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.

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Read another Transplant Profile here

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Transplant Profile: Kera in Illinois

 

Nothing makes you appreciate being a Southerner like living outside the South. Spend any significant length of time away from home and you’ll find yourself attempting to master every classic Southern recipe and being friendlier than ever. And, you’ll learn to appreciate the simple things when you do get back home – like egrets and Raising Canes. Just ask Kera.

StayingSouthern.net | Transplant Profile: Kera shares her take on being Southern and what she does to feel at home wherever she is.Name: Kera Simon Brossette (pronounced “See-maw” “Bro-say” in Louisiana and no where else)

Born: Kaplan, Louisiana

Occupation: Communication Specialist for the county health department

I currently live in: Bloomington, Illinois

When I go back to the South: I look out of the window a lot more than when I grew up there. I find myself getting excited to see an egret. Those creatures I grew up dodging as a teenager driving on my way from school are somewhat weird and foreign to me now, and I hate that. These little things that I took for granted when I was young are so special to me now, more than they’ve ever been. Spanish moss hanging from the trees, sunlight gleaming off the crawfish ponds and rice fields, the smell of crawfish boiling, pulling up at a gas station and ordering boudin– it’s the little things.

When I go back, I always: Stop at Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers first (and will schedule driving stops around the nearest Raising Cane’s).

I miss: Meeting a person for the first time, and then hugging them when you leave!

Being Southern has helped me: Connect with people on a human level. I’m an open book, and I show my faults mostly through humor, because that’s the only way I know how. I’m also honest with people and show sincerity — that’s how I was raised to find a friend in everyone.

Morsel of wisdom to other Transplant Southerners: Learn how to cook the meals you grew up loving! There will be some trials, some errors, and some big fat failures. But, when you finally get it right, it’s all so worth it! Plus, it will help you keep your sanity when your Southern friends post all of their meal pictures on social media.

Would you or someone you know be a great candidate for a Transplant Profile? Contact us!

Read last week’s Transplant Profile here

Dear Miss L’Anne: I’m 30, single and my dating pool is a puddle.

Dear Miss L'Anne: I'm 30, single and my dating pool is a puddle.Dear Miss L’Anne,

I’m a 30-year-old female living in a major city in the Midwest. I feel like I sound full of myself when I say this, but for the sake of the question I need to tell you that I have a great job, I live in a nice apartment, I volunteer, I’m active and I have an easy-going attitude. I’m attracted to a man with a good sense of humor and values. Here’s my problem: I cannot get a date. I have tried going to the bar, the gym, church and joining clubs. But I can’t meet a good quality guy. All my girlfriends are getting married while my dating pool is drying up. Any advice?

Single in the Midwest

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Dear Single in the Midwest,

It’s a real blessing that so many things in your life are stable – your job, living situation, and you seem like a happy, giving person! That is good.

It must be difficult to be around your girlfriends who are getting married, while you see no one on the horizon for you. You think there isn’t anything you can do to make that situation change, even when you try your best to meet someone. And that is true.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “How much of human life is lost in waiting.” When we keep looking for what we think we want, we lose sight of what is right in front of us.

Spending a little time making a plan of things you would like to do now, while you are single, is good. Get ideas by asking married friends what they miss about being single. Do you want to travel? Take some courses? Volunteer in another part of the world or in your hometown? Learn another language? What other ideas do you have? Pick one and work on making it happen. You have freedom to do so many things.

Yes, being single is sometimes hard, but so is being married. The key to life is to become the best person you can be today. Every day is filled with moments to work at becoming a better person. When you are living your life, sometimes Mr. Right shows up where you are. And if he doesn’t, you are living a full life, becoming your best happy self.

Miss L’Anne

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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.

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

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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

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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.

Transplant Profile – Lauren in Washington, D.C.

Family comes first for most Southerners. Whether it’s pitching in around the house or enjoying a meal and a glass of sweet tea together, time spent with family becomes invaluable when it doesn’t happen every day. That’s just one of many things Lauren has learned as a Southerner living in Washington D.C.

It's all about spending time with family when Lauren goes home to Louisiana.

It’s all about spending time with family when Lauren goes home to Louisiana.

Born: Hampton, Virginia, but due to my Dad’s military career we lived all over!

Occupation: Public Relations Executive

I currently live in: Washington, D.C.

When I go back, I visit: Louisiana is home because that is where the majority of my extended family lives and where I spent my college years. When I go back to visit, it’s all about seeing family and spending time with them since I don’t get to see them as often as I would like. I like taking my younger cousins to the movies, doing my Maw Maw’s grocery shopping for her, watching the news with my Pops every night, or driving out to the casino with my aunts and uncles for a little boot scootin’.

When I go back, I always:
Over-eat. It’s true – women of the South just know how to cook really, really well. I probably over-drink, too; Maw Maw makes the best sweet tea and my uncles love a good totty.

I miss: So much about the South! The generosity and kindness of strangers, the slow-paced lifestyle, the Southern men and their jacked up trucks! I was home over Thanksgiving last year and I forgot how nice it was to see a sky full of stars. You don’t see that very often with all the city lights reflecting off their buildings.

Being Southern has helped me: To appreciate finding joy in the little things. When someone holds the door open for me at the local Starbucks (even if it was an accident), I appreciate that so much more than the next person who never grew up with that as the norm.

 Morsel of wisdom to other Southerners living outside the South: People outside of the South and the military don’t like to be referred to as “ma’am” and “sir” but that doesn’t mean you should forget your manners. Make it a point to get back to the South at least once a year. Even if you don’t have family to visit, just do it.  It will be refreshing, rejuvenating and will give you the time you need to just relax.

Would you or someone you know be a great candidate for a Transplant Profile? Contact us!

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You’ll never do a whole lot unless you’re brave enough to try.
– Dolly Parton

Dolly_smile

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Smile! It increases your face value.
– Dolly Parton as Truvy in Steel Magnolias