Her Story: What It's Like to Move from France to SC

I lived in France for 21 years before coming to the US for an exchange program at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina and 'y'all' (haha) … it was a shock!

Here are the 9 things that had me shook during the first few months of my time here. 


1. Deep fried EVERYTHING

I can't say that I wasn't aware that things were being fried in the US before I got here. But the spectrum of things that people fry wasn't something my brain had conceived yet. Deep-fried Oreos wasn't such a shock, but when I discovered deep-fried butter or deep-fried beer… I think that marks the moment I started to realize what it was all about. And still, I don't understand; what's the deal with frying everything?


2. 'Y'all' and the Southern accents

Having said "you guys" forever, and all my previous experiences of the states having been in the North, the accent was a shock! I don't think I would have figured on my own what "Y'all" meant if the international center hadn't made sure we knew before letting us out. I deeply apologize to the first person with an accent I met because I know my eyes might have open out of proportion. I am still trying to figure out what it was she was saying though… 


3. Saying "see you later"

French might be a very flourished language, but when it comes to communication I feel like we tend to be a little more straightforward. The first few times someone said "see you later" to me I straight panicked and tried to figure out if I had plans with this person that I somehow had forgotten. I figured out way too late that it was just a way to say Goodbye.


4. "Bless your heart"

I really thought people were being nice when really they were condescendingly roasting whoever they were talking about. Bless my poor little heart on this one. 


5. Churches!

Please do not look down on my country for this, but there is clearly less religion in France than there is in only one district of South Carolina. So the concentration of churches in Rock Hill was odd to me.  Although it wasn't until last fall I realized the breadth religion has here, when I was confronted with a drive-in Nativity. I will not change my mind on the following statement: you cannot be more Southern and American on this one. 


6. Bumper stickers

 Driving in the US in traffic and looking at all the bumper stickers people have is like looking through your Facebook feed. I do not care to know your opinion about this and that, but here it is. 


7. Ma'am

You have to understand that before I arrived here, my closest experience with the South of the US was the movie "The Help". And for me, saying "ma'am" was the utmost of the maid's submission to their boss. Turns out it's polite here! Mind blown. 


8. There's a pill for everything!

Like there are Churches for all the tastes, there is also a pill for all of the aches! It is quite a paradox to me that without a functioning health care system (yes, I said it!) there is such a reflex to take medicines for anything. Too much procrastination this week and 2 papers due tomorrow? Adderall! Too much stress? Xanax! I have been prescribed more pills for things I wouldn't consider treatable by drugs than in my entire life. The shock is real. 


9. Sweet tea

Imagine this: me, sitting in a diner, grabbing some brunch with friends. The waitress asks me what I want to drink: "A tea please". And she brings me an enormous glass of iced tea, with a ton of ice! I was asking for hot tea, but the fact that I should be more precise had never even come close to my mind. 


I've now adapted a bit and I've learned my way around all those weird things. And I can say for sure, I love the South! Y'all rock!

Collegiettes, have you guys experienced anything similar?