First Impressions

I’ve been a Tarheel for six weeks today. Eight years ago, when I arrived in California via Eastern Europe, after detoxing from my second-hand smoke withdrawal, I grew to love being able to eat in restaurants without hanging my clothes outside afterward to air them out. (Of course, that’s ignoring the fact that clotheslines are considered eyesores and thus frowned upon in California.)  I was a bit concerned what it would be like to take a few steps backwards and live in the land where Tobacco once reigned, that is, before Vineyards staged their coup and took over the tobacco fields. On January 1st, restaurants in my new state became smoke-free!  North Carolina is not so far behind the Golden State after all.

There was one more thing that I figured I’d prefer in California: the ease of recycling. When I unpacked 101 boxes in October, I found out I had to break them all down and stuff them, along with mounds of wrapping paper, into my small car bound for the solitary recycling spot in our town. I figured that’d be about 37 round trips, a rather daunting task. The day after Steve and I arrived, we received a flyer at our door for a brand-new door-to-door recycling service, which even brought a special truck to pick up our 101 boxes in one trip. Finito.

Those were my biggest two concerns and already, they’re both resolved. The other differences I’ve noticed are only good. There’s relatively no traffic (at least compared to San Francisco), neighbors come to the front porch to chat or deliver welcome gifts, drivers are courteous and not in a hurry, church service times are listed on Saturday’s news, the cable guy and phone installer take their time and chew the fat with us (think Andy Griffith), there are no fences between houses, it’s not unusual for people in restaurants to bow their heads before eating, and our bank teller hugged us when we opened an account (and it wasn’t for millions). Oh, and did I mention that people are friendly here?

OK, I admit it. I’m in the honeymoon phase. I mean, even three weeks of sub-freezing temperatures (which everyone claims are abnormal) haven’t dampened my enthusiasm.

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