So Long, Sweet Home Alabama

Living in Alabama has taught me a lot of things, personally and otherwise. I’ve always been told that patience is a virtue – something to be cultivated over time. Well, if you need to practice your patience, head south. When Jamison and I first moved down here, we couldn’t believe how long it took to be served food, buy movie tickets, or drive anywhere. What started as a mild aggravation quickly turned into the norm. I’ve come to embrace this slow-paced life. Not only has it taught me patience while I wait at least 10 minutes for coffee, but it’s a daily reminder to relax. It doesn’t surprise me that this slow-it-down attitude comes hand in hand with friendly people. Southerners are happy to help  and put their plans on hold for a stranger.

I’m a firm believer in finding the good in every situation. And while I’ve suffered bouts of homesickness down here, I’ve come to love a lot about my southern home.

I actually do love the weather. While mid-day in the spring and summer can be unbearable, the nights are perfection. And I have to say – the winters down here are pretty nice compared to the bitterly cold tundra up north.

I love the southernisms that my friends have for every occasion. Think we can win our kickball game tonight (our record is 0-6)? A fitting response – “Good Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise!” I’m sure some of you are familiar with the phrase, “Beggars can’t be choosers.” Down here, they put a spin on it – “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” And when you’re daddy doesn’t approve of your new boyfriend, you’ll surely hear, “He can’t never could do nothin.”

I love the college football obsession – it’s contagious. (Roll Tide!)

I love the taste of a wood-smoked BBQ sandwich paired with a locally brewed beer.

I love the scenery – whether it’s going on hikes in the lush Appalachian foothills or taking in the beautiful magnolia trees, the south is very picturesque.

I love southern manners and the gentlemen that come along with them.

I’ll never stop loving being called sweetheart, darlin’, baby and honey on a daily basis. I’ve never sensed a condescending tone – it always seems natural and endearing.

I love the abundance of dresses. Not only are they adorable, but they’re necessary in the Alabama heat. You can also pair these dresses with cowboy boots – no questions asked.

I love the history that surrounds Birmingham. From MLK Jr.’s groundbreaking marches, to Civil War battlefields, to Mae West and Will Rodgers’ shows at the still-standing Lyric Theatre.

I’ve grown a lot since I made the move down south. Because of an awesome job and co-workers, I’ve gained great professional experience. I feel lucky that ASRM has only encouraged my desire to work in healthcare. I’ve met some wonderful people who’ve touched my life and added to who I am. My new friends have shown me the beauty of going on an adventure and have taken the fear out of living somewhere new. More importantly, they taught me the Alabama fight song.

All in all, my time in Birmingham has enriched my life and I hope to bring some of my newfound insights with me up north.

To my southern friends, I’ll miss you terribly and promise to visit. You always have a friend in Minnesota.

And if you’re a Yankee – I’ll be seeing you soon, darlin!

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Springtime in the South

There’s something in the air this time of year that makes people crave sunshine and outdoor patios. Spring is all around and I’m enjoying every minute. Initially, this was my favorite season because I’m a March baby, but over time my priorities shifted. The anticipation for presents turned into the eagerness for spring break, which finally turned into excitement for nice weather.

I’m not sure that anything can top a Minnesotan’s desire for spring. After months of living in a snow-covered tundra and scraping ice off car windshields at seven in the morning, we gladly welcome any sign of change: brown grass, slush-filled running paths, a 40 degree day with sunshine.

While the transition into spring down here is a little less noticeable, I’ve still been enjoying the gradual changes (minus the coat of yellow pollen that dusts my car everyday). The mornings have been a little bit sunnier, the grass is greener and spring activities are in full swing. I’m no longer the crazy Yankee running in the park when the temp is a chilly 40 degrees. Near our apartment, Railroad Park is bustling with people when the work day is done.

One of the best parts about Railroad Park this time of year is the free fitness classes every day of the week! As I ran around the loop, I started to notice groups of people either dancing, doing sweaty jumping jacks or peaceful yoga. And there was always a white table that said, “Class Meets Here.” I assumed it was an expensive fitness class that met outside. Finally, I went up to one of the white tables and to my surprise the class was free! I learned that Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsors a different class every night of the week. So far I’ve enjoyed Zumba, Bootcamp, P.E. Games and, my favorite, Crunk fitness. There’s nothing like being outside after a long day of work and busting a move for all park-goers to see.

Another spring activity that keeps Jamison and I excited for Thursday nights is Birmingham’s GoKickball league. We recently created a team with a handful of friends and have been perfecting the art of losing with dignity (apparently there’s a kickball learning curve). Most people use this league to drink a few beers with friends, but some teams take this children’s game much too seriously. While these players have a tendency to get on my competitive side’s nerves, they make for great entertainment. For instance, last week there was a pitcher who rolled curve balls and slid into every base. I mean, really?

So whether it’s been enjoying more sunshine, getting yelled at by a bootcamp instructor or snickering at the kickball player who needs to lighten up – springtime in Birmingham has been just what I’ve needed.

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