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A first time for everything

on Tuesday, 29 May 2018. Posted in Columns, Opinions

By: Philip Maenza

Since having moved to South Carolina I have experienced my share of “firsts”. These “firsts” range from new restaurants, new words, and overall new experiences. I wanted to talk about some of these experiences that I have had. Some were good, some were great, and some are things I probably will not try again.

The first “first” I experienced by coming to South Carolina was the trip itself. This was my first time driving for more than five hours in a car. It was also my first time going through as many states as I did to get here. The trip consisted of nearly 13 hours on the road through four different states; Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and then finally South Carolina. In hindsight the trip probably would have not been as bad if not for my cat getting motion sick for the whole ride. Thirteen plus hours on the road is hard enough, but it’s even worse when you have a grumpy, confused, and car sick kitty. This is one such first that I would not like to experience again. I think in the future that air travel will be my preferred mode of transportation.

Another “first” that I had was going to the beach. I never had the opportunity to go to the beach before I moved to South Carolina. For many of you I am sure this sounds bizarre, but sadly it’s true. This was one of my “firsts” that I would definitely try again and again. I enjoyed the sun, the sand, and of course the water. I now understand why everyone up North is always raving about their week vacations to the beach. It does make me wonder with the beach only an hour away from Florence, how is everyone not there every day? Well, maybe in time the novelty will wear off, but for now I certainly am appreciative of the close proximity of the beach.

I think I am slowly beginning to pick up a slight accent from my past few months here in Florence; at least that’s what my mother tells me. On a positive note, I think I have finally mastered the appropriate use of “ya’ll”. I have a question. If you were to go to a grocery store what would you put all your groceries in? A buggy, of course! That was a first for me! I had never heard that word used before to describe a shopping cart. There are many other words that have been pronounced differently that made me take a second and think of the strange nuance of language and regional pronunciations.

A final “first” for me, which by far has been my favorite, is all the first times at different restaurants. The first time I had Chick-fil-A was when I moved down here. Let me tell you, it was a religious experience. In fact, there are a lot of restaurants I have enjoyed as some of my “firsts” such as Cook Out, Hardee’s, and Zaxby’s. By far some of my other favorite places have been the local diners in the area. The family setting and homemade style food is an area where the North is seriously lacking. I have a new appreciation and love of sweet tea, but that was not the case when I first moved down here. The first time I had sweet tea, I am not going to lie, it was a little too sweet. I actually poured some of it out and added a little bit of water. The look on the faces of the table next to me let me know right away that I committed the eighth cardinal sin.

I have grown to love all the new experiences that are put before me. I liked to treat each new “first” as a fun challenge and a way to grow myself as a person.

What are some other “firsts” I need to experience now that I live in South Carolina? Let me know! You can email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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