The easiest way to become a nice person

The easiest way to become a nice person is to move to American South.  When you moved to the South, you are automatically became “Sweetie”, or “Honey”… or “Hon”.  That is how people call each other here and how they call you.  Everyone, your neighbor, a lady at parking service, salesperson at the supermarket you see for the first time.  At the beginning, it’s quite strange and even shocking – “Do I know her?”  I always asked myself when I heard again that I was “honey”.  “Does she knows me? “ Obviously not, if she calls me this way).  Yes, it sounds strange, especially when you moved from the big city of Moscow.  In Moscow, you are lucky enough to get to your way through morning subway crowd without any bruises.  And clearly, to hear something like “Move your ass – you sleeping or what?” –  sounds as normal as “Good morning, dear friend”.   In the American South it is different.  People smile without a big reason.  I don’t know how sincere people are, and I assume that they can’t be sincere simply because they don’t know me, but anyway, that friendliness, even if it is superficial is still shocking.  Southerners simply pushed me into a corner with all theirs “Hons” and “Sweets” and I didn’t know how to react.  I remember, during our first month in Atlanta, my daughter and I went to Macy’s, and my daughter tried few dresses at the fitting room.  The sale lady was jumping around her and asked what else she could bring to her.  When she saw my daughter in a dress, she applauded and almost cried “Oh-She is So adorable!”.  My daughter gave me a look and asked in Russian: “Is she teasing me?”  “No,”- I said –“I think she is just like that”. But honestly saying we both were little bit surprised with such warmth.

After three months in the South, we flew to New York for a week.   I remember the first day in a little Manhattan food shop. We were staying in line to buy some groceries.  A tall man moved around and accidently pushed me out of the line when he was passing me.  I turned to him with already prepared smile anticipating millions sweet apologies, but instead I got loud and irritable: “Can’t you see! You are in my way!”- and he progressed on without even feeling guilty.  My daughter and I looked at each other…and smiled.  He was rude, it’s true, but, finally, we felt at home.

P.S..  During my recent trip to Charleston to my friend wedding, my counterparts (other bridesmaids, Southern girls) shared with me few tips about True Southern culture.  I’ll share it with you in my next post…

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4 thoughts on “The easiest way to become a nice person

  1. All the truth, we did move from NY to Atlanta a long ago, but still remember that north-south difference. Got used to it. However traveling recently to St.Petersburg, after being in Atlanta since 1990…I was “honey” and “sweetie” in the local transport -that was the shock to me! Twice I almost cried of such “politeness” thinking how city has changed after 23 years……

    • Maria, thank you for your thoughtful comment! I have been in Saint-Petersburg this summer (it’s a very special city for me). I haven’t been there in 1990, but I lived there later and travel between Moscow-Saint Pete constantly, and I have to say it was always different from Moscow (even thought I have fiends in Moscow I love too). I’ll put some Saint-Pete memories in my blog as well)

  2. I very much enjoy your posts. It helps me practice to read in English. I spend one year in USA for studies and your New York experience is much like I have. It is interesting how different it is different part of USA. Thank you for entertain me!

    • Dear Lina, thank you for the comment. I am very glad you found my posts entertaining and helpful for you. When I read people enjoy it, I feel motivated to write more) I’ll post something about New York at some point later – I would love to hear your opinion

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