Anyway, that’s just one of the things that I’m getting used to and most of them really are good. The lifestyle down here has encouraged me to embark on a lot of personal self-improvement projects. My facial muscles are getting a real workout with all the smiling I’ve been doing. See, in the south, you smile. No matter whether it’s raining frogs or life is spitting in your oatmeal, you smile, because at the end of the day, even if you have nothing else to show for it, you can hold your head high knowing that you met the day with a good attitude.
Another thing I’ve been increasing my stamina on is patience. It’s not that life in the south is truly any slower (goodness knows I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off) but there is a kind of pacing issue that I’ve noticed. Things like when the light turns green and it takes a good ten or more seconds for that first car to actually proceed through the intersection. At first I was like, AHHHH! GO! but didn’t dare honk the horn because no one else was doing it. After a while of hair-pulling (and always being just a smidge late for everything) I realized this lack of a lead-feet was all for a reason. In the south we don’t rush our neighbors and we look out for each other too. And well that person in the front of the line who isn’t zooming on to the next light? They’re just looking out for that neighbor who is most likely coming from the other direction because, see, slamming on the brakes is a big no-no down here too, which means that at least one, probably two cars are going to go through that red light! Slow and methodical wins the race, right? ;-)
All that aside, I think the most amazing lesson I’ve learned down here is more of a re-learning of a very important life lesson. And that’s to take time to stop and enjoy those little miracles of life. The funny thing is that those miracles are oftentimes things that I never really thought much of before or worse, considered more of a headache than a miracle. Want an example? Well how about this: SNOW. Yup, that’s right, we had almost 4 inches of snow this last weekend. Our first real snowfall in two winters of being here. And where before a “major snowstorm” would mean hours on end shoveling driveways and sidewalks, and even more lugging more firewood up to the house from the barn, this time the event was met with a contagious sort of enthusiasm that even me, a jaded, grumbly adult couldn’t ignore. Down here that much snow is nothing short of a miracle. And when that sort of miracle comes your way you don’t worry about the shoveling or feeding the fire to dry out the many, many wet hats and gloves that your children are going to go through. You just smile, blow up that inter-tube usually reserved for the pool (they make great sleds too!) and head down to the only real hill in the neighborhood and hang out with a bunch of your neighbors as your kids all laugh and play in the snow.
How about you? What are some of the quaint customs in your neck of the woods that are different from other parts of the country/world?