Transplant Profile: Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock

Nothing makes the South shine like seeing it through the eyes of a Southerner-by-choice. While Transplant Profiles usually feature born-and-raised Southerners living outside the region, this week’s contributor is a Midwesterner who moved South six years ago. Funny thing about people from the Midwest – they’re hard to impress. If anyone rivals Southerners for having pride of place, it’s Midwesterners. “New” Southerner and author of The Catholic Wife blog, Katie Sciba, shares her experience in adopting “y’all” into her vocabulary as well as a few other worthwhile adaptations she’s made since putting down roots in Louisiana.
@TheCatholicWife and Southerner by choice, Katie Sciba talks sweet tea, Southern vocab and beating culture shock today on the blog! | StayingSouthern.net

(Photo credit: Chip Methvin)

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.

—————————

Would you or someone you know make a great candidate for a Transplant Profile? Write me!

Read another Transplant Profile here

Advertisements

How to Write a Thank You Note (and why you should)

In this era, steeped in technology, it’s hard to sit down and hand-write a thank-you note when sending a text, tweet or email is so much easier.

Those forms of thank-yous might be immediate, but they’re hardly as personal as a penned note in the mail.

My mother and her sister exchange thank-you notes practically every day, even though they live less than a mile away from each other. They write cards to one another for things as simple as a good chat during a power-walk around the neighborhood or bringing a quiche to Sunday brunch.

It’s easy to feel like thank you notes are wasted on those who don’t write them at all. But, it’s been my experience that showing appreciation is never lost on anyone.

A thank-you note is a tangible experience. Think about it: what do you do when you see an envelope that isn’t a bill or a pre-approved credit card? You smile. You enjoy the feel of the unincorporated envelope and the hand-written address. Then, you open it… and smile again.

A quality thank-you note should read like this:

Dear _________ ,

1. An expression of gratitude for the kindness/gift/presence.
2. How thoughtful it was/how much it was appreciated.
3.  A mention of the future: When you will be seeing each other again and how lovely it will be.
4. Another brief expression of appreciation, closing salutations and the author’s signed name.

Send one of these and people will remember you for the lengths you go to express your gratefulness. The thank you note is possibly the easiest way to create a positive, lasting impression on anyone.

Good manners and gratitude know no zip codes. So keep on writing, because nothing makes a person feel appreciated like receiving a hand-written piece of mail, sent just to say “thank you.”

Dear Miss L’Anne: My in-laws call me by the wrong name… help!

Dear Ms. L’Anne,

My new in-laws keep calling me the wrong name by accident. I don’t think they mean to, and the name they call me is really close to my actual name, but it’s definitely not my name. I try not to be offended, but it’s getting old. What should I do?

Susie in Eden Prairie, Minnesota

———————-

Dear Susie,

It must be very awkward to have your in-laws call you by the wrong name, and you are doing the exact right thing in trying not to be offended.  You are beginning to build a lifelong relationship and choosing not to embarrass your new in-laws is the kind and gracious thing a young Southern lady would do.

Having been on the receiving end of many mispronunciations of my name, I’ve learned that people have a difficult time correcting a name they have often used incorrectly. If you can determine why your new family might be calling you the wrong name, it may give you more patience and enable you to find an indirect way to help them learn your name.

One way to do this is to engage your husband in a plan to use your name often when talking or writing to his parents, instead of using “we” or “she,” say “Susie.”  Over time, your problem may be solved with no embarrassment on either side.   In the long run, you will not have to groan inwardly when you remember that you embarrassed your in-laws early in your marriage and they will not have to remember that you had to correct them about your name.

Remember that kindness and grace encourage good relationships.

Miss L’Anne

———————

Do you have a question for a tried and true Southern lady? Ask Miss L’Anne via the contact page. She knows everything there is to know about everything. Seriously.