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Floydina's Writing Portfolio

From Brooklyn to the Boondocks: A Culture Shock

An essay on NYC vs. NC and feelings on both.

From Brooklyn to the Boondocks: A Culture Shock

By: Floydina White

This summer, I was invited by my favorite uncle to stay with him for a few weeks in the South (North Carolina, to be exact).

Now, I have traveled quite a bit (even flew out the country once), but I have never been south farther than Washington, DC (plus I wasn’t doing much if anything this summer), so I jumped on his offer.

So I shopped, over packed, and my uncle came in a rented car to pick us up (“So you girls can see all the sights,” my Mom said) and we took a 16 hour car ride (from hell) to North Carolina.

We stayed in a little town (a TOWN. Can you believe it?) called Holly Springs.

Facts about Holly Springs (from www.city-data.com):

Population (July 2002): 11,820 Land area: 7.5 square miles

Races in Holly Springs:

White Non-Hispanic (75.7%)

Black (18.6%)

Hispanic (3.0%)

Two or more races (1.4%)

Other race (1.1%)

American Indian (0.7%)

Compared to New York City:

Population (July 2002): 8,084,316.
Land area: 303.3 square miles

(I’m not sure if this is just Manhattan or the whole city in general. But you get the point, I am sure)

Races in New York:

White Non-Hispanic (35.0%)

Hispanic (27.0%)

Black (26.6%)

Other race (13.4%)

Two or more races (4.9%)

Chinese (4.5%)

Asian Indian (2.1%)

American Indian (1.1%)

Korean (1.1%)

Other Asian (1.0%)

Filipino (0.7%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)

So that is how Holly Springs stacks up next to our beloved city.

So anyway.

It was quite the culture shock going down there (as I was born and raised a city gal)

Why, you ask?

There are no corner stores (there were barely any corners, for that matter)

You need a car to go everywhere (and like a true New Yorker, I don't know how to drive; meaning that if my uncle was at work, I'm out of luck and can't go ANYWHERE)

There were some weird fast food chains down there

There were TOO MANY fast food chains down here (this, with fact #2 explains why so many people from the South are so…how shall we say…overly plump?)

Stores close by like 8PM Monday to Friday (except Wal-Mart, which is open 24/7)

There were no cute guys down here....except at church. And all of those were straight up bible toting Jesus fanatics (note: I am not religious, but I am tolerant of all religions, as long as you don’t try to convert me or shove it down my throat. They were trying to do just that, so they deserve that title, darn it).

(Side note: I was forced to go to church while I was down there, and let me tell you—they were talking about the Supreme Court Justice that stepped down, and how that was the beginning of the end, and that Christ is coming. These people said the same thing in 2000, and Jesus has come—and he works at a Thai restaurant in the city)

According to my uncle's church, I am a heathen: I have had premarital sex, I have my tongue pierced, and I listen to "devil music" (AKA Rock/Metal)

It was too quiet. My sister was laughing too hard on the porch one evening, and a half hour after we went inside, a cop shows up, said that a neighbor reported they heard screaming from our uncle’s house

I could go on and on with this.

I suppose there were some good points:

Things are so much cheaper down there. (I was buying stuff like there was no tomorrow. I guess there is nothing else to do but shop at Wal-Mart and get things really cheap. Quite a few of the locals hung out at Wal-Mart. The local teens like the makeup, video game, and electronic sections the most).

I was being chauffeured all over the place

One restaurant: Sonics. They make the BEST slushies!!!

Cool people: my uncle has some nice friends. I adopted one as my aunt…she has the cutest kids! And she took us to a private club so we can go to the pool. But I digress.)

...well...

I think those were pretty much the only good things down there.

I was so homesick for NY when I was down there...it took me all of two days to get bored of the place.

My friend pointed out I would have been complaining that I was bored if I stayed in New York too; my retort was at least I would have had the option to do something without being chauffeured and at the last minute.

So what is the point of this article, you say?

This trip made me realize all the stuff I take for granted in NYC:

A 24 hour Mass Transit system

Bodegas

Union Square

Random strangers

Stores that close late

A crazy nightlife…

A nightlife period

The noise

The crowds

My friends

My Bed

And so on.

Never again will I go to my neighborhood bodega and complain about the service; never again will I complain about a crowded train; never again will I complain that Claire’s closes at 8; never again will I complain about being harassed in a club….

But then again….I’ll never stop complaining, but from now on, it’ll be with love.

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