It’s been a while since I announced we would be leaving North Carolina. We are now settled in South Dakota, and I’ve been thinking about, and missing North Carolina constantly. Here is what I’m missing the most.
In the south, everything comes with a monogram, from car decals to apparel to floor mats. Clothes come in bright, vibrant colors with pretty patterns and chevron (my favorites include a dress I found that’s covered with crabs and a flamingo cardigan!) Basically, I can sum this up with saying I just want the entire crown & ivy collection at belk. Side note: Belk probably deserves it’s own shout out; I had never even heard of Belk before North Carolina but it seemed to be my go – to for new clothes. Finally, I grew an obsession with Simply Southern shirts, and I want every single one! I think that Simply Southern shirts have made their way to the Midwest (although they are not nearly as popular as in the south) but the bright colors and chevron will forever stay Southern!
I know that weather is crazy everywhere, but North Carolina weather was arguably some of the craziest weather that I’ve encountered. My boss told me my first week there that if I didn’t like the weather to wait ten minutes, and she was not kidding. I learned to always have an umbrella and rainboots, and most importantly, I learned that you can never trust the weathermen! Not that it’s their fault, the weather is so unpredictable.
On the other hand, the crazy weather has really worked in my favor many times; there were so many times at the beach that it looked like it would storm. All of the tourists would scatter, but us locals knew better. You don’t believe the sky until it’s actually raining on you. I got the beach to myself several times because of this – and I’ve never been rained!
Barbecue, fried chicken, greens, Bojangles, Waffle House, fresh fish – the list could go on forever! And aside from southern food, we were also close to plenty of Thai and Japanese food, most likely to accommodate the service members who had been deployed to those areas.
Nope, not talking about the TV show (although I love that too!); I am talking about manners and being polite. And saying ma’am, sir, please and thank you, and of course, “bless your heart!”. Plus, in the South, there is no reason too small to have a party to celebrate something!
5. The beach
Oh, the subcategories I have for this; this is going to be a long one because I miss the beach so much it hurts. I miss being the only person on the beach in the winter, walking for hours after work and never seeing a single soul. And always having a go – to no matter what, whether we were bored, needed something to do, or just because, the beach was always an option. There was no bad day that the beach couldn’t fix for me. I miss looking for dolphins, seashell hunting, and looking at all the beautiful, unique houses that I dreamed of owning one day. I miss getting sunkissed from laying on the beach all day then stopping at the fish truck on the way home and grilling fresh fish for dinner. I miss the first sight of my beloved Topsail Island from the top of the huge bridge that you must drive on to get there, the cheesy tourist shops, and knowing the difference between “normal” traffic and “tourist” traffic. I miss watching visitors on vacation; I loved being able to tell vacationers that “I live here” and feeling so proud and so lucky about that. Living at the beach and visiting the beach are two very different things, and I will forever miss being a “local”.
6. The mountains
It was North Carolina where I discovered my love for the mountains. Never in my life have I lived anywhere close to the beach, and the same is true for the mountains. So the fact that the Great Smoky Mountains were under a 5 hour car ride away was something pretty special to me. I felt so spoiled having such easy access both to the mountains and to the coast. We are close to the mountains now, but there was something about the Great Smoky Mountains that was special to me. Maybe it’s because it’s where I first fell in love with the mountains, or maybe it’s because they seem so much more relaxed there than here – I don’t know. I just know I miss them!
7. The East Coast Time Zone
Believe it or not, I preferred the East Coast time zone! I liked being ahead of everyone else. Now by the time I get to work, my old co-workers are two hours into their day, and I’m pretty jealous around 1:30 my time when I know they’re headed home for the day. It was also convenient if I ever needed to call customer service for something because usually they were based somewhere with an earlier time zone (mostly because it was Iowa that I would need to call). Now when I get off work and they’re already closed because I’m the one that’s behind!
From dolphins at the beach to bears in the mountains and anything in between, I always was able to get my animal fix. One of my big bucket list items was to volunteer to watch the turtle nests; I was actually going to sign up right around the time I found out that I’d gotten the job in South Dakota. North Carolina is also a wonderful place to hunt for seashells.
We loved being close to so much history. Not only did we love being able to take in museums, Fort Fisher, Fort Macon, the Biltmore Estate, the USS North Carolina, Wright Brothers museum, lighthouses, the railroad, and so much more, we were also close to even bigger historical sites that were just a half – day’s drive away. We were lucky enough to visit Gettysburg, Washington, D.C., and so much more because we didn’t have to hop a plane like we would in Iowa.
10. Memories & People
The people I met in North Carolina took time to show me everything North Carolina-ian. They took me hunting for shark teeth, made homemade Southern food, took me to festivals, and so much more. The friends I met in North Carolina have played such an important role in my life; they have made me a better person. I don’t know what I expected when we decided to move across the country, but whatever it was, North Carolina exceeded any expectation I ever could have had. I have so many special memories; and some of them can’t possibly make this list because they were just day-to-day life things. Have you heard the quote that you don’t know how special something is until it becomes a memory? That is the easiest way to sum up my entire experience in North Carolina. I miss my friends, and North Carolina more than I ever thought was possible.