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.

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.

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.