Well folks, we have been in PA for a month now (WOW!), and I just wanted to write about my initial observations about this foreign land. It is so funny how crossing 5 state lines can bring about such a different way of life. Okay, so things aren't THAT different, but my Okie ways are imbedded into my bloodstream, so any little difference is a big difference! And the further north you travel, my how things change. I think I've murmured, "Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore" 72 times over the past month. Haha!
* The biggest difference I have noticed is overall friendliness. Now don't get me wrong, people are nice enough, but I come from Oklahoma. Where people are chatty. And super friendly.
I was wandering around somewhere in New York the other day and needed directions. I was literally in no mans land and I saw a man standing outside his little eatery, and I stopped to ask him which way to go.
"That way. You'll see a sign."
"So, do I just keep going down this road? How far? Is there more than one sign? Is it big? Will I miss it?"
"Nope. You'll see a sign. That way."
"About a mile."
Nice enough. But not what I'm used to. In Oklahoma it would go a little something like this,
"Yeaaaahh! When you pull out of here turn left and go down the road a little ways until you pass the big red barn. When you see the barn you are almost there. It's a beautiful barn - my cousin owns it. Stop by there if you get a chance, they sell the best blueberry preserves there. Tell them Ralph sent ya and maybe you'll get a complimentary loaf of homemade bread! It's a 87 year old recipe - can't be beat! But yes, there are signs that you can't miss - there might actually be a couple. Just keep going down this road and in about a mile and a half you'll be there. Here. Actually, let me just jump in my truck and drive down and show you. Follow me!"
Hahaha! No, but seriously ... that is the type of stuff I'm used to.
Also, my very friendly 5 year old is having a hard time getting through to the cashiers around here. He chats them up at every store and tells them where we are from and that we are new to town and we get blank stares almost every time. And then they look at me like, "why is your kid talking to me?" Oh, it infuriates me. Please just answer my child. He's a conversationalist, never met a stranger, and he just wants to talk!
The other day we were checking out a Target and Levi strikes up a conversation. Much to my surprise, the lady starts talking his leg off, telling him stories, listening to his, and engaging my precious son! Oh, I was so happy! And shocked! Then he proceeded to tell her we were from Oklahoma and she nearly had a heart attack, telling us she was from Lawton, Oklahoma. And then it all made sense. :)
So yeah, the people are nice. They're just not real FRIENDLY. There's a difference!
* STYROFOAM CUPS.
Heaven help me, I can't find a styrofoam cup to save my life.
I need a Route 44 unsweet ice tea from Sonic in THE WORST way, and there is no substitute around here. And all the cups are plastic. And plastic sweats. I can't even handle it. I finally found one the other day in a gas station when I drove by and saw a sign for the styrofoam cups. I whipped in there as fast as I could. The sign read "Polar Pop! Stays cold longer!" It's as if styrofoam is a new and novel concept here and I just can't understand. I mean, what's going on?!
* Tex Mex.
There is none. There are a couple good authentic mexican restaurants in town which I'm happy to have, but sometimes I just need me some good old fashioned Tex Mex. With yellow queso. *sigh*
Oh, and my dad ordered a side of queso at Taco Bell when he was here and they legitimately did NOT know what he meant. They had never heard of it. Where am I???
* Not every place has brewed tea. I can't grasp this concept either. "We have tea, but it's not the brewed tea. And it's flavored and sweet." Um.... I'm in the North! Tea should NEVER be sweet here!
Clearly, I have tea issues.
* There are donuts everywhere. Krispy Kreme, Dunkin Donuts, Tim Hortons ... it's seriously a donut haven.
* The churches don't have Sunday School! Every church we have visited or found online - doesn't have Sunday School. Again, I don't get it. The church we found offers Bible study groups in the morning before worship, so at least there's that. But hmmm.... I do not want Sunday School to become a thing of the past! Up here it seems to be. Also, it's 85% Catholic here. Protestant churches are few and far between. Toto, we're not in the Bible Belt anymore.
* The speed limits are SLOW. They are about to increase the limit to 70 on two stretches of highway up here and everyone is up in ARMS about it. Most highway limits are between 55 and 65 here. Nothing more. I'm used to getting on an interstate and going no less than 75 so this is weird for me.
So, you guys, these are the biggest differences that have stuck out at me so far. I think I'll spend my energy this year bringing brewed tea in styrofoam, yellow queso, Sunday School, faster speed limits, and conversation between strangers to this place. Ready, set, OKIFY! :)