It is hard to believe I have lived in North Carolina for 15 years, most days it feels like I just got here – until I am reminded that I have a mortgage which I have paid on for 4 years.
I still remember my first day when I was walking in uptown Charlotte trying to find a bank, I walked into the first branch of a bank I could find which actually took me about 20 minutes they weren’t at all easy to locate, even my drive around the small part of town where I lived before going uptown did not reveal any banks. Ironic since North Carolina has been the financial center of the Southeast since I moved here. I remember feeling like Margo Thomas in “That Girl” walking the downtown streets gazing at water fountains that were actually spraying water – I admit I was a bit shocked by that since I had come from a place where fountains were rarely turned on because of water conservation efforts.
The first years here were a major learning experience. The South does not do things like they do on the West coast. You have to learn the art of small talk and you can’t just get right to the point. Wearing jeans in the summer is just too hot, but wearing shorts always seems wrong now, I usually end up in a dress. Flip-flops are apparently the casual shoe of the south, I still don’t get that but I own a pair. When you walk or run in a neighborhood you really need to wave to people or they think you are odd, even if they don’t know you. If you don’t know people it is harder to get to KNOW people, but once you have made an acquaintance with someone the doors are open. While the younger generation loves to socialize and party, the older folks still see it as a taboo. September is hurricane month; usually that is when the worst storm affects Charlotte.
Even with all these differences I still love it here. I couldn’t move back because I love the hot warm summers and the short mild winters. I have also worked too hard at networking here to give it up now.