Thursday, June 21, 2007

throw us your thoughts thursday... it's a whole 'nother world!

Okay, so I'm actually kind of cheating on my first Throw Us Your Thoughts Thursday post. It's not really a topic of great debate, or probably even much of an opinion. Just some fun personal observations in my move from one side of the country to (almost) the other. I've been saying I would post this for close to a year now, and I really wanted to get it done since we're leaving this state... so I'm combining it with my Thoughts on Thursday post. Comment with your two cents if you have any, or add any geographical/cultural differences you've come across in your own little world (especially if you've moved around a lot!!), and see how different we all are!

So here it is...
My collective list of differences between where we came from and where we are.
I would simply say the differences between the West Coast and the Midwest, but I'm not so sure they are consistent on either end. Mostly this end, as I'm positive a lot of these are unique Michigan things and many of them actually unique Jackson things! LOL!

First, the language.
Aside from the accent, YES YOU PEOPLE HAVE AN ACCENT, there are a lot of saying, terms, and words that are different than what we were used to a year ago.
The accent: It's hard to explain. The best example I have is when we confused our neighbor by talking about "DON" and she kept thinking we meant a female "DAWN". Now where we come from, there is no sound difference in those two names. Dawn and Don sound exactly the same. Here they are "DaWWWn" and "Deahn". In our vocabulary, the words Don, Mom, Gone and so forth all rhyme with lawn, drawn, pond, etc. Here, words like Don, Mom, Gone and Tomorrow have a very drawn out almost nasally A sound rather than a long O sound. And don't get me started on the accent in words like cEAHr and pEAHp, --car and pop for those who don't speak Michiganese.
I could actually do a whole post someday on accents and the different ways people pronounce the same words. Here's a good quiz that's exactly what I'm talking about....
What American Accent do you have?
here's mine

What American accent do you have?
My Result: The Midland

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

Anyway, back to my thoughts.
Now for some of the words themselves...
  • Grilling- we slowly learned that where we were used to having BARBEQUES back home, here we have to have a COOKOUT or we're GRILLING OUT, we are NOT barbecuing.
  • Working Shifts- On the West Coast, if you're working shifts, they are Dayshift, Swingshift (nights), or Graveyard shift. Here they are first second and third shift. This is one that was very confusing to me, as almost everyone here works in these shifts and even if they work a regular bank hours kind of job, people call it first shift. And everyone is assumed to know the shifts. Like when I was telling my hairdresser about my husband's job, she asked if he worked first shift. Ummm... yeah.(???) What the heck is first shift? Everyone, and I mean everyone talks about these shifts in simply the first second or third and no one ever mentions times and if you don't know the names of the shifts it is quite confusing!! My husband works daytime hours... 7 to4 okay?!
  • Tanning- which is a much bigger Midwest thing than in Portland by the way (unless you're in highschool tanning for Spring Break or Prom), is not called tanning here, but going to the tanner. Instead of saying I went tanning or I've been tanning, everyone says I went to the tanner or I've been going to the tanner lately. This is just a funny little one I notice often.
  • I know there are a handful more, but I'm drawing a blank now...
Here are some other notable differences...
Party Stores- What do you suppose you would find at a party store? If you're from the Northwest, you would probably expect to find balloons, party decorations, matching plates, cups and napkins in every imaginable color and character, gifts, party favors, etc... Stuff for whatever birthday, holiday, graduation, over the hill or retirement party you may be planning.
But if you live in Jackson, you go to the party store for liquor, beer, cigarettes, ice, mixers, and that kind of stuff. You know... for a party. Is that what people around here think a party is?

Also, that fact that in Oregon and Washington (not sure which other states do and don't do this) always have separate
party liquor stores. They do not sell alcohol in grocery or convenience stores out there like they do here. We coudn''t just buy a fifth of Captain's with the rest of our grocery list. We would have to make a separate stop at a Liquor Store. And the hours are limited and closed on Sundays.

Stollers always... rarely front packs and never a backpack for your baby- I know no one here who owns a baby backback. They don't even know what you would use that for. Rarely do I see frontpacks or slings either. But strollers? Those are everywhere! Moms have their babies in strollers everywhere. Target? You don't use a cart, you bring in your stroller. Even in grocery stores, I see more infant seats in strollers than in the shopping carts.

Recycling- obviously Portland is going to be much heavier on the recycling front than a Midwest state. But can you believe there is a ten cent deposit on cans and bottles here, and many people don't even recycle those?! And no curbside recycling.
And conservation- people waste water like you wouldn't believe. Okay, I probably shouldn't go so far as say waste, but they are sure less water conscience than we're used to. For one, we don't really pay for water use here. I mean, we pay, but it's a flat fee every month( just $30), and it is not dependent on a meter. It doesn't matter if we use 1 gallon or 100,000, it's the same every month. And for some reason people here, just don't follow the water "rules" that we're used to. Like watering lawns? If you walk through our neighborhood at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, I'll bet you almost every yard will have sprinklers on. Not only on, but running for at least 3 hours. I am not exaggerating. I noticed the other day that our next door neighbor (the older obsessive lawn mower lady) had her sprinkler on and in the same spot in the front part of her lawn for over 5 hours... we had turned our water on at the same time in the morning, and I had watered our whole yard, moving the sprinkler to five different locations, and then turning it off, and she had that one sprinkler still in the same spot 2 hours later. Even the yard with sprinkler systems on timers... they are usually on in the middle of the afternoon. I mean, yeah, the yards are green, but haven't they ever heard of the standard "your lawn needs an inch of water a week and it's best to do it early in the day so there's less evaporation"? Hasn't everyone heard a filled tuna can in the yard is enough water for the week? And not at the hottest part of the day!!!

And, last but not least... Have you ever seen this? (*Well, I meant to get a picture by now, but it hasn't happened. Picture a six pack of beer/pop in the plastic ring carrier things hanging over the side of a grocery cart... three on the inside, three on the outside KWIM?*)
This is how people shop here. I had never seen this before. If you walk through the grocery store, you will find pop, water, gatorade, whatever comes in packs like this, slung over the side of grocery carts. I admit it is pretty smart, and I would have never have thought of such a space saving solution myself... I just throw it on the bottom of the cart if I don't have room LOL!... but it was sure funny to see at first. Because it's on like every other cart! And it's not just with full carts.... someone can be walking around with an empty cart and still their four six packs are hanging around the sides of their cart! This is so common in fact, that when my parents first visited here, they noticed it with their first trip in a grocery store and came home and asked us about it. Why does everyone hang their pop on the side of their carts? I felt like we missed out on some shopping space saver class that everyone else had been to and we had been left out of the loop! This one is definitely a Jackson thing. Hmmm. I wonder if we can get it to catch on else where?

Whew! That was a long one!!
Okay, so like I said... be sure and leave a comment and join in on the "conversation". At the very least, go take that accent quiz and let me know how it turned out!!!
If you're a blogger and you want to join in on our Throw Us Your Thoughts Thursday posts, pick a topic that's been on your mind and write about it!! Or you can elaborate more on anyone else's topic for the day that you like. I'll add links here to others I know are taking part. You can also leave a link yourself in the comments here.
Other Thursday Thoughtfuls so far....


Denise said...

I'm from Utah & my test said I use western speech which means most people would say I have no accent.

After talking to Leslie on the phone, I would have to agree on the Michigan accent thing - it is so different from Utah.

The party store here is just that...a place to buy party supplies and we have a liquor store to buy liquor (in a separte building, like you said).

Question: Do people in Michigan say Pop or Soda?

Ryan said...

People in Michigan say pop, but people in St. Louis say soda. Check out for who says what, where.

K.M. Laughlin said...

alrighty....for the accent, I am complete Midland, 100%, which makes sense b/c that's where I am from! ha!

Here in St. Louis and Columbia, we call BBQ, BBQing...not grilling. :) For instance, "Hey, we are having a BBQ on July 27th...come on over!" If you want to go tanning, then that's exactly what you say...we don't say I'm going to the tanner...weird!!! Party store is a place to get decorations for a party, ballons, napkins, etc. A liquor store or grocery store is for alcohol. :)

Kristyn said...

A very interesting topic. I moved from Michigan(Vandercook) to Virginia about a year and a half ago. Upon arriving I could barely understand anything my husband's family was saying to me. I just sat there and laughed, hoping they were talking about something funny. I now can understand everyone, but the terminology here is quite different than I am use to hearing. Some examples pocketbook=purse, kin people=relatives, reckon=assume, ya'll=everybody, buggy=shopping cart. I am sad to say that I have now begun using some of the above phrases, and oh how it pains me sometimes.
On the accent topic, I did not feel that people from lower Michigan had an accent until my husband lived in Michigan for a year. When we moved to Virginia and we were around people talking I realized he had gained the nasally talk that us Michiganders have when we speak.
Anyways I enjoyed your topic and look forward to future topics

Emilie said...

I posted my thought for thursday on my blog!

Gabe & Heidi's P.A.D. said...

I knew some people from Minnesota and was fascinated when I went shopping with them for the first time and they did the soda-over-the-side-of-the-cart thing. It freaked me out.

Trish_the_Fish said...

LOL... here's what my results were- which is so true, I always get asked if I am from Wisconsin or Minnesota-

Your Quiz Results Appear BelowYour results for this quiz have been calculated and are presented below:

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Inland North

You may think you speak "Standard English straight out of the dictionary" but when you step away from the Great Lakes you get asked annoying questions like "Are you from Wisconsin?" or "Are you from Chicago?" Chances are you call carbonated drinks "pop."

Anonymous said...