My story doesn't begin in the South ... or anywhere close for that matter. It starts in California, where I was born and lived until my 13th birthday (literally). I was born in Concord, California ... a small town near the bay. I then spent the next 13 years moving throughout the Central Valley, never staying in one place for too long. I spent a majority of my time on my grandparents' farm, riding horses and showing cows, playing sports, or vacationing around the state. My family (all of it - extended and everything) and I have always been very close, something that has continued to define me.
Right before I turned 13, my parents put our house on the market. I prayed and prayed and prayed that it wouldn't sell ... but it did, 4 days later, before the sign was even put in our front yard. My parents had no idea where they wanted to move and so they bought a book, called the Places Rated Almanac. Raleigh was rated top 5 in every category, and so our Spring Break that year constituted of visiting North Carolina. The end result: we bought a house, and on June 23rd (my birthday) we packed our U-haul and left California to embark on a 5-day journey to Raleigh, North Carolina. With 2 cats, 2 dogs, 4 people and 1 cockroach on the ceiling ... let's just say that it was an interesting trip.
We finally moved into our house on July 7th and spent the first night eating pizza on lawn chairs in the living room ... if that isn't redneck, I don't know what is.
On my first day of 8th grade, I walked in late ... great way to get noticed ... and was instantly greeted by a tall, lanky boy wearing a plaid, flannel button down and a crisp Southern accent. My first thoughts were, "Who is this crazy redneck?" and, "What has my family gotten me into?" Needless to say, by the end of the year, that "Redneck boy" became my best friend and also my 8th grade crush.
Moving from California to North Carolina was a huge culture shock for me. Going from a place where Mexican food was a norm to a place where people ate bar-be-que rather than had one, and drank tea with immense amounts of sugar in it, was a huge adjustments. California consisted of a 1/2 white, 1/2 Hispanic population where North Carolina was the complete opposite - 1/2 white, 1/2 African American. The only African Americans that I knew in California were the family who attended my small, Reformed Christian public school and the boy who hung out across the street from my house whose afro I was dared to touch (it was one of the softest things that I have ever felt.) Not only that, but the way people spoke, their constant friendliness and those accents all threw me for a loop!
Almost 7 years later, after attending high school here and now attending the University of North Carolina, I embrace the Southern Culture and Southern Tradition as if it were my own.
More to come soon!