3. Food

The south is the only place where people consider macaroni and mashed potatoes to be vegetables

4. Sweet Tea

There's nothing better than a pitcher of iced tea that you know your mamma mixed half of a bag of sugar into

5. Country Music

George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson. If you think these cowboys are from the north, well bless your heart

6. Accents

The only things sweeter in the south than the sweet tea are the accents

 7.  Football
In the south, Sundays are for the Lord and Saturdays are for the SEC