20 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to North Carolina

We’ve lived in North Carolina for just over two years now, and I must say it’s proven to be quite the education! Here’s a list of some of the things I’ve learned since moving here:

1) “Bless your heart” does not mean what it means everywhere else. If someone says “bless your heart” where I come from, it’s an expression of endearment or sympathy; in NC, it’s a euphemism for calling you an idiot.

2) Barbecue is not barbecue in NC. When I think of barbecue, I imagine meat smothered in barbecue sauce. Here, it’s meat marinated in vinegar, and it takes an acquired taste to enjoy it. (I still have not acquired that taste, by the way.)

3) Bojangles is to North Carolinians as In ‘n’ Out is to Californians.

4) Sweet tea is everywhere and at every event, and if you announce that you don’t like it, people will stare at you like you have two heads. (True story.)

5) North Carolinians can handle rain, hail, hurricanes, tornadoes, you name it, but when a little bit of snow touches the ground (or even has the remotest possibility of falling), the whole state shuts down and everyone turns into doomsday preppers.

6) They take their Wolfpack vs Tar Heels and rivalriy very seriously, and it’s probably best to play the part of Switzerland and stay neutral unless you’re willing to defend to the death your college team of choice.

7) “Pig pickin'” is actually a thing. They literally cook a whole pig right in front of you and then you get to go pick off the pieces you want. Trust me, it’s way more disgusting to see than you can possibly imagine.

8) The drivers here are just as aggressive as California or New York drivers. Probably because half the population moved here from California or New York.

9) I had no idea what a tobacco plant looked like until I moved here.

10) You’re not a true North Carolinian until you’ve been to the fair.

11) People here call winter hats toboggans, and they don’t believe you when you try to tell them that a toboggan is actually a sled.

12) You’ve never known true heat until you’ve lived through a North Carolina summer.

13) The bugs here are out. of. control. Signing up for a quarterly pest control service is one of the best decisions you’ll ever make.

14) If someone asks you to cut off the light, they’re asking you to turn the light switch off. Don’t get out a pair of scissors. Likewise, when you’re told to mash a button, you’re meant to press it. No kitchen utensils needed.

15) Despite the southern stereotypes, most people I know prefer Target to Wal-Mart, but good ol’ Wally World is still very popular.

16) Speaking of Wal-Mart, “goin’ Wal-Martin'” is actually a thing.

17) North Carolinians have a museum for everything. Seriously.

18) Fayetteville is to North Carolina as Compton is to California.

19) If you ask a local how far away something/someplace is, odds are they’ll give you the distance in minutes rather than miles.

20) If you’ve ever wanted to live in a place where people are as friendly as they were in Mayberry, where complete strangers wave to you and you’re welcomed to your new neighborhood with plates full of baked goodies, then North Carolina is the place for you!

When you’re from the west coast, moving to North Carolina is rather like moving to another country – but it’s the most beautiful, friendly, fun and welcoming country I’ve ever been, and I have no regrets about becoming a NC transplant. 🙂 home

30 thoughts on “20 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving to North Carolina

  1. That sounds fun!! I don’t have a similar list from Arizona – it’s pretty similar to CA – but I’ve always loved the friendliness of the southern states. It’s an attitude that’s totally unknown to Californians!! 🙂

  2. I don’t know why everyone is always bashing fayetteville. I’m from harnett county, bout 20 minutes away but have been in the ville for 4 years now and never had an issue. Only problem for me is too many GI’s. Which aren’t from here so this is why their unfriendly!! Y’all just haven’t ran into the locals of fayetteville is all. Oh and you don’t like real barbeque?! You should try my ol’man’s bet you’ll changer your mind. Lol

  3. I just found this from a fb post. I’m a native North Carolinian living in Northern California now. I have a few edits: the barbecue is not marinated in vinegar, it’s smoked pork, and after it’s done, they put vinegar on it =) The drivers in NC are WAAAAAY more aggressive than CA – at least in the Bay Area. I had to get used to the fact that when I turn on my signal, people actually let me over.

  4. It’s really fun to read a transplant’s take – and I’m even from Fayetteville… where I survived an entire childhood! But… you must know by now, barbecue in NC is the original US barbecue. All others are just derivations 🙂

  5. Okay, here’s the question…have you ever even been to Fayetteville? So many people bash Fayetteville without even knowing the place. To me, the Triangle is busier and not as friendly. Spend some time here and really get immersed in the community and know people You may like it!

    • Goldsboro has actually become the “New Fayetteville” these days. Fayetteville has really been cleaned up as far as their violent crime. However, go an on US 13 S into Wayne and you’ll be lucky to come out alive!!….I’ve been here continuously since 2010 and before that (thanks to the military) on and off since 2000….

  6. I have lived in Fayetteville for 24 years. I am now 27. It’s just as good as the rest of North Carolina. Do not knock it till you’ve tried it.

  7. Transplant from South Carolina here. Let’s see…
    #2 – Right! Barbecue = mustard or ketchup based sauce unless you are doing a dry rub Memphis style. Or serving brisket, Texas Style. I’ve yet to find anyplace serving pickled and roasted to be enjoyable.
    #5 – SC is the same way. And both states are slap full of yahoos with 4 wheel drive that don’t understand that 4WD + ice = 4 wheel SKID…
    #6 – It’s UNC vs Duke. The Carolina rivalry is Carolina vs Clemson… And SC is the only state where yelling “GO COCKS!” on the street won’t get you arrested for yelling obscenities (well, maybe it will in Clemson, but… )
    #8 – Cary = Containment Area for Relocated Yankees. Just sayin’…
    #12 – NC summers got nothing on SC. Trust me. I’m not saying it gets humid, but when I was a kid I saw a school of catfish swim by my grandma’s kitchen window.
    #13 – There’s a reason SC is called “The Palmetto State.” It’s because of the Palmetto BUGS! (If you aren’t familiar, think roaches, but on steroids and growth hormones).
    #19 – You are also likely to get directions via landmarks that don’t exist anymore… “Go on down Waffle House Church Road about 2 miles…just past where the Drive-In Theater used to be… The turn left at the crossroad. You know, where Old Man Jenkins original farmhouse burned down and the only thing left was the fireplace and chimney…”

    *LOL* Let’s hear it for our wonderful neighbor states and their quirks…

  8. I’m from PA. Spent 10 years in Fayetteville and you are dead wrong. They may have some problems, but who doesn’t? And if your comments were ‘just in fun’, thanks for insulting an entire city. And a city that welcomes and embraces soldiers from all across this country. We see them off, we welcome them home and we take care of them. I am not an Army veteran, but rather a member of a strong, patriotic community. Sorry you’ve never had the pleasure of being submersed in one of the most friendly communities in the south…bless your heart.

  9. I posted a comment earlier defending the friendly city of Fayetteville, where I actually lived for 10 years. I guess it didn’t make the censorship cut because it didn’t agree with the blogger. Shame. You bashed a city you obviously know little to nothing about. On behalf of the proud citizens of Fayetteville, please go back to where you came from.

  10. Y’all forgot hon, sugar, and babe. I had to warn the hubby about this one so he wouldn’t deck every man that says this to his wife and daughter…and now mother in law. You’re right about the barbecue, bugs, tea, and the snow. I can handle the heat here better than I could in Kansas where triple digits were a common site.

  11. I have lived in NC my whole life and can’t imagine living anywhere else. This was a very funny post. And now I am craving sweet tea and some Lexington-style BBQ!

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