I’m from Lancaster. Not the South Carolina one, the Amish one.
So it’s probably no surprise to you that when I moved here two years ago, I had a lot to learn about the ways of Charlotte. After all, I had spent 90% of my life in a city with more one-room schoolhouses than Starbucks.
I now consider Charlotte my home. But here are a few things that completely amazed (and confused) me about Charlotte when I first arrived:
The streets are spotless.
After living in a much less-hygienic city (::cough:: Philly ::cough::) I was immediately struck by Charlotte’s pristine streets. All the things I was used to stepping over weren’t there. Where were all the beer cans? Discarded newspapers? Dead bodies?
Just kidding about the dead bodies. Sort of.
Charlotte’s streets are abnormally spotless compared to every other city I’ve ever lived in/been to/seen on TV. The only plausible explanation is that Charlotte has street sweepers cleaning city streets every weekday from 8am to 4pm. Well guess what? That’s exactly what they do.
Alcohol is literally everywhere.
Do you guys realize how great this is? Back in PA you can’t buy liquor anywhere other than a state owned Wine & Spirits store. It’s illegal to sell beer and wine in the same place (which is super convenient). And don’t even try to get drunk on a Sunday.
Meanwhile, here in Charlotte, you can get shots at a movie theatre, beer at a bowling alley and even a glass of wine at a nail salon. It’s seriously a challenge to find places that don’t serve alcohol. Did I mention that I love it here?
Everyone is super healthy.
Sure, people will go out and drink several NODA IPA’s on a school night, but they run three miles first.
Jewish people live here.
Ever since I can remember, I have always surrounded myself with Jewish people. I’ve worked at Jewish camps, dated Jewish guys and even rushed a Jewish sorority.
So when I moved to Charlotte and saw that one of the parkways was named after Billy Graham, I assumed I would have to suck it up and find some non-Jewish friends.
But to my absolute delight, I learned that the ol’ Bible Belt has a buckle. And that buckle is the Jewish community in Charlotte.
And, no, this isn’t just some dinky community. In fact, Charlotte has the largest Jewish population in the Carolinas. To prove it, there is a 54-acre park in South Charlotte full of temples, community centers and even a school.
So yes, Jewish people do live in Charlotte. And thank goodness, because I convinced one of them to date me. (And he’s super cute.)
But seriously. Why?
Doctor’s offices are inside beautiful homes.
Do Charlotteans even know this is weird? Podiatrists, dentists and even dog doctors hold office hours inside cute little cottages surrounded by flowering trees and loveliness.
Up north, doctor’s offices are located in stucco-laden office parks. So imagine how confused I was when I went to my first Charlotte dentist appointment and my GPS led me to this:
As I walked up the front porch I felt like I was about to enter a housewarming party, not get a cavity filled. Was I supposed to ring the doorbell? Take my shoes off at the door?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d rather be reprimanded about my poor flossing habits while inside a cute house rather than some sterile office building. The only problem is that now when I go to my doctor’s appointments I’m not sure if I should bring my insurance card or a bottle of wine.
After moving here, the city of Charlotte surprised me in many ways. And honestly, it continues to surprise me. That’s why I’m glad I decided to make this weird place my home.