When you do decide to move to a new area, one of the most important things you can find yourself is a local. Not that I’m suggesting you make a special effort to seek out some random person, but that you allow yourself to reach out (period).
Being from the northeast, we don’t reach out unless there’s an emergency or if we’re trying to look like we’re doing something community-centric. More times than not it doesn’t resonate through as pure.
I met my personal local purchasing home owners insurance. I needed some direction and advice about my new area. Quite honestly, I didn’t know who to call. While my contractor was delightful and always willing to offer some info, I needed something more – a woman’s voice with anecdotal insights.
I decided to go outside of my comfort zone, dive in, and put myself out there. I had a bunch of questions and really needed someone who could answer them. Hey wouldn’t I do the same for someone who was moving to my area? Knowing women need women, I put a detailed email together and pushed send.
Little did I know that she’d become one of my most cherished friends. Nor did I realize, something or someone bigger than both of us was guiding us to this inevitable friendship.
Shortly after meeting, our journey took a serious turn and forged a a special, private bond that will never be broken. We took up the flag and started a crusade against something much bigger than us. We saw it through and realized an unfortunate, untimely end may have been a beginning.
Based on where you’re from, you don’t hear or perceive your own colloquialisms. We never really lose our penchant for expression. Rather we just adapt and change it to where we are. For instance, in New Jersey when you refer to a group of people you would use ‘you guys’. In the south, as we’re all aware, it’s ‘ya’ll’. Did we ever consider that the English language already offers up ‘you’ as a single and a plural? A simple ‘you’ envelopes everyone.
Here is some of the new local lingo I’ve recently added to my vocabulary. A large male crab is referred to as a number 1. However, I was informed that, locally, a large male crab is called a jimmy. I was told if I ever refer to them as number ones, I wouldn’t be spoken to again! So, when catching, cleaning, eating, cooking or referring to large male crabs, it’s a jimmy.
On another occasion I read a post that baffled me. It was a conjunction of the pronoun, I, and a bunch of ‘ves’. Everyone on the thread was giggling and laughing about the phrase. Obviously, there was some type of communication going on but I couldn’t get it no matter how many times I tried. I just couldn’t pronounce it.
It was typed ‘I’d’ve’. When saying it, one would simply swallow and gargle at the same time. That’s how this sounds. But you would actually use it when saying something like ‘I would have’. It’s simply a southern short cut. I’m practicing daily in the mirror.
The one that stands out and I enjoy the most is sun dog. I noticed one day over the creek a rainbow inside a cloud. A phenomena I’d never experienced. I put it up on my Instagram page immediately and hashtagged it #rainbowcloud. My phone blew up within moments with the message ‘that’s a sun dog’. I just got another vocabulary lesson. A what? ‘It means the weather is changing’. I simply saw it as something different and beautiful. A rainbow inside a cloud – no beginning, no arch and no pot of gold. A surprise of nature’s beauty inside of something familiar. Live and learn.
Another great weather expression here is ‘March is a drunk’. After a little thought, I figured this one out on my own. It simply describes the differences in the weather. Hot one day, cold the next. Sorta someone who is drunk – happy one minute and crying the next.
How Do You Spot One?
The point is aligning yourself with someone native to the area is critical not only for learning more about your new community but for knowing something as simple as where to go and eat.
Be sure they have a solid local knowledge of their area, or be sure one of their relatives does, so you can get the real scoop when needed. Do a test first. Drive by a field and ask…what are they growing here? If they don’t respond immediately or have to check with someone else, you may want to consider a different local. Most folks around these parts are happy to help and share what they know. It’s really amazing.
But here’s the deal, ideally, if you’re lucky, like me, you’ll find yourself an actual sundog – remember, it’s a phenomena. They’re different and special like rainbows in clouds.