Mondays on Zelda & Scout are all about you! In a series we call “Just Folