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Moving to North Carolina has been a long, drawn-out transition. When we moved here I felt out-of-place, had to ask a ton of questions, learn new routines, make friends and find a sense of place. A friend of ours said in numerous conversations that it takes two years to adjust and for a place to feel  like home. I guess he might be right because after two and a half years I just gave up my Michigan cell phone number to get a local one. I’m not sure when it happened but I may have gone native! Here are some obvious signs.

10. Small trips to the store no longer require herculean planning sessions. Rather than only knowing main street, I now know the best routes, shortcuts and can get there by bus, foot or bike.

9. I’ve adapted to Sunday brunch instead of Saturday breakfast. It took some time to figure out why we couldn’t find a good breakfast joint until we realized the cultural habits here. Now we love a good Crook’s Corner brunch and enjoy the lazy start to a Sunday.

8. I can decode bumper stickers. TI stands for Topsail Island. OBX is Outer Banks.

7. I  know where at least a dozen communities are in this state (and no longer have to say “where’s that?” to every geographic reference).

6. At the end of a request, I say “please” a little more down here. (When we first moved here my daughter said we needed t-shirts that said, “We’re not rude, we’re from the north.” Being direct and to the point seems a little brusk in these parts).

5. I sometimes actually crave grits (cheese grits, but hey).

4. 35 degrees feels bone-chilling cold now.

3. We no longer own an ice scraper or snow shovel (and when there is frost on the window, we just use whatever we have like a piece of wood or a plastic bottle…it’s surprising how well a little cap can cut through the ice).

2. I grew a winter garden this year (I didn’t even know that was possible before!)

And the # 1 tell of a native…

1.  BBQ is not a verb...and make mine vinegar-based (with hush puppies and cole slaw please)!