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Unformatted text preview: Underwood 1 Laurel Underwood Professor Herb ENG 109 4 November 2013 We’re Not In Kansas Anymore After one week of being here, I had the perfect quote to sum up my experience, “we’re not in Kansas anymore.” Well I’m not in Ohio anymore. I knew college was going to be a different experience but I was not ready for a complete culture change. The United States is one big country: I did not think cultures could change so drastically in a couple hours drive. Instead, I feel like I have been dropped into some strange land with different people and a beautiful landscape similar to Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. The language and attitudes of the people are all different in this new land, Florida. Although America does not have a set national language, most people are fluent in English. When making my decision to come down to college in Florida from Ohio, the idea of a language barrier did not even come to mind. Everyone in the north knows that the southern people are the ones with the funny accents, I mean have you ever watched a television show where they are speaking with a southern drawl? But Florida, I thought wasn’t really part of the south when it came to language because Floridians have missed out on this accent. Apparently though, they did not miss out on using different words for objects. I remember the first time I ordered a pop on campus. The cashier looked at me with glaring eyes and asked “you’re not from here, are you”? I didn’t understand what I did wrong until I realised everyone else was using the word soda. My use of one word allowed someone to know that I was not from that Underwood 2 area and if any one in Ohio used the word soda the same experience would happen to them. Dealing with languages differences has taught me to be patient with people from other countries. It can be very difficult when calling a company for technical support and having no one speak English. I use to get upset and annoyed but now I realise they are probably just as frustrated that they can not communicate properly as well. Having people call me out on my language has made me more aware also on how using different words in different setting can make people treat you differently. If you use a dialect that the people you are associating with are more comfortable with then they will respect you more. Language is a big part of someone’s culture and respecting it earns respect from those people. While the language barrier has been apparent but not horrible to deal with, the difference in people’s attitudes down south is amazing. People down south act more relaxed and unreserved than northerners. They seem to take a better view on life, taking time to enjoy where they are instead of solely focusing on work or other obligations. This attitude can be seen when ever you go to a restaurant. If I go to a McDonalds here I will wait at least 5 minutes for a burger and fries. In Ohio, this would be unacceptable. If a fast food restaurant took this long to get food out, people would walk out. The hurry to serve someone at a restaurant or store is nonexistent. While on the outside southerners seem to have less ambition, anyone from the north that I met down here warned me that people down here will backstab you without a second thought. Everyone has ambition, southerners just hide theirs until they can see a good way to improve their lives. Up north many people are mean but they are more up front about it. I do not mean to say that every southern or every northerner acts this way but the trend is apparent. It has been difficult for me to adjust to this change in people’s way of life. Underwood 3 This change of attitudes has taught me that there is not one way to live life right. I use to think that always being in a rush and never taking time for relaxing was the way to gain success. Since I have been down in Florida I have so many people who are successful taking time to enjoy their time. Back home I would have thought of this as laziness. Now I have learned that people just grow up with different values that shape how they live their live but it does not mean they’re lazy or don’t care. I now know that I should not judge people so harshly on how they act because that just may be the way they were raised. While living in the South has been difficult for me it has changed me for the better I believe. I have gained patience from waiting in lines longer and struggling to find the right word to use. I have learned that using the local slang can gain you more respect from people because it makes people think they are from the same group as themselves. Most importantly, I have learned that I am strong. There were many times this year when all this minute differences have made me want to go running back to Ohio. I missed people not asking me where I was from because I had an accent. I missed people running around, stressed because they were always working on something. I missed the sights and stores of my small town. I wanted that familiarity like a small child wants their blanket. It was comfort and I felt like I didn’t know how to fit in down here, but I have. I now know most of the local lingo and have become more relaxed in my attitude. Living down here has made me realise that even within everyone has a different culture and trying to accept a new culture can make you a better person. ...
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- Winter '20
- Ohio, Laurel Underwood, Laurel Underwood Professor