A year ago we were busily packing the house, looking for a place to rent in Michigan, putting a for-sale sign in our yard, and saying our goodbye’s. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost a year since we left our Southern home and returned to the great North.

Now, it’s no secret that I’m a Northern girl at heart. Our time in the South was filled with making friends and learning and growing and stretching, but I like a white Christmas and cool summer nights. That said, there are definitely some things I miss about the South:

1. January, February, and March

I love a white Christmas, but after last year’s record-setting winter, I found myself missing playing in our Alabama yard where you can see the grass all winter long. And going to the grocery store without six layers. And not slipping on ice in driveways and parking lots. There’s a reason my parents always came to visit us in Alabama at the end of February. Oh, and it sure is easier on your car when you don’t go through long winters. This is why Northerners look to buy cars when they’re visiting their Southern relatives.

2. The DMV

No one likes to stand in long lines to get their address changed or license renewed, but upon moving to Alabama I was pleasantly surprised by how nice the DMV staff were when they spoke to me. And not just because I had a funny accent, but because it’s simply unacceptable to be rude to customers in the South – even at the DMV.

3. Gas Station BBQ

I missed out on much of the famed Southern cooking due to my gluten intolerance. But I could eat the gas station BBQ. Besides the South, where else can you get awesome tasting BBQ at a gas station?

4. The Long Growing Season

Fruits and vegetables start early, and they just keep coming and coming. All we managed to grow during our time in Alabama were some herbs on our back porch. But friends from church graciously brought us zucchini, summer squash, blueberries, strawberries, corn, field peas (which I had to look up how to prepare), tomatoes, lettuce, green beans, pears, and more. And we had a plum tree in our front yard that yielded the sweetest, juiciest plums we’ve ever tasted.

5. A Slower Pace of Life

Fewer people are in a rush in the South. There seems to be a bit less complaining about long lines in the grocery store (perhaps because people are more likely to strike up a conversation). And it was rare to see road rage.

6. The Mountains

We had great fun playing in streams at the bottom of the mountains, doing a bit of hiking, and taking in the beauty from various lookouts.

7. The People

By far, the thing I miss most about the South are the people we connected with. We made lots of memories fast, and relationships were molded in the crucible of some tough circumstances. I will be forever grateful to everyone who took the time to get to know us, brought us food, loved us and our kiddos, and allowed us to love and serve them back.

What’s your favorite thing about the South?

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