When I moved to Australia I definitely experienced some culture shock. I had never lived in such an international city like Melbourne or witnessed racism like in Western Australia (not to stereotype either place, but these were my experiences). When I moved to Wyoming I experienced culture shock in the form a lot of ground beef and nights at the rodeo. When I moved to Texas I learned about country music, Mexican traditions and culture, business cowboys, and welcoming people (among many, many other things).
I did not expect to experience anything that I would call culture shock when I moved back to North Carolina. I knew I would encounter the things from my Southern childhood that I would love and that would make me cringe. Wilmington has led me to experience things I wasn’t expecting.
The Have and the Have-Nots:
Before we moved to Wilmington and were looking for housing, we asked people about different areas and whether it would be a good neighborhood, etc. The answer was always, “It’s hard to tell. It changes every block. I assumed this was an exaggeration. It wasn’t. I’ve never seen historic beautiful homes next to rundown dilapidated houses in these quantities. Every block has beauty. Every block has struggle. (I speak primarily to downtown, the area where I live.) When you see these two side by side, it’s hard to know where you are. You’re in Wilmington.
I thought I knew what it was like to work as a professional. To work in a structured environment with high heels and meetings in conference rooms. Um, no naive child, not true. I went from working in a company of 85 to a company of 13,000+. Now I work for a company that has been public previously and is owned by entities, not individuals. It’s a strange adjustment to work 8-5 without variation, to dress up every day, to search for the appropriate channels to find out something, to get lost in the building I work in. Is it a good job? Yes. Is this an important experience for my career? Yes. Has it taught me about my career goals and my personality? Yes. Do I enjoy dressing up? No. To be honest I’m thinking about adapting this woman’s work attire plan of the same thing every day. Genius.
Whoa, Southern! We’re talking things like garden tours, celebrity receptions, Azalea Queens and Princesses, concerts, a street fair, a parade and the most important event- the garden party! I was lucky enough to score a ticket for myself and my fella through work. While Tyler ended up not being able to stay, I soldiered on with my coworker ladies all adorned in their best spring dresses. One of my coworkers loaned me a hat, the likes of which I had never seen before.
I thoroughly enjoyed wearing it and being protected from the sun, but it was a little too floppy to be practical. I can’t say garden party was the life changing event it was made out to be but it was fun to spend a Friday afternoon dressed up, eating barbecue with a cold beer and some good company. The most important thing to know is that Mrs. Huxtable was once an Azalea Queen.
The beach is right there! Boys all appear to be surfers. The weather is amazing! Our soil is sandy and black. What is this strange world I’ve encountered? Yes, please. May I have another?