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This is my list of the top ten things anyone moving from the west coast to the south should know. These are only my opinions, and I assure you it’s not to be taken as law. As a native Californian, some things came as a shock to me when I first moved to Savannah, so I thought I could compile this list to give other people in similar situations a heads up. This list is not meant to be offensive in any manner. It’s just meant to illustrate a difference in lifestyle (and maybe give you a little laugh).

1. Everything that comes in powdered form will become one solid brick in a matter of moments. This list includes but is not limited to: laundry detergent, baking soda, table salt, etc.

2. If you don’t want a little tea with your sugar learn to order un-sweet tea. I know, it should be unsweetened, but it’s sweet tea here NOT sweetened tea. And sweet tea is the default. Do not be fooled; you will never be served any rational amount of sweetener in sweet tea, so order it un-sweet and add your own. (Also lemon does not come with the tea make sure you ask.)

3. Bugs are 24/7 -365. Those aren’t GIANT cockroaches- they’re palmetto bugs. Because everyone has them and it just sounds classy that way. Mosquitoes are not just a summer pest, they’ll be around for Christmas too!

4. Old is good, older is better, new is nothing. No, really if there aren’t at least 5 generations behind it don’t expect it to last long here.

5. Every city is the “first” something and it’s very serious business. It may be the first city with an electric stop sign made by the grandson of Thomas Edison or whatever, but there will be a plaque for it prominently displayed somewhere in the city.

6. Salad as a meal is still an emerging concept here, and produce options are limited unless you grow your own. This is slowly changing with the addition of local farmer’s markets, but can still be a struggle when shopping commercially.

7. Rain is a fixture, get used to it  The city of Savannah averages  110 rainy days a year. I’m from the desert, it rains roughly 44 days a year there.

8. There are places here that get dark- I mean blackout dark after the sun goes down. There are still very many rural areas around here and there are NO street lights. If you don’t know where you’re going  leave well before sunset, or you might get spooked.

9. People will talk to you out of nowhere, even if you don’t know them. For someone not used to this, it can be quite jarring. I’m still not completely used to it after more than 5 years.

10. Mexican restaurants will have menus with a little key at the bottom that gives the definition of each type of menu item. This stunned me the first time I saw it. I really didn’t know that for some people the difference between a taco and a burrito needed explanation.

Have you ever moved to a new area and had culture shock? What were some things you couldn’t have anticipated that threw you for a loop?

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