Tag Archives: culture shock

A September 1st Tale

Moving

Moving Day!

As I reflect back on the day that was September 1st, I’m filled with much less anxiety and frustration. In fact, now I just laugh. Moving at the beginning of September may not seem like much in other areas of the country, but here in Boston, it’s absolute madness. I’ve talked about the day before – the traffic jams, the trash and the general insanity of it all. However, observing the day and moving on the day are two very different things. I was fortunate enough to have moved on this particular day this year – and it was a doozy. 

Let me set up the situation because truly, the odds were staked against me and the other fortunate souls forced to move on this day.

First, this September 1st fell on a Saturday, which meant that the probability of it being more ridiculous than normal was at an all time high. Knowing the chaotic nature of the day, it’s important to make logistical plans well in advance, which is why I along with my new roommates reserved a truck several months ahead of the day. However, a few days prior, the truck company called and was unable to provide any standard moving truck. As you might expect, it’s not easy to move three people’s stuff without a truck. Instead, a caravan of cars (accompanied by a group of amazing friends) and a rented pickup truck served as a backup, meaning that it took the entire day to move rather than a few hours.

That was just the tip of the iceberg as there was a mound of trash on the side of the apartment, some of the previous tenants goods in the apartment, five new upstairs neighbors moving at the same time, the opening day of a college football game, insane traffic, etc etc.

I’ve heard other stories about September 1st moves and I’m sure there are plenty more unpleasant tales that make my experience look more like a fairy tale. The upside to all of this is that I absolutely love my new apartment – and I’m so glad I made the move.

I also feel like moving on September 1st is the City of Boston’s way of hazing new residents. So, now that I’ve survived my first Moving Day, I think I’ll stay a while. Just try to get rid of me now Boston!

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Observations from a Tex-a-sotan

Part of my intention with this blog was to not only chronicle places or activities, but to look at the differences of culture. I often find myself saying things like, “You don’t do that here?” or “What’s a (insert random New England phrase/item)?” It’s hard to be a Tex-a-sotan (someone from both Minnesota and Texas) and really not take pause sometimes. Here are a few things that I’ve noticed that I find fascinating about living in New England and what people have experienced or say, compared with the South and Midwest:

Lone Star in a Bottle

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If you’ve visited Texas or live there, you know that Lone Star beer is a staple. I’ve always thought of Lone Star as a beer on par with Natty Light or Keystone. It’s a lighter beer, mostly found in the can, that is pretty easy on the wallet and by the time you get to the bottom of the can, you probably don’t want to drink it anymore. At least, that was my perception after having lived in Texas for 15 years. (Apologies to any die hard Lone Star fans out there that disagree with this assessment.)

When I got to Boston, I found that Lone Star is only sold in the bottle. Now maybe I missed something along the way, but I had never seen Lone Star in a bottle. It seems so much classier – and it definitely stays fresher longer in bottle form. However, it just threw me for a loop the first time I experienced it. Thank goodness we get Lone Star though, since you can’t get Shiner up here (don’t even get me started on that).

What’s Frito Pie?

About a month ago, I got an e-mail from a friend asking me what Frito Pie was, as a friend tried to explain it to her and she was baffled. Of course, I confirmed the existence of the amazingly delicious treat, and upon asking around, found that East Coasters don’t know what the dish is. Seriously, friends. You’re missing out.

For those who are not aware, Frito Pie is a bed of Fritos with chili and cheese poured on top. It’s commonly found at sporting events especially high school football games. One of my favorite Texas bloggers, the Homesick Texan, has a great recipe for Frito Pie. I’m copying the link to her blog to give this dish true justice, as I don’t know if I can really describe it in words.

