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My Culture Shock

Updated on June 2, 2012
Welcome home!
Welcome home! | Source

North and South in my own Livingroom!

6 years ago I moved from Tennessee to Michigan with my Husband. This is my story of how the 2 cultures came to clash in our own home!

I was born in Georgia. I lived most of my life in Tennessee. I am a Southern Girl! What, you may ask, brought me to Michigan? Well, let me tell you, every winter as I look at 2 to 3 feet of snow on the ground daring me to make it to work, I ask myself that very same question!

I dearly love the South and I miss the mountains of Tennessee everyday, but I am adapting to life here on Lake Huron as well! Southern hospitality can be a 'harsh mistress' at times, which is what led me here, I met my husband in Tennessee while he was down with his mother who lives there now. I was convinced of love at first sight when I saw him and all bets were off thereafter! Little did I know his home was the U.P. (or upper penninsula) of Michigan! Shortly after we met, he moved in with me.

We went on hurricaine relief after 'Katrina' desimated New Orleans. During that time I had learned much about the love of my life including where he was from, as well as how the southern spirit can bite you in the rear as well! We were not paid as we were supposed to be,( prompting a future hub, beware of relief contractors!) and while we were there my landlord assumed I had abandoned my home, sold all my belongings, and re-rented my home. We had nowhere to go. That's when my husband said those words that put a chill in me, literally! "Why don't we go up to Michigan. My family is there and we will make a fresh start."

I'm sorry.... did you say 'make' it fresh? Hell, Everything here stays fresh! It's so cold most of the year, a freezer is a frivolous investment! I will never forget arriving! It was Thanksgiving week and it had already snowed! That particular snow lasted 'till after Easter! I wasn't even sure there was grass here! I spent most of that winter getting around on my rear-end or hanging off someone's arm! Driving was OUT OF THE QUESTION! I was from Tennessee. If it snowed there, we waited 'till after noon for the roads to clear before we went out! I rarely drove in snow yet I was soon to learn! Northern ways-1 Southern girl-0.

I have to laugh remembering my father's favorite phrase; "It'll be a clod day in July before I'll ever........" . The first summer of my 'acclimation' we lived right across the road from Lake Huron and had a wonderful view of the 4th of July fireworks show the town hosted on the shores of the lake. It was a fantastic show...... which we watched in the front yard.... around a bonfire.... wearing coats and sweatshirts.... I kept thinking "Daddy, you'd be awfully busy this year doing all those 'cold day in July' activities"! Northern ways-2 Southern girl-0.

Ice fishing. Now there's a concept I can't quite wrap my brain around! The closest I ever came to ice-fishing was pulling the day's catch out of the ice-chest to clean them or picking the best cuts from the ice in the grocer's display! Why in God's name would anyone go out in the freezing cold, on freezing ice, cut a hole under themselves; (did you get that? a hole in the ice RIGHT UNDER YOU!) and try to catch fish! I understand that there are those that put a 'shanty'; a tiny little shack that, for all the world, looks like an outhouse; and take a portable heater with them! I'm sorry...... in my southern-fried mind if you are sitting on ice with a hole already in it, haet would NOT be your best friend! But there they are, every year, and absolutely none of them melted themselves through the ice! Northern ways-3 Southern girl-0.

Cross country skiing is another sport I was introduced to here, also one I am not culterally equipped to handle! Apparently you basically strap short skis to your feet and with the aid of poles, walk-glide down a trail. I am still trying to master walking on my own feet in winter, I don't think I will strap on modified fence posts! All the better to impale yourself my dear! Northern ways-4 Southern girl-0.

I am enjoying the sense of community here though, at least the warm, indoors part of the community! I had never heard of a 'Spaghetti Benefit' before I got here. This is a social function where a large spaghetti dinner has been prepared and attendants pay, usually, $5.00 a plate. These are held to help a member or family of the community who is in need or facing a particular hardship. (the one i attended was for a cancer patient and his family to help raise money for extra costs such as travel for treatment.) There are also 'auctions' or raffles where all the items are donated and all the money from the ticket sales as well as the dinner goes to the sponsered family. I found this one northern tradition I could really get behind! It was a very moving experience to see all 'classes' of people in the community put aside their own troubles and worries for one night to come together in a heartfelt outpouring of generosity, giving as much or as little as they could to help one of their own! Northern ways-4 Southern girl-1.

Ok...... Here's one I know I can't possibly be alone in, or can I? Paul Bunyon! I have heard of him in stories growing up, but it was never as huge then as it seems to be now. This area is rich in logging history. That was the foundation on which this area was built. There is just one problem. This area calls itself the 'birthplace of Paul Bunyon'. Why is that a problem, you ask? Well very simply, I have tracked 6 other towns making the same exact claim from Maine to Wisconsin! I know Paul was a big man, but I dont think he was quite THAT big! Who knows! Competition aside, the statue is pretty cool (that's because it's outside! It would warmer inside!) and the Paul Bunyon Festival every year is amazing! I just can't get into the heated rivalry of defending the birthplace claim. pardon the pun, but I don't think it's that "big" of a deal! Northern ways-5 Southern girl-1.

As I sit here in total amazement at just how many things I have put down here and at how long this is becoming, I have decided to leave the count at Northern ways-5 Southern girl-1 for now. I could fill 5 more pages with my "Adventures in Northland", but for now I will simply wait, as my poor husband keeps introducing me to new and unusual northern activities and traditions! I think the next hub wil include more of how vexing I have been to him in my southern ways and how I continue to confuse him with Black-eyed-peas on New Years Day!!

There are sooooo very many more entries to the 'Culture Shock' diaries, I just want to see if you have enjoyed this one first! I love writing and making people smile! If I have done that for you, PLEASE leave a comment! I'm having so much fun putting these entries together and, let's face it, no-one can poke fun at a southerner quite as accurately as a southerner! Especially a dislocated, out-of-my-element one as myself! I will be continuing to keep score Keep smiling and I hope to hear from ya'll soon!

A 'snowman'!
A 'snowman'! | Source
Winter | Source
Winter | Source
The Road!
The Road! | Source


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    • profile image

      Colleen Nieman 

      6 years ago

      I am so glad you came up here and I got to know you. Although if you want more cultural diversity - we will have to take trips overseas... there are a few places I would love to introduce you to.

    • profile image

      Teresa Sampson 

      6 years ago

      This is great I have lived my whole life in TN. Very Good story about the different places in the world I sorry your so cold. Come Visit Tn some time it good and warm here right now.This is a great story keep it up. Waiting to hear more.

    • profile image

      Tracy Dearing Colodny 

      6 years ago

      That was awesome Julie and loved the pictures of the abdomidle snow Issac..that was funny...keep up the stories love to read them

    • JenPaxton profile image

      Jen Paxton 

      6 years ago from Missouri

      You poor, poor woman! I did something similar. California to Missouri. Why, you ask? I had relatives here (not anymore, oddly), and I was mistakenly thinking it would be nice to have four seasons. First winter was fun. Second and third winters were nothing but ice storms. I'm so done. I can't imagine living farther north than here, I'd die. Yours was Paul Bunyon, mine was Daniel Boone. Everything here is Boone this, Boone that. Even met a guy with the first name of Boone. You got spaghetti benefits, and we never had a fish fry growing up, but you can't turn a corner here without seeing a sign for one "this friday".

      I DEFINITELY understand the culture shock.

      Very entertaining. Voted up, and funny'd. Keep up the good work, and I hope you stay warm! Can't wait to read the next one!


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