Monday, July 11, 2011

Thought you should know

As we continue to try to adjust to our new surroundings, I thought I would share some insight for my Southern friends. Below is a list of things that Clint and I have found different from the South and what we were use to. (Note: While this list may apply to other areas, I am only referring to Annapolis and the immediate surrounding area.)
1) TN Recognition
Just about everyone who has asked me where we are from (because of our accent) has themselves or knows someone who lives in TN. I have really been surprised when I tell folks and then they ask what part. Even more surprised when they know of Kingsport, Knoxville, Murfreesboro or Jackson. (Not holding my breath from Rockwood though!)
2) Sunday, Another day of the weekend
Whether or not you attend church on Sunday mornings or not, if you live in the South, you can probably still relate to the fact that many businesses are closed or have limited hours (most in observance of the Lord's Day). Well here, Sunday seems like just another Saturday. One of the first Sundays we had here we passed a school on the way to church. We were quite curious to know why there were so many cars and people filling up the lots. You can imagine our surprise to see a lacrosse tournament occurring on about 6 different fields. And, apparently this happens on most Sunday mornings. That was our first realization that we weren't in the Bible Belt anymore Toto! And, you don't have to worry about stores being closed on Sundays here. Nope, you can just about guarantee any and everything will be open, with regular hours.
3) One check or two?
Okay, this has to be the biggest shocker for us. News flash: if paying separately for your meal at a restaurant, don't assume they will split up the check. Most likely they will not ask and in many places they won't do it at all! We are so conditioned to the waiter or waitress asking, "Will this be on one check or two," that we didn't even consider the alternative. We learned this fact when our neighbors invited us to dinner with a group of people. We went to a nice place that had pretty high menu prices (as per usual here). We ordered conservatively once we saw the prices...we are on a budget, or so I thought! Food was great, but once it was time for the check, it was handed to our neighbor who busted out the phone calculator. It did cross my mind that it was a little odd that he didn't start distributing separate bills. He then did a quick average of the meal by the number of paying couples. We each paid the same amount. Okay, here is where Clint and I exchanged glances. Of course neither one of us would have said anything for fear of being labeled cheap (although I probably can be). So, we ended up paying for the guy at the end of the table's expensive steak and the other couples bottles of wine. We thought this only happened because it was such a large group. However, a few weeks later, it was confirmed, thanks to a small group lunch with my co-workers, that this was common practice. Lesson learned! No more ordering water to drink or appetizers for a meal. And, after talking with my administrative assistant, who is from NC, I'm glad to know we aren't the only Southerners taken aback by this. She said when she first moved here, her husband had it out with a manager of a restaurant who told him they did not separate bills and would only do it for them this one time but never again.

Hmm, well now ya know!