Passionate About the Community
and the Moms Who Live Here

10 Things I’ve Learned as a Transplant to CHS

  1. Manners count: use your sir and ma’am. It felt so foreign to me the first time I used “ma’am” and even more so when someone said it to me! I am someone who takes manners very seriously so I immediately asked around about what, how, and when my kids should use the terms of respect. Word on the street was that if you’re not from here, people expect you won’t do it all the time and in the appropriate ways. But some teachers in the school system are VERY big on it, so make sure your kiddos know when to pull out their southern charm.

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  2. Y’all is a surprisingly useful term. While it didn’t immediately flow off the tongue– it started to apply more and more when talking to friends, colleagues, parents of playdates, and teachers. Don’t remember everyone’s name? “What are y’all up to this weekend?” Want to be more gender neutral than “you guys?” “Hey y’all.” Want to really emphasize something you’re about to say? “Y’allllll…..” It’s so useful and really, really cute when a three-year-old with a NJ accent says it.

  3. Strip mall restaurants are amazing. I am still surprised every time I venture into a new restaurant housed in a random, run-down, or simply ordinary looking stripmall and it’s ahhhmazing. Small businesses crop up everywhere here in the Lowcountry– slap a sign on it, and you’re good to go! And they typically have really, really good eats. Our favorite Chinese restaurant, Gullah/soulfood restaurant, and coffee shop are each tucked away in very informal strip malls and are so good that I’ve sent friends to each of them and used them for catering on various occasions. Want to support local? Keep an eye out for small, hidden gems!

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  4. Things are never as crowded as I am worried they’ll be. In the NYC area where we hail from, there are eight million people in the local area. So that means that when there’s a festival, parade, or free family-friendly event, it’s always so incredibly crowded that it makes it just not fun for anyone. Therefore, I tended to shy away from these types of weekend fun when we first moved here. But, one time when I felt particularly brave– we ventured out and SHOCKER, there was parking, it was fun, and we were not waiting in crazy long lines! What?! Now, I scour blogs like this one and we show up! Bounce house? Live music? Fresh produce? We are THERE.

  5. You will always meet someone from where you come from. I worried, too much, about our “otherness” when we first moved here. Until I went to new Mom/running/church groups and realized there are so many people from all over in this awesome community of ours that I have never felt like an outsider or weirdo. At a bbq or beer garden, I can typically find someone with Jersey roots and memories of living in NYC. Fun to commiserate and even more fun to talk about how much we love our new home.

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  6. Join a group of some sort. Related: do not be afraid to join a group and try something new! Especially with other mamas. This city is all about making people feel welcome, and I have made the very best new friends I have through groups of moms, runners, writers and actors. As I mentioned above- this is an area teeming with new folks. The shifting population means that most others are as eager to meet people as you are; get those kids and get thee to a summer playdate sisters!

  7. Eat, eat, eat. The food scene in Charleston is incredible– and there’s nothing better than discovering new treats at all of our local farmers’ markets, from food trucks or simply gathering with friends for an oyster roast. Food here is taken seriously, and I have loved introducing my kids to fresh local fruit, incredible seafood, and local traditions like boiled peanuts.

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  8. Beer, beer, beer. It’s no secret that Charleston can be a bit of a boozy town! But what I love is that typically beer and beer gardens are also family-friendly. This was a new experience for me, and I love being able to (responsibly) enjoy a delicious local brew while my kids play and enjoy time outdoors with friends.

  9. Weather happens, go with it. The running joke is that you can have all four seasons in one day here in the Lowcountry– and it’s not too far off base! I typically have extra clothes and layers for my boys in the car, and they have been known to quip back at me “we’re not gonna melt mama!” True babies, very true. On the flip side, beach weather happens for about ¾ of the year, so you can also carry bathing suits and pails with you for spontaneous beach or river adventures!

  10. Once you plant some roots here, you won’t want your family to leave. My plan was to be here for two years and then head back home. Except then we started to ease into the Lowcountry lifestyle; enjoying the beautiful weather, family friendly events, food and drink-centered lifestyle, and music, art, and theater that is so incredible here. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but at some point I just made the decision to put down roots. To bloom right here, where we’ve found ourselves planted.

    Are you a CHS transplant?  If so, what have you learned in your time spent living here?

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