After announcing to our family, close friends, and previous employers in March that we’d be moving to Augusta, Ga., in the late April/early May timeframe, we received an outpouring of support and positive comments about the area and its people.
Some also suggested that this move would not just be a move but a shift. A shift in lifestyle. A shift in mindset. A shift in values. So, in preparation for our migration, I read up on what I was about to face. I came across this [hilarious] article: http://www.wikihow.com/Become-a-Southern-Belle. After living here for going on three months, I still can’t decide if it’s serious or satirical. Here are six things that I’ve learned about living in the south of which I am certain:
1. What “God bless your heart” really means: “Aww… YOU’RE AN IDIOT.” A couple people whom I met in Augusta at different times and places warned me about this condescending remark after learning that I’m new to the south, so it must be essential information.
2. We may not have traffic in Augusta, except for the “traffic” on Washington Road, but it takes more time to get places because of how spread out everything is.
In case you’re wondering what I’m talking about, here’s a comparison of the traffic in Greater Augusta and Metropolitan Washington, D.C., during morning rush hour, a little after 8:30 a.m. today:
While it took an hour to drive seven miles to work, in Metropolitan Washington, D.C., I took for granted the convenient location of our condo in Arlington, Va.; we lived practically behind our grocery store, my fitness center and nail salon, and a Starbucks. However, I love my car, and now I actually get to enjoy driving it!
3. I hesitate to type this for fear of jinxing myself, but here goes… Despite the warm temperatures in Augusta, everywhere I go, I’m freezing – even at home, where I have control of the thermostat. I distinctly recall having our thermostat in Arlington set on 73 degrees, on average, and always bumping it down during the summertime. We’ve consistently had our thermostat in Augusta set on 76 degrees, and I’m always cold! I’m not complaining – just noting something for those who told me to brace myself for a Georgia summer, as well as my friends whom I hope will visit: Georgia’s heat has nothin’ on Metropolitan Washington, D.C.’s humidity. Here’s to hoping that our air conditioner continues to do its job!
4. People who exist outside of the Metropolitan Washington, D.C., aren’t necessarily nicer; they’re just more spread out. That being said, people who live in Metropolitan Washington, D.C., aren’t necessarily ruder. Being crammed in a small space – a Metro train car, for instance – with strangers doesn’t bring out the best in anyone.
5. People work just as hard and long in Augusta as people in Metropolitan Washington, D.C. A slower pace doesn’t mean less of a work ethic or passion. This leads me to wonder if work style – not work ethic – is more of an east coast/west coast thing than a north/south thing.
6. People here seem to be happy where they are in life. As someone who used to always look into the future and struggled with enjoying the present, this is exactly what I need, and it’s already helping me. For the first time in my life, I’m enjoying where I am and not planning the next step.