It has been almost 6 months since the big move from Minnesota to Virginia. I am still giggling when people here say it’s “cold” when the temps are in the 30s. (Virginians — you will get the last laugh when I am a sweaty mess in April. I don’t even want to talk about Summer. I probably won’t leave my air conditioned house.) I am also still on the hunt for cheese curds. Husband Googled cheese curds in RVA and we were dubbed. The bartender of the place we went was really confused when we asked him about said curds. He asked why we couldn’t just go buy pieces of cheese at the grocery store AS IF THAT IS A CHEESE CURD, YOU GUYS!
Side note: When we were talking about moving here I kept thinking of Virginia as “East Coast”. If you lived a minimum of a 20 hour drive from the ocean, then you may also consider a small hour and a half drive to being practically an island. The verdict is still out on this for me. Do we consider Virginia to be “Southern”? Some people I’ve met consider themselves Southerners, some don’t. Please share your thoughts on this. Are you from here? Do you consider RVA to be The South?
This is a list of things I have decided are “Virginian” in the short time we’ve been here.
1. Southern Hospitality
Minnesota is known for “Minnesota nice”, and while I do think the Midwest is full of warm, kind, nice people, I have been overwhelmed by how welcoming the Southerners have been. It could be that I wasn’t expecting the sort of kindness I’m accustomed to. In Minnesota, we welcome our new neighbors and tell them to “let us know if you need anything!”, but it’s not always the most genuine. We don’t mean to be ingenuine, but we aren’t really expecting to be called upon when we make offers. We just want to be “nice”…or “nice enough”. The stoic Norwegian genes of keeping to ourselves is a large part of Minnesota culture. Also, us Midwesterners call things “interesting”, which is passive-aggressive-Minnesota-nice for “bad”.
Our new neighborhood is a mix bag of transplants from all over, but the Southern Hospitality is alive and well here in our lovely RVA suburb. On one of my hardest days of homesickness around Thanksgiving, I had been crying off and on and pulled myself together enough to show up at the bus stop with the boys to get the girls after school. Snow had just begun to fall and I have never been so happy to see snow in all of my life. (Side note: I no longer get excited about snow here. It means no one goes to school for a good week and I cannot deal.)
At the bus stop, I was telling a neighbor how I didn’t know how I was going to break the news to the kids that we ditched our sleds at the last minute during the move (I don’t want to talk about it). I got the kids inside, rummaged through moving boxes to find their snow pants, boots and other Winter gear. I was mid sentence, explaining to the kids that we didn’t have our sleds, when said neighbor knocked on the door with a sled for the kids and a hug, because moving is hard. It might not sound like a huge deal, but I tear up every time I think about it. It is one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for my family. She was an answered prayer that day. I ugly cried and maybe made her uncomfortable. It’s a thing I do.
If you’ve known me for a couple of minutes or been in my home, you know I’m obsessed with wreaths. If there’s not a wreath The on any given wall in my home, then there is instead a painting of a wreath. Year round. I love my wreaths.
When Christmas rolled around, I had serious wreath envy. The wreath game is strong here in the South. People of Richmond, please take me wreath shopping with you. I want in! Their wreaths are large, full, monogrammed….which brings me to my next point….
3. Monogram Everything
The monogram is everywhere. In the Midwest, the monogram trend was big around 2007-2008. It was cute. We did it for a hot minute and moved on. I was surprised to see monograms everywhere here. It is apparently not a trend. It is inherently Southern to sport your initials on your scarves, shirts, hair bows, back packs and sticker decal on the back of your car. It is a thing and it is everywhere.
Is this Southern, or is this is Virginia thing? And how long have we been into monograms? I’m so curious about this.
4. Simply Southern
I have to preface this by telling you about my oldest daughter. She is 9 going on 29 and is about a million times cooler than me. I knew it would happen someday, that my daughter would be ahead of me on the trends, but I didn’t think it would start around the time she was in second grade.
When we told L we were moving (she’s still mad at us for this), the only silver lining for her was a new bedroom to decorate. Apparently the shabby chic room I had curated over the years for her is not what she wants anymore. She told me very specifically that her new room will be “grey, blush pink [not pink. Blush pink] and white with metallic accents. I walked into Target about two weeks after we moved in, and wouldn’t you know that Project 62 came out with this line that looked like something right out of Daughter’s Pinterest board.
(She actually has that awesome mirror abover her vanity.)
Anyway, L came home asking about Simply Southern tee shirts a couple of times. Eventually a gymnastics teammate hooked her up with some hand-me-down tees and she hardly wears anything else now.
They are a cute, preppy brand. And it is the cool thing to wear. Again, any additional insight on this would be much appreciated it. L loves it, so it must be cool. I want to “get” it. Someone sell me on it?
5. The Cutest Accents Ever
This is my favorite part. My grandpa lives in Louisville, Kentucky, so to me, Southern accents have always been Kentucky accents. I can pick out a Louisville accent anywhere. My grandpa jokes that the words tire, tower and tar are all pronounced exactly the same — tar, tar and tar.
It turns out the Virginia accent is much softer, and really adorable. At the bus stop one morning one of the little girls said to her mom, “Mommy, [she] won’t let me have a go!” I stopped right in my tracks. “A go”? STAHHHP IT! Too precious.
Also, I’ve learned that “y’all’s” is a word. Now, I knew about y’all, but this one is new to me. “Y’all’s” shows possession. For example, “I like y’all’s car” or “y’all’s friend is coming over”. In other regions, we would use the word….wait for it… “your”. Except saying y’all’s is much cuter, especially when said by a small child. Southern children are ridiculously precious and polite with their “yes ma’am” that they are saying not in the least bit sarcastically.
What else am I missing? What things are very “Virginian” that I’m yet to discover? And what weird Midwestern things am I doing/saying that I don’t even know is weird?