- Pushy people. OK, it's a cliche, but it's true: folks in the South are just nicer. This manifests itself in a bunch of ways, notably when driving and when interacting with employees in stores or restaurants. There's a speed difference -- things just happen more slowly here vs. there -- but there's also a level of deference/courtesy that seems to be missing sometimes.
- The wind. When you live in a forest, the wind doesn't tend to bother you too much. When the wind is blowing a steady 30 miles per hour over the corn fields and it's 20 degrees out, it does. I've not been in winter weather since last February, and I can't say as I miss it.
- The clouds. With a bit of rain here last Tuesday, and solid cloud deck going on for hundreds of miles on Wednesday and Thursday, we didn't see the sun for more than 72 hours last week. It reminded me of the spring of 2008 or 2009, when Chicago went for 35 consecutive days with solid cloud cover. Thirty-five days of no sun. Here in Western North Carolina, we may get a day or three, and a solid rain in there, but in the year I've been here, we've not gone long before the sun breaks through.
- The terrain and trees. Wow, it's really flat outside Chicago. And the trees are short. See The Wind above. Oh, and everything is brown by this time of year -- here in the mountains, even the grass is still green.
- The time zone. Chicago is at the far eastern edge of the Central time zone; WNC is five hours west of the edge of the Eastern. Though Chicago gets morning sun sooner, the twilight comes quicker -- I think I like having sunlight on my drive/ride home from work better than in the cold morning.
- Tollbooths. Boy I'm glad I still have my I-Pass. But how did I end up behind the two out-of-staters as we hit the Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road heading home last Sunday? Geez, people, get out of the way!
17 hours ago