Almost 24 years ago my family and I made the long cross country move from Arizona to North Carolina.
I had spent my whole life as an Arizonian and a Sun Devil so you can imagine moving to the South took a little getting used to! Going from the 120 degree desert (granted“It’s a dry heat!”) to the beautiful 4 seasons, vast daily weather fluctuations and green foliage of Raleigh was an amazing and at times confusing adventure. Not to mention the importance of immediately affiliating with a college team…NC State Wolfpack, Carolina Tarheels or Duke Blue Devils! I experienced a bit of culture shock to be honest!
What I noticed right away was that the people here in Raleigh, from the first day we arrived, were so welcoming. My wonderful neighbors were at my doorstep bringing squash casseroles and pecan pies, inviting us to attend school meetings and church services with them. It made me feel immediately at home but not the home I was accustomed to. They even had a neighborhood block party and pig picking for us so we were able to meet everyone. Now, not ever really knowing my neighbors in AZ, I had definitely never had anyone bring me food so that made me a bit uncomfortable. I recall thinking “What is the proper response? Do you invite them in to chat? Ask them to eat it with you? They’re going to think I have no manners! Awkward!” Remember that I am from a place that is so hot that people rarely spend any time outside during the day. You would go from an air conditioned house to an air conditioned car to an air conditioned parking garage and ultimately an air conditioned office or store in order to avoid melting when stepping outside. Not as much opportunity to socialize and get to know your neighbors. I didn’t realize how nice it is to have that sense of community.
Greeting everyone you see with a “Hey” and just sitting with your neighbors on the front porch with a sweet tea and friendly conversation. I love that about Raleigh.