It's official! My family has moved from Indiana to Mississippi! This is the 5th state I have lived in and so far it is a surprising contender for one of my favorites. I have already caught myself comparing it to my beloved favorite, Iowa. Each state that I have lived holds a special place. Iowa was where I found music therapy, my faith AND my husband! So you can understand why it is a favorite! Wisconsin was where it all started and I spent the first 23 years of my life! I have lifelong friends in Wisconsin and also most of my family is there. David and I lived in Southern California for about 6-7 years and also made some lifelong friendships there as well as some amazing adventures. And Indiana was where we bought our first home and had our babies along with some wonderful friends. I always thought at some point David and I would move our family back to Iowa where we first met and also got engaged but now that we are here in Oxford I am not so sure!
What I love about Oxford, MS so far:
The people! Hands down this is the difference from most other places I have lived. Don't get me wrong, there were certainly nice people in the other states I have lived. But no where have we been where people say hi to you every where you go. Every neighbor gives you a wave as you drive or walk through the neighborhood. People are continually making EYE contact and smiling and saying hello and are very welcoming. I used to think that was a midwest thing, but I really have to say that southerners really do this so much more from the experiences we have had so far. I do remember Fr. Ed at the Newman center in Iowa City saying he could always tell the students who weren't from Iowa at the start of the semester because they looked freaked out by everyone making eye contact and smiling on the street. That is kind of how I feel here at times! lol
|My boys on the square with William Faukner, who lived in Oxford.|
We were at JCP the other day ordering drapes for my youngest's bedroom so maybe just maybe he would sleep past 7am. The woman helping us was so nice. We started talking about how we just moved here and I mentioned how nice everyone was. She mentioned how she went to visit her dad who lives in the north and the people were not nice to her at all! I was sad to hear her say this because she was so sweet, but I was absolutely shocked when I asked where in the north he lives and she said MILWAUKEE!!!!! Gah! That happens to be near my home town…
That made me wonder, has it been like this all the time and my perception is just different since I grew up in the midwest? Or are people changing slowly over time? Are things like social media and our devices getting in the way of actually having human contact and making an effort to recognize another person on the street and say hello? Is the south the last stand for that to eventually change here too? Does living in the Bible belt have anything to do with it? Is faith in general, just stronger here and it shows in how people interact? I was surprised, no maybe shocked is a better word, when we were at the cell phone store recently getting new phones and the 20 something single guy helping us asked at one point if we had found a church here yet. I immediately reached for my cross neckless to see if it was showing and it wasn't. It's just a common question here and an assumption that you go to church. Does this have something to do with Southern hospitality? Is this part of the reason why so many people have told me they moved here for a job, planned to stay no more then 5 years, and here it is 20-30 years later and they "ain't leaving"?!? Could be!
Until recently, I hadn't really spent any time in the south. But I am glad we are here and for my boys to experience southern hospitality. I feel like we are making our home here and maybe just maybe in a few years when someone asks me of the 5 states I have lived which is my favorite, I may just say Mississippi. And y'all are more then welcome to visit any time.
The next time you are planning a vacation, I encourage you to try the south. You may not want to leave either. :)
Thanks for reading! Have a great day!