19 Things All Northern Kids Who Grew Up In The South Understand


1. You wore flip flops until mid-November, which consistently confused your southern-born friends. In their world, fifty-five degrees was freezing.

2. You nodded smugly when your northern cousins finally caught on to the phenomenon that was Chick-fil-A fast food, because you had already been enjoying it for years.

3. It may have not been this way in the beginning, but sweet tea and water are now one and the same to you.  

4. The first time the word “ya’ll” slipped out of your mouth, you were completely terrified. Your friends, on the other hand, could not contain their glee.

5. Sometimes you still find yourself saying “Yes, mam” to any woman who is older than you, whether she’s twenty-nine or eighty-four. It was such a common practice where you grew up that it was accidentally engrained into your brain, no matter how hard you resisted.

6. Some of the biggest gossip in your teenage years came from what went down at your friends’ cotillions – which you always attended, and never participated in.

7. Snow days were a joke. The first time your mom woke you up to tell you school was canceled because it was “too cold,” you thought she was messing with you.

8. …You actually had to go downstairs, turn on the news, and wait for your school to show up on the bottom feed before you were convinced that your parents weren’t pranking you.

9. If it ever did “snow” where you lived, you threw on your Northface fleece and maybe some gloves and ran outside to play. And then you had to wait an extra twenty minutes for all your friends to put on snow pants, hats, scarves, mittens, face masks, hand warmers, and a million other layers in order to survive playing in thirty degree weather. This was life or death to them.

10. The most “wintery” activity you and your friends did was have a bonfire in someone’s backyard in the middle of January. But eventually everybody else went inside because the mid-forties were too cold.

11. Because Coca Cola’s headquarters are in Atlanta, it took you a while to understand that ‘a coke’ could mean any type of soda in the south. Southerns used the word ‘coke’ as a synonym for pop, rather than being specific about an actual glass of Coca-Cola Coke.

12. If you went back up north for college, everybody asked you where your accent went when you told them you were “from” the south.

13. The bread and milk aisles were always completely cleaned out at the grocery store whenever there was a slight, slight chance of light snowfall.

14. You went through a mourning period for all the flannel you used to be able to wear and would now sweat through.

15. There was a long transition period where you had to learn that some of your friends’ moms went by “Miss Karen” or “Miss Elizabeth” instead of “Mrs. Jones” or “Mrs. Smith.”

16. The ‘snowstorm’ that paralyzed Atlanta a couple years ago would have been hilarious to you if it hadn’t been so damn ridiculous.

17. After being away from the north for long enough, you honestly forgot that most people cared about other sports besides football.

18. You still remember when your sixth grade bestie excitedly said, “I think we might get an inch of snow!” and you thought That’s cute.

19. If your parents still live in the south, you can’t resist making fun of them when they complain on the phone that it’s “chilly.” Sometimes, you lose it for a minute. “CHILLY?! YOU DON’T KNOW CHILLY ANYMORE.” TC mark

Kim Quindlen

I'm a staff writer for Thought Catalog. I like comedy and improv. I live in Chicago. My Uber rating is just okay.

Trace the scars life has left you. It will remind you that at one point, you fought for something. You believed.

“You are the only person who gets to decide if you are happy or not—do not put your happiness into the hands of other people. Do not make it contingent on their acceptance of you or their feelings for you. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter if someone dislikes you or if someone doesn’t want to be with you. All that matters is that you are happy with the person you are becoming. All that matters is that you like yourself, that you are proud of what you are putting out into the world. You are in charge of your joy, of your worth. You get to be your own validation. Please don’t ever forget that.” — Bianca Sparacino

Excerpted from The Strength In Our Scars by Bianca Sparacino.

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  • Lala Simon

    You’re in Atlanta?! I live here, too. Were you here for that storm?! It was HORRIBLE! Sweet god, it was SO BAD. It WOULD have been funny if you weren’t THERE.

  • http://dirtdaubber.wordpress.com dirtdaubber

    My hubs is from Wisconsin. He relates.

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