Buddy Love tunic (old and was found on ebay); Time and True maternity jeans: Stevie heeled sandal; hat from Belk (similar Here and Here and Here)
So we have been down here in Savannah for about 3 months. I will not say I am an expert at this city or a know-it-all for southern culture. What I can say that after being down here I have learned to really appreciate some of the southern lifestyle and culture. I want to share some of my favorite aspects so far.
Friendliness and hospitality
It really is true that there is such a thing as southern hospitality. The people down here have been very friendly and it is just about everywhere. ThSae staff at stores have gone above and beyond to greet customers, smile, and make the customers feel warm and invited. This is not something I am used to being in the Chicago area. Going into a place like a Walmart or Target I was not really acknowledged. Most of the time the greetings were very much just rote with the basic "Hi, did you find everything ok?" Down here the staff will try to engage me in a conversation and make the experience very friendly. They ask me how my day is going. They smile and they seem to enjoy working where they are. I have been randomly complicated on part or all of my outfits, I have people talking to me about my pregnancy. It has lead me to experience a sense of safety and being at home on these random experiences.
Small town feel
Being from Chicago and living in the area for all of my life, you definitely feel the enormity of the territory. There are so many people and so many things. Getting places can be a long drive because the vast size of the Chicagoland area. You can tell there is too many people because traffic is everywhere. It could take us an hour to get downtown from where we were living. Down here in Savannah, things are much closer. It can take us 15-20minutes to get downtown. Everything is so close and walking proximity. There is such a vibe of being in an actual city but still having a small town feel. There are 2 Targets both 15 minutes from each other, 2 Home Depots also 15 minute drive, tons of churches, tons of parks. Savannah is a community. The traffic isn't daunting. The roads are often open. It just feels easier to exist and manage the day to day living.
The city is a very beautiful city. I think alot of this for me is seeing trees and plants being grown down here that do not grow up north. Buildings that aren't pretty often times have such beautiful colored trees like Crepe Myrtles or have the Spanish moss hanging down. The parks are old and have such charm. There are so many colorful homes and buildings that I sometimes feel like I am living in a rainbow (for proof, just look at my picture in front of our local rainbow row). There are water views everywhere with the marsh areas or the little canals. I keep finding these new areas and pockets of the city I have yet to explore and I can just feel the history there. There are some bushes in the backyard that seemed so blah but then all of a sudden these white flowers started blossoming. There is a tree in our yard that looked like a basic green tree and then early in the summer these bright pink flowers started blooming. Foliage down here is not at all basic. There is a vividness and lushness to the plants. Driving down the busy road the drive is nicer with pretty pink trees down the median. I feel so much more calm and less anxious since moving down here. I have also been in love with the architecture of the churches down here. I am not a church goer and have really not been that interested or inspired by churches. Down here they are jaw-dropping in beauty. The doors are exquisite. The pillars are enormous. The colors are bright and inviting. I have actually started using some churches as backdrops to my pictures because of how glorious they are. The old plantation style homes are beautiful and the small cottages are adorable. I have become inspired creatively by my general surroundings. It has been a very positive feeling.
Living down here has been much less expensive. Sales tax is at least a couple percent cheaper down here. Parking is a breeze. In the city of Chicago, you have to park on any of the streets except for the ones that need a permit sticker (which you have to pay for). There is garage parking but good luck finding something less than $30 for the day. Down here, $10 for the day is the norm. Streets are free to park on in most of the city. There are times I have to get out and look around and question if parking is really this easy and if I am missing a sign saying I need to pay to park or parking is not allowed (it really is this easy). Gas down here is around 40 cents cheaper a gallon. Income tax is less expensive. I don't need a city sticker to have a car. Since moving down here we have had more disposable income and have the same salaries than we did up in Illinois. That is another less stress to worry about.
There are definitely some food from Chicago that I miss, the biggest thing being the pizza. We have yet to find a good pizza place. Most of the stuff around is chain places and the other ones are NY style. I miss the chain places like Portillo's. What the area makes up for is the fresh seafood and produce. The seafood restaurants are so amazing and most you can tell had freshly caught fish and shrimp. I do not eat beef but my husband has great things to say about the steaks and burgers. There are farmers markets and produce stands on the corners that offer freshly picked fruits and veggies. There is something extra delicious when the items are grown closer to where they are sold. Even things like oranges and bananas are coming from closer places and they taste it too. Trust me, there are corn fields around I see them all over and the corn is just as fresh here as it is in Illinois. I have not been let down by the restaurants and quality of the food. I mean come on, the south is known for their bbq. Their bbq is amazing! Fresh pies, fresh cakes, puddings, and amazing bakery foods (my favorite). You won't go hungry while being here.
I will start out saying that Chicago was very diverse BUT segregated. There are so many different cultures in Chicago and people living there from all over the world. It is great but everyone has their own separate community. Down here there are many different cultures and everyone lives together. On my block alone there are many different races I see living amongst each other. There are people all over the country and all over the world. One reason for that is the military. In Beaufort, there is the Marine Corps bases. In Savannah there is the army base. I have met other Chicago transplants, people from Ohio, Michigan, and a big east coast presence. It has been fun to meet people from all over and learn the story of what brought them to Savannah.
Of course there is so much more I can talk about, one being the weather. I have only experienced one season here and that is summer. Summer down here is very hot and very humid. It has been the roughest part. Give me another 6 months and I am sure I will have more about this to speak to. I have always felt that I had a bit of an old southern soul. I like old, charming and historic over modern and new. There is not much modern about Savannah or even where I work in low county South Carolina. It feels peaceful. It feels relaxing. It feels like home. For now, I plan on staying and Chicago will just be a place I can talk about, memories to share, and a place with people to go visit