Southern Belle

I miss the South.  There, I said it.  I never, ever thought I would say it but lately I’ve been finding myself fantasizing about packing up about 40% of my stuff, selling the rest and heading south of the Mason-Dixon line.  Way south.  As most of you know I grew up in Arlington, VA which is technically south of the Mason-Dixon line but doesn’t possess the Southern culture that I know and love by way of my extended family and my college experience.  There are a lot of things about the South that I miss at this moment:

The (lack of) Cost – Simply put, you get a lot more bang for your buck down South.  I’m fortunate to live in a large apartment with more space than anyone else I know in New York City at a fairly budget friendly price.  What’s the drawback? I live with three other people.  I love my roommates more than anything and I know that living with other people has really made my experience in New York City but there are just some days where I want to be in my own space!  Also, we have one bathroom.  Enough said. A couple of months ago I was in Charlotte, North Carolina taking a tour with an awesome guide who was about my age. One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to compare daily aspects about my life in NYC to the lives of folks my age in other cities and my favorite question is “what are rent prices like here?” Although our guide didn’t live right in the heart of downtown Charlotte he lived in the beautiful suburbs and paid…wait for it…$750 for a two bedroom apartment.  Yep, $325 a month.  I’m pretty sure I cried.

THE FOOD – This statement deserves all caps.  I will admit that there are some excellent Southern-inspired restaurants in the city but they all seem to desperately scream “WE’RE SOUTHERN”! Also, the menu is hardly varied…fried chicken and biscuits does not a Southern restaurant make.  I realize that I am so jaded because a) I come from a Southern family who cooks all the time and b) I have become a jaded New Yorker, but serving sweet tea somewhere does not make you a Southern restaurant!  Dining in the South is such an all-sensory experience.  Unless my food is being served my someone with a Southern accent who is calling me sweetie or baby and I can order something that feels like it’s feeding my soul but is not necessarily deep fried…you just ain’t got it.

The space/people – Living in New York makes these two things directly related.  There are people EVERYWHERE in New York City. There are days when it is just absolutely wonderful being surrounded by people.  When I have nothing to do and nowhere to be (a rare occasion) it’s so nice to just walk around my neighborhood and feed off of the energy of other people.  Then…there are those other times when I literally want to Heisman the person next to me.  The idea of personal space is so foreign here because we pack ourselves into subways, sidewalks, coffee shops, stores, restaurants, apartments (ha), basically anything you can think of.  Sometimes it’s just too much. Like sir, why exactly are you standing literally centimeters from my face and oh…wait…great you just sneezed.

Also, there is this interesting concept about New York where you can constantly be surrounded by people yet still feel so lonely.  New Yorkers are absolutely, 100% not as rude as non-New Yorkers try to pretend that we are but I will admit that we aren’t the warmest bunch.  A smile and a hello to a stranger will most likely be met with a confused stare rather than a returned greeting.  The key here is to simply not take it personally.  We New Yorkers have places to be, things to do! We close ourselves off to the outside world with sunglasses and headphones because we are focused on our individual hustles.  Nothing wrong with that, just an acquired taste I suppose.

Anyway I didn’t mean for this post to be a big wah wah wah about New York but more so a big bear hug to the South.  What Southern cities do I imagine myself living it? I’m so glad you asked! Here are places I plan to visit, pretend to live in for a few days (or more) soon:

  • Charleston, SC
  • Nashville, TN
  • Memphis, TN
  • Chapel Hill, NC (of course)
  • Charlotte, NC (already ready to go back!)
  • Savannah, GA
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Little Rock, AR
  • Oxford, MS
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Austin, TX
  • San Antonio, TX
  • Louisville, KY
  • Wilmington, NC

And probably so many other cities I haven’t even considered.  What’s your favorite Southern city? What do you love about it so much? Talk to me!

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12 Responses

  1. Nicole says:

    Thanks for the post Shayla! I really want to go to Nashville now because of the show and see what it’s all about!

  2. Janell says:

    Love your sense of adventure but need clarity and/or more action steps. Usually with an active imaginations like ours it is good to always prioritize with a “need to” and in this case a need to move list. This will help predict outcome expectations. Additionally, you might consider focusing on how you visualize the Southern Belle thing from a backwards perspective. This means recounting the move starting with say step 10 and moving down to step 1. But I clearly remember around age 12 or 14, it was your desire to live in Manhattan – specifically Battery Park City. What has triggered this change or seeking to go South?

    • shayamour says:

      Hi Aunt Janell, I think you are 100% right. I will definitely make this countdown list regarding all of the reasons that I MIGHT want to move. This post in particular was more of a highlight of southern cities I want to visit to do some market research 🙂

  3. […] Your Land My Land  – this blog is so interesting to me as I’ve always been a bit fascinated by America so it’s really interesting to get a personal perspective. I really liked the latest article about living in New York and longing for the South. […]

  4. Re3ecca says:

    Hey, I just nominated you for a Very Inspiring Blogger award 🙂 Looking forward to checking out your recommendations. Happy blogging x

    • shayamour says:

      Thank you so much! I’m so honored! I will definitely take some time to make some recommendations as well as post the award to my blog. Do you have more details of the award itself?

      • Re3ecca says:

        No problem, I love your blog, hope more people will find it! I’m afraid I don’t have any details other than the rules in the post that nominated me. I did google it but couldn’t find the origin! x

  5. Maxine says:

    I took a road trip with a friend in late fall 2008 to the South and I loved it! Especially the food and the prices 🙂 I’m a little obsessed with getting back down there and if I had the money, I’d recreate the road trip again. We meant to go to Savannah but we ended up getting to Virginia later than planned, so we never got to go. That’s definitely on my list, but I loved loved loved Nashville and I was very pleasantly surprised by Charleston! And people in Columbia, SC were so friendly for the hour or so we spent there haha …

  6. Meade says:

    Richmond, Virginia is a good Southern city to visit. Not sure why you included Oklahoma . Texas, and Kentucky. That ain’t the South.

    • Shayla says:

      Oklahoma could perhaps be considered as the Midwest but you don’t consider Texas and Kentucky to be the South? That makes no sense! What region of the US would you classify them?

      • Meade says:

        Hi! Well I think Texas really is not Southern culturally at all- except maybe East TX. Texas is really a Western state culturally, but Texas in general is just a whole ‘ nother country as they say. Kentucky is really the Midwest. KY was not in the Confederacy. But Virginia is definitely Southern, except for the DC Metro area. Florida is not really Southern , except for extreme northern tip of Florida. Hope that helps!

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