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The Coke/Soda/Pop Debacle

What do you call a soda pop? You know, the fizzy water with sugar and other flavors in it? Well, in New England, you probably call it soda. If you say soda anywhere around the country, you’ll be universally understood. However, as most Texans know, the word “coke” describes the same thing. Coca-Cola is a product made in the South, and the generic term for a soda in Texas is coke. So essentially, you can order a coke at most establishments in Texas and they will ask you what kind. I say most places, because I can’t guarantee that it’ll happen but it does happen a lot. Or it’s used in conversation.

Now in the Midwest, it’s called “pop.” My entire family says pop – and I’ve had to explain to guests or new visitors to the area what that means. It’s not that people in the Midwest don’t know what soda is, they just prefer to say pop. There is actually a running project called Pop v Soda, which tracks what regions say each particular phrase. It’s fantastic, and I’ve included the infographic below (which appeared on the blog FoodBeast) to give you an idea of where people say what term.

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There are always more phrases or items that truly stand out to me – and remind me, I’m not a native New Englander. However, I’m absolutely rooting for the Pats in the Super Bowl. I might not be from here but I can definitely jump on board the Brady train.  

If you have experienced culture shock in New England, or are curious about understanding the Southern/Midwestern variety, tell me about it below!


Tales of the RMV: Part 2

Since my last post in the series, I had finished the preparation process for the RMV. My paperwork in hand, with proper validations and all, I headed to the RMV. Let’s make this official, Massachusetts!

What, Mass? Let's make this official!

In the last stage of my journey, I figured I had overcome the biggest obstacles. If only!

On my way to the RMV, I have a difficult time finding the actual building. My GPS keeps directing me to a mall – and there are no signs anywhere. Finally, I give up and call a friend who informs me my GPS isn’t wrong – the RMV is in the mall. Um, what? Yes friends – this particular RMV is located within a mall.

I head inside, receive my number and anxiously wait to be called. The wait time was fairly accurate and after 40-minutes or so, I was talking with Jeanie who processed both my registration and license at the same time. It was kind of funny because, of course, she started as the stereotypical RMV worker – kind of grumpy and not willing to make eye contact. However when I turned on my Southern hospitality and dashing smile, she was wishing me best of luck! How great!?! And the hurdle that I had to overcome in the preparation process really made everything much smoother once I had to turn in all of my paperwork and money.

Let’s not joke around though, in Massachusetts, it takes quite a deal of money to register. I paid $125 for registration (cash or check only) and $100 for my license. This doesn’t even include a tax that I’ll apparently have to pay at the end of the year just for owning a car. Awesome! 🙂

Step three: registration and license. DONE!

Feeling lighter in my wallet but satisfied that my hazing to becoming an official resident of the state was over, I headed to my auto body shop to get my car inspected. By the way, your car has to be inspected by the state somewhere around 14-days after you register. Another pretty tight deadline!

When my car is inspected, it pretty much has nothing wrong except a brake light and the tint of my windows. The tint of my windows was apparently so dark that it wouldn’t pass the inspection process. What I failed to realize was that in Southern states, window tint standards are fairly low considering how sunny it usually is. The body shop had to keep my car for a day and remove the tint from all four windows of the car. This is also kind of expensive but without this, my car wouldn’t have been deemed legal in the state.

Once the tint was taken off, my car went on to pass with flying colors!

Step four: car inspection. DONE!

Two weeks after beginning the entire process, I finally had jumped all the hoops to get my car legal, registered and inspected. Not to mention that I now have a sweet Mass ID. I guess I’m not going anywhere for while. 🙂


Welcome to My Blog!

I am a new resident of the great state of Massachusetts and will be using this blog to chronicle my experiences, as well as the inevitable culture shock that comes from moving here from Texas. Not only will this be a place to discuss the craziness of MA – Boston in particular – but I hope this will turn into a discussion of the wonderful things, places and people who are located on the East Coast. This blog is in no way meant to offend current or former Massachusetts residents. It is a place to note my own opinions – which are not representative of the Company for which I work or the State. Hope you enjoy my thoughts, rants and discoveries! 🙂