Name: Katie Sciba
Born in: Newport News, VA but grown in Omaha, NE (military brat)
Occupation: Columnist and at-home mom
I currently live in: Shreveport, LA
I transplanted because: Visiting future in-laws with my husband Easter of 2008, he was introduced to the principal at the local Catholic high school. By the end of the conversation, he had a job offer. Two weeks after our wedding in June, we filled a Uhaul and drove down to start a brand new life.
Similarities I found between the South and other places I lived: I’ve described both Midwesterners and Southerners as the nicest people I’ve ever met. Both will bend over backwards to make sure you’re taken care of in times of need and the abundance of care and concern is humbling. It’s been a real blessing to have experienced in both places.
The most drastic difference between the South and other places: The PACE, good grief, the PACE!! In the Midwest, there’s not much time to chat in passing because the work ethic dictates that play comes later. Every man is on his mission and people go go go til quittin’ time. Down here, life is slower, which drove me bananas at first. I remember pushing a cart (what they’d call a buggy here) at Target, getting stuck behind a pair of sauntering Southern belles in a narrow aisle. Cruising at a pace slightly faster than a turtle, I couldn’t get over how much they weren’t in a rush. It wasn’t until I learned to slow down myself that the culture shock wore off.
A Southern habit or value I adopted: It’s almost embarrassing, but I say y’all now. My whole life I made fun of it, and now I’ve proudly added to my vernacular. The Midwestern counterpart “you guys,” still slips in here and there, but “y’all” feels much more natural. I’m also a huge fan of Sweet Tea and so enchanted by the flavor of Southern life.
How living in the South has changed me: It’s expanded my horizons – I just tore apart and ate crawfish for the first time a couple weekends ago (after living here for nearly 6 years). It’s been fantastic experiencing things outside of what I knew during my upbringing. And I really have learned to slow down, generally speaking, to enjoy life instead of rushing through it like I did before.
Morsel of wisdom to other “new” Southerners: Give your A/C a tune up for the 6-month long summer. I’ll never forget how shockingly hot it was when we moved down here, and how long it lingered into what was “supposed” to be autumn. Other than that? Just dive in. It might not make sense at first, but every nuance of the South has some delightful reason behind it that’s worth savoring.