I’m a Midwestern girl transplanted to the south. I lived the majority of my life in good ol’ Olathe, KS, a delightful suburb of Kansas City. Needless to say when I uprooted myself and moved to Nashville, Tennessee, I was in for quite the rude awakening.
No one told me my world was going to be flipped upside down once I arrived in Nashville. People talk really slow here. In the time it takes a native Tennessean to finish one sentence, I can rattle off the entire declaration of independence. Every single food here has a crust. Macaroni and cheese? Crusted. Green bean casserole? Only if it has a crust. You like apples? Well let’s throw them in a vat of sugar and then put them in a crust! AND everyone here waves at me. I don’t know who you are stranger at the grocery store. Why are you talking to me? Why are you so friendly? What have I gotten myself into?
I was a stranger in a world full of fried foods and southern accents.
I don’t want anyone to ever have to go through what I did. It was the worst. I’m sure I looked like a tourist for at least the first 6 months I was here. People probably photographed me and tweeted things like “Look at tourist Sally here with the phone taking pictures of scenery. What a fool!!” I do not like to mocked via twitter, guys.
And that, my friends, is why I’m here to offer you my personal guide to living in Nashville. Do all these things correctly and no one will be able to tell that you are not a native Nashvillian.
1. Always wear cowboy boots. Preferably with a sundress (If you’re a female that is, probably don’t wear a dress if you’re a guy. That would be a little strange) or a plaid shirt. Also make sure to always wear a cowboy hat. It doesn’t matter if it’s classic ten gallon or leopard print, as long as you’ve got one on your head, you are a local.
2. There are country music stars on every corner. Always, and I do mean always, have your autograph book handy. You never know when you might run into Keith Urban.
3. If you can sing, you will get a record contract. There are literally NOT 100’s of struggling musicians in this town. So if you can carry a tune in a bucket, this is a good place to be.
4. Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has a horse. If you’re not riding up and down Broadway on a horse, you’re kind of a loser.
5. Opryland definitely lives up to its hype. People will tell you it’s so super cool and it’s like being outside in a beautiful garden, EXCEPT it’s inside. And they are correct. And it is totally worth the 18 dollars you have to pay to park there.
7. It’s super cool to refer to Nashville as Nashvegas. And you’ll completely understand why it’s called that once you get here.
8. People are extremely supportive of the local minor league baseball team, the Nashville Sounds. If you go to a game, you better buy your tickets months in advance. Every game is a sell out!
There you have it. 8 simple things. If you stick to them you will look and feel like a Nashvillian before you know it! There’s no way my information could ever lead you astray. It’s helped me feel right at home and it can help you too!
[Editors note: Absolutely none of this is true. I am a big fat liar. And if you follow my advice you will be very sad. Because:
1. The only people who wear boots and cowboy hats, are in fact the tourists.
2. I’ve never seen a country music star here. Ever. I did see Jordin Tootoo once. But he’s not a country music star, he’s a hockey player.
3. There are 9 trillion people here who think they can sing. Only 1/16 are actually talented. Do not come here for a record deal unless you have the voice of an actual angel
4. No one has a horse. Absolutely no one. Well, the carriage drivers down Broadway do, but they’re catering to the foolish tourists.
5. Opryland is not worth the 18 dollars. Plain and simple.
6. I would literally pay 20 dollars again, just to see Jason Aldean’s pants. So, ya, that one’s actually true.
7. I have no idea why people call this place Nashvegas. There are no showgirls or casinos.
8. No one goes to the Sounds games. I went on Tuesday. There were approximately 75 people there. If I had sneezed I’m pretty confident that the outfielders would have heard me.]