Memorial Day being right around the corner which means PCS season is coming. While you’re all busy scheduling movers, pouring over school reviews and making the 432,458 lists we need throughout the process, make sure you include this list. Or, at least grin a little while you read it.

I’ve polled all of the MilKids and Spouses I know to compile this comprehensive (okay, semi-complete) list of need-to-know words and terms from all over the country. Realizing this won’t help you decorate that new house just so, it might keep you from being the oh-so-obvious newbie to a town.

If you’re the moving to West Coast;

If you’re the moving to West Coast;

  • Train your brain now to stop saying, “The left coast” and get used to saying “The best coast”!
  • If someone tells you they have a “grip” of extra veggies from their garden, they mean a lot. Don’t spend a minute of your life trying to figure out what that precise number is.
  • If your move takes you to the Pacific Northwest, you’ll never eat potato wedges again. Oh, you could possibly enjoy some sliced potatoes that have been fried, but you’re not getting any unless you call them Jo-Jos when you order.
  • If someone gives you directions, “the 5” and “the 405” refer to Interstate Highways…. there is no use in waiting for further clarification on that point

If you are moving to the Southwest:

  • When someone tells you they’ll do that “right now”, they actually mean later. I’d love to explain this one further, but it defies logic….
  • During the 3.5 days a year that the temperature actually drops, you’ll likely hear, “Oh, it’s fresh outside…” I promise you, the weather isn’t getting smart with anyone, it’s just cold.
  • The southwest is mostly desert, so if you find a house with a swamp cooler, it’s not a mistake. This is a type of home cooling system that relies on evaporated water. BUT-this is not the same as AC, commonly referred to down here as “refrigerated air”.

If you are moving to New England:

  • Plan on never ordering ice cream with sprinkles. You are however welcome to order it with jimmies.
  • If you’re thirsty, ask someone to point you towards the “bubbla” …. that will get you to a drinking fountain. Some of those I polled claimed this for the Midwest but I learned it up north.
  • Got trash? Plan on throwing it in the barrel, known everywhere else in the country as a trash can.
  • There are no shopping carts in New England…plenty of carriages…but not a shopping cart in the whole region!
  • Important note: NOTHING is pronounced phonetically up there, making street and highway signs useless. For example: the town Peabody should be pronounced “peebuddy” and the town Leominster is pronounced ‘Lemon-ster”.

For those headed to the Southeast:

  • They also have an aversion to words “shopping cart” and prefer to call it a buggy.
  • Although well known, it’s important to point out that all carbonated soft drinks are coke. All. Of. Them.
  • No one, I mean no self-respecting lady anyway, carries a purse down south. A proper southerner carries a pocketbook.
  • When someone tells you they’re “fixin’ “to do something, unlike their counterparts in the west, they are actually about to do it!

If you’re on your way to the Midwest:

  • Your neighbor may ask you, “J’eat”? What they’d like to know is have you eaten yet.
  • PCS season is a good time to replace certain household items. If a vacuum is on that list, plan on shopping for a sweeper.
  • For any given answer that is a yes, try responding with “You betcha’”!
  • That same neighbor that asked, “J’eat?” may bring you a hot dish. Fear not, it’s just a casserole.

No matter where you’re headed, this next chapter is sure to be a good one. You’ll turn that house into a home in no time and, before you know it, you’ll sound just like a local. For the next 18-24 months anyway….

Written by: Kelley Babbs, Blue Star Families Senior Advisor for Technology, Army Veteran, and Army Spouse!