Southern Charm

Hey there darlin’,

I’ve been in the south long enough now that I’ve become accustomed to the hospitality and general kindness shown by strangers that drew me here in the first place.  Just the other day, I was at the deli counter at Kroger ordering honey maple turkey and Swiss cheese and the lovely elderly worker behind the counter engaged me in conversation the entire time she sliced my deli items with motherly care.  We talked about the weather because that’s what you do in the south.  She asked me what was going on out there because we were due for some inclement weather.  I told her it was cold and raw and rainy and she informed me that we were to get snow later in the evening and maybe some ice. This was just one day after it was a lovely 70 degrees and sunny.  We chatted about how we’d like to be somewhere tropical when the weather turns sour.  As she handed me my food, she looked me in the eye with genuine concern and said, “Now, you be real careful out there.  Alright, honey?”  I replied, “Yes, ma’am.  You do the same.”  It’s nice when strangers care about your well-being.

This is just one of many instances of southern civility that occur on a daily basis in my life.  I was talking to one of my clients a little while back as we were completing an install at her condo here in Nashville.   She is from the Northeast and lives in New Jersey so we have a lot in common and often talk about the differences between the North and South.  She said although she loves the variety and all the Northeast has to offer, she is always struck by the warmth of southern people.  We were talking about going to the drugstore or grocery and how people hold doors, smile and actually talk to you, not at you.  I mentioned how I had been at T.J. Maxx the other day and instead of a surly “Here’s your receipt,” as I checked out, I got a cheerful, “Thank you. Come back and see us!” My client smiled and said she hears that a lot here, too.  We both paused for a moment, looked back at each other, and at the same time said, “And they actually mean it!”

I think non-southerners are catching on to this and flocking to the south.  The secret is out!  I stumbled upon this article one of my friends shared on facebook.  I’m glad to know that other people appreciate the ways of the south like I do!

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/suzy-strutner/tk-things-i-learned-in-th_b_4394289.html

Y’all come back! (I mean it!)

Sugarlump

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Boston

I’ve spent 13 years, the majority of my life, in Boston.

I went to middle school, high school, undergraduate and graduate school here.  It’s where I learned to drive and where I started my business.  It’s where I have met people who have been very important in my life.  In large part, it’s where I became who I am.

But there’s always been a part of me that belonged to the South.  It’s where my family is from and it has always felt like home. I have visited my extended family in Kentucky at least twice a year for my entire life.  I used to cry on the way back from visiting Kentucky when I was little because I wanted to live there so badly.

I guess as I was planning my move to Nashville I was thinking mostly of the excitement of living in a new city, in the South, within an easy car-ride of my extended family.  I knew that would mean leaving behind some great people, but it didn’t really sink in until this week as I said goodbye to my clients, my friends and people who have become like family to me.  I always loved the South because of the genuine people, but it turns out I have found some really wonderful people in these Northern parts, too.

I will miss my friends.  Even though most of them are dispersed throughout the country (and even the globe), there were a few good friends who stayed in Boston that I saw regularly after we graduated.  I will certainly miss our get-togethers and those last remnants of college.  I guess we are officially grown-ups now as all of us start new phases in our lives with new jobs and new homes.

I will miss my neighbors. The kids I once babysat are now driving, but they’ll always be those cute little kiddoes in my mind who kept it real.

I will miss my clients.  When people invite you into their homes, even though it’s for business, there’s no getting around the fact that you will learn about their lives and often develop a friendship.  I have had many wonderful clients that I have gotten to know well and I will certainly miss our meetings.

I will miss my trade network.  Working alongside people in the design and building trades, you make small talk to make the day more pleasant, you see how hard they work and how they are just good, down to earth people.

And then there are people who don’t fit into just one category, but span many.  Although we are certainly an unlikely pair as she is 44 years my senior, I will greatly miss a woman I have known for over a decade, who has made window treatments and pillows for my parents and then for my clients after I started my interior design business.  She gave me great support and advice as I was starting my business and she has become a very close friend and mentor.  Whenever I would bring fabrics over for a job, we would quickly go through the details and then just talk.  Sometimes we would be so deep in conversation that an hour would go by before we knew it.  Even though for most of my day I am in a hurry, I’ve always cherished my talks with her.

It goes without saying that I will of course miss my parents terribly, but my hope is that they will move back to the South to be near me and my sister in the very near future.  So I’m just thinking of this separation as temporary because that’s the only way I can get through it.

I’ve had some great times here with some really great people, but I am excited to finally get my wish to live in the South.  Just like the best chocolate, it’s bittersweet.

Thank you for everything, Boston.  I will miss you.

(But don’t worry, I’ll be back to visit 🙂 )

Sugarlump

Southern Vibes

Please forgive my cat-heavy content lately.  I swear I’m not a crazy cat lady; I just get a real kick out of these fur-balls.  That and I’ve been cramming in a lot of work and packing in the past week and there’s only so much to report on that front.

I have so many pictures of my cats now as they are the only subjects that tolerate me trying to learn how to take portraits with my new camera.  I figured I might as well share these pictures and stories instead of the seemingly endless piles of things in my life at the moment (because even thinking about them gives me heart palpitations).

While the last few days have been fairly uneventful, I did have an interesting exchange this weekend as I was buying a bottle of wine to take to my friend’s housewarming party.

I walked up to the register and the cashier asked me how I was doing with a big ol’ Southern drawl.

Looking for something to confirm that I was indeed still in Massachusetts, I replied that I was doing just fine and asked how she was doing.  She was just dandy.

She kind of looked at me knowingly and I thought maybe she was trying to figure out if I was old enough to be purchasing the wine (which I am, thank you very much) but she was actually sensing some Southern vibes.

She complimented my ring as I showed her my ID.  I said thank you.  She said she’s been trying to get her boyfriend to buy her one like it because she just loves the design.  I told her it was definitely a good purchase and I wear it every day.

She then paused and said, “Where are youuu fruum?”

I said, “Well, here I guess.  I grew up in the Northeast.”

I could tell by her face that she wasn’t satisfied with that answer.  So I said, “But, my family is from southern Kentucky and I’m actually moving to Nashville next week.”

She beamed, “I knew I heard a Southern acce-yunt in they-yere!” (which is funny because I don’t really have a Southern accent….yet.  I do, however, have many family members with Southern accents so I can speak Southern fluently and often catch a drawl when I’m around them.)

I asked her where she was from (obviously not the Northeast).  She said proudly, “I’m fruum TEHHH-xas.”

At this point we were friends.

She then wished me luck in my move, I told her I hoped she got the ring from her boyfriend soon and we both smiled as I walked out of the store.

Thank goodness there was no one behind me in line or he/she would have been very confused by our sudden kinship.

I think it was a sign that I am making the right move.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump

About Me

Hi there,

I’m Emily.  I love the South.

Although I was born and raised in the Northeast, the South has always felt like home to me. All of my family is from and (mostly) lives in Kentucky, the place where I have spent every Christmas and a few weeks every summer since my birth.  What amazes me is that even though I only see my grandparents and extended family two or three times a year, we are very close.

I have come to the conclusion that there must be something special and Southern going on here to allow such a bond to develop and I have an idea of what that might be: great stories, sayings, food, and care (always served together, at all times and by great people).

So, in the spirit of sharing great stories, sayings, food and care, I have decided to blog about the sweet morsels in my life, the things that make me smile.

And why is this blog called “the sugarlump”? Because one of my grandmothers used to call me “sugarlump” when I was little and I think it captures well the intention of this blog (to compile the sweetness in my life) and is extremely Southern.

Side note: When I told my grandmother I was thinking of starting a blog and calling it “the sugarlump,” she was quick to reassure me that “sugarlump” was a term of endearment.  It had never occurred to me that she meant it otherwise, but I suppose she was just clarifying that she wasn’t calling me plump, which I was not even borderline close to as a child.  In fact, my level of nutrition was questioned a time or two due to my extremely spindly physique.  As evidence, I have provided a photo of my knobby knees (pictured right, sporting my tap recital ensemble):

Image

Some other things about me:

1.  I do not enjoy tap dancing.

2.  I’m a residential interior designer.  Helping people create a home is very important to me.  I decided to make a career of it and started my own business quite young.  Here I am on my first day:

Image

3.  I consider myself a private person and am mildly allergic to all of the oversharing of mundane details of one’s life via social media.  I also surprise myself sometimes.  I suppose I have justified sharing my life in blog form by 1) giving it a specific purpose/flair and 2) only sharing things that are meaningful/noteworthy/extremely profound/absurd.

4.  Oh, and did I mention that I don’t really care for writing?  I would rather complete an entire SAT II prep book of Algebra problems than write a five paragraph essay.  So I’m going to keep this informal and more conversational; however, I will try to use correct grammar for the sake of coherence.

5.   I don’t like odd numbers, except when arranging accessories or making points.  And this one makes five. Ha!

I hope these posts make you laugh and rejoice.

Y’all come back now, ya hear?

Sugarlump