Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Top 12 Things I Miss About the South

I've been up here long enough to start missing some things about the South. Of course, there are definitely some things I will miss about New York once I leave, but I'll save that for another post. Here's why I love the South...

1. My family, friends and community. This one goes without saying.
2. Lakes and pools.
  • There aren't any lakes up here, and if there were, I don't know that it would be safe to swim in them. There's no telling what's in there. 
  • There are public pools, but it's a very different experience. Lots of rules are involved. First off, you have to buy a lock (or bring your own) for the locker, and then lock all your belongings up. You aren't usually allowed to bring in food. You can bring a towel, your keys, your phone and a book. No electronics are allowed on the pool deck (i.e. iPod and phone). I haven't been yet, but I've heard they are somewhat crowded and many people lay out on the concrete due to the lack of chairs. 
3. Chick-fil-a.
  • Yes, this deserves the number three spot on my list. It maybe should have been number two. Apparently, there is a Chick-fil-a in the NYU food court, but I haven't tried it out yet. Of course, they don't make any of the food there, but it might be better than nothing. 
4. The convenience of having a washer and dryer.
  • People don't have washers in dryers in their apartments. A few might, but the majority don't.  I'm very fortunate to have a laundry room in the basement of my building, but many New Yorkers have to lug their clothes to a laundromat to do laundry. I used the word "lug" on purpose because plenty of apartment buildings are without elevators (not mine), and you may have to walk a few blocks to a nearby laundromat. 
5. A dishwasher.
  • Again, not many apartments are equipped with a dishwasher. I've lived without a dishwasher before, and it's not a huge deal, but it's a very nice thing to have :)
6. Home cooked meals.
  • Both of my parents are great cooks, and my Dad loves to make gourmet meals on the weekends. My mom always keeps me in the loop about the new recipes he tests out, and it makes me want to be there so bad. I enjoy cooking, but cooking for one person isn't always the easiest or most convenient thing when you have a small kitchen and don't get home until seven or later every night. Let's just say I lack my usual inspiration up here. New York does that to you. I usually cook once or twice a week and will make a big meal that will supply me with plenty of leftovers. 
7. A car. However, there are pros and cons to the subway. 
  • Pros: It's nice to be able to read everyday on my way to work. My commute is about 40 minutes, and this is very normal for New Yorkers. Unless you happen to live within walking distance of your job, most people have a thirty minute to hour long commute regardless of where you live. I only live five or six miles from work, but I still have a nice little commute. 
  • Cons: While I enjoy not having to drive 40 minutes, there are definitely some down sides to the subway. No matter where I go, I always allow myself 20 minutes to go somewhere, even if it's just one or two stops away. You never know how long you'll have to wait for the train, so you always want to give yourself plenty of time. When I'm traveling to and from work, I rarely have to wait more than two or three minutes, but the trains run less frequently on nights and weekends. This is when I really miss the convenience of being able to hop in my car and drive to the grocery store a mile down the road. 
8. The cost of living.
  • Don't even get me started about how much everyone pays in rent up here. Unless you're super rich, no one owns any real estate. If you want to live anywhere in Manhattan, you either need to a) be okay with having a tiny little apartment - I'm talking a bedroom the size of a walk-in closet or b) be willing to fork up a good bit of money. This means a minimum of $1200 a month - and that's with several roommates. 
  • Food can be a bit pricier as well, especially when eating out. I've done my research and found several places I can eat at without paying a ton, but you can end up spending a lot on food if you're not careful. The main grocery stores people go to are Whole Foods and Trader Joe's, and Trader Joe's has a reputation of being the cheapest grocery store in the city. There are a few supermarkets, but nothing near as big as Bi-Lo, Publix, Ingles, etc. The supermarkets tend to be a little on the pricier side. 
9. The work-life balance. 
  • As a whole, Americans are known for not being able to relax and disconnect. It's SO much worse up here. It might not like this in all professions, but corporate culture up here is very intense. People definitely work hard in the South, but for New Yorkers, work is their life. I honestly don't know how they balance it all. 
10. Southern gentlemen.
  • First off, New Yorkers aren't rude, regardless of any stereotypes associated with "Yankees." It's just different up here. I don't think people are always aware of their surroundings. Everyone's worried about where they need to be and are lost in thoughts of their own. That being said, I definitely miss always having the door opened for me. There are also many times that I'm standing on the subway and can't help but wish one of the many men around me would give up their seat. Or give up their seat for the elderly lady standing up. Those kinds of things wouldn't happen in the South. But like I said, it's just different up here. People don't expect to have the door opened for them. They don't expect someone to give up their seat on the subway. But that's okay. It's not looked at as an insult up here, it's just their way of life, and you have to accept that.
11. Fresh air.
  • New York is full of all kinds of smells, and not all of them are great. I can't wait to breathe the fresh, albeit humid, air down South. 
12. Cleanliness.
  • You just can't think about all the germs floating around up here or you'll drive yourself crazy. The sidewalks are far from clean. I don't want to know how many people have touched the bars in the subway. Like I said, you can't think about it.
And there you have it! I'll post a list of things I'll miss about New York soon! 

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