In the 1956 film “Good-bye My Lady,” Walter Brennan says to a fellow Southerner: “Had a tourist here once – a Yankee that got bit by a snake. Snake died.” It must have been fate that compelled me to watch this outdated, random movie on a Saturday morning while preparing to write this article. “Good-bye My Lady” contains several such jabs that made me laugh even though it is not a comedy and not even about Yankees. I hear quips like this every day from people who don’t realize that I’m a Northern transplant and not native to the South. So, after sixteen years in Chattanooga TN, and ten years previously in Atlanta, I would like to offer my top five tips for a successful transition into Southern living. By the way, to Southerners, a Yankee is anyone not from the South, not necessarily someone from the Northeast.
Living in Europe and being able to travel to most of the European countries, or anywhere else in the world has its advantages, but there are times when being an international citizen causes an unrest deep within that makes an expatriate hunger to return to the old Southern landmarks.
Members of the European culture usually have a settled way of life. In their eyes, Americans are admirable models of mobility. If in Germany, where I come from, a person becomes unemployed, he will look for a new job in his ancestral city first. Only when that is unsuccessful will reach out to other parts of Germany to look for a new career. Or not, it depends on lots of circumstances. People are ingrained in their communities. Visiting is easier than moving and nobody has to take an airplane to visit friends and family. To cross Germany by car even at its widest point will take you nine hours.