7 Things You Learn When You Move Up North

While there are those who will forever call Maryland part of the North, the Mason-Dixon Line technically puts the Old Line State in the South. Growing up right, smack-dab in the middle of Maryland, I never realized how much of a southerner I was, until I made the 7 hour drive to upstate New York to begin my college education. I was suddenly in a new world that made me feel quite out of place. However, I did come to adapt to my surroundings and also learned a few lessons along the way.

7. “Y’all” Is  Not In Their Vocabulary.

When saying “y’all” is something completely normal at home, and you don’t think twice about it but, you say it up north and get a very different reaction. You will get looks like you’ve just made up some sort of gibberish and others may giggle in response; neither will remove the word from my vocabulary. Which brings me to my next lesson learned:

6. You’ve Got an Accent.

Even though my accent isn’t the strongest, not even close actually, northerners are quick to point out the slight twang I put on certain words or the stronger drawl that comes out when I speak quickly. But at the end of the day, you know that Southern drawl sounds a whole lot sweeter than anything the north has to offer accent-wise.

5. It’ All About Hockey.

Coming from a little suburban town, football games under those Friday night lights was what it was all about. Up north, hockey rules all and you better figure that out as soon as possible so you’re not that Southerner asking “When’s halftime?” It was a brand new experience for me; I ended up having just as great of a time in the hockey stands as I did in those football bleachers.

4. My Goodness, It’s Cold

Going from the middle of Maryland to upstate New York, I knew I was in for colder weather; and oh boy did I find it, and then some. I definitely came to appreciate the ridiculously large coat my mother bought me, that I swore I’d never need, as well as the snow boots that aren’t the cutest but certainly get the job done and keep me from sliding around and falling on my butt when walking down a set of stairs.

3. Not All Tea Is Sweet Tea.

This was a fact that I was not ready for. Not that it’s super difficult to add some sugar or honey, but when you’re expecting some of mama’s sweet tea and get a big gulp of the unsweetened stuff, it’s just not the same. Northerner’s don’t know the bliss they’re missing; to each their own, I suppose.

2. They Weren’t Lying About The Pizza.

The fact that I have ordered pizza from a Pizza Hut or Dominos, or any other pizza chain for that matter, horrifies just about every New Yorker I come in contact with. But for good reason, the pizza up here deserves all the praise it gets. While on the subject of food, they know what they’re doing with those bagels too. Who else is hungry now?


1. You’ll Miss That Southern Hospitality.

This isn’t to say that everyone is rude (not that there aren’t exceptions to that rule), but the gestures aren’t the same. Northern hospitality is family centered while the South extends theirs to the whole community, including the complete stranger on the street. Regardless of where you are, a smile from a passerby or a door being held open shouldn’t be reserved as just a “northern” or “southern” thing. Share the love. Now, whether I’m in the Albany area or around Baltimore, I feel at home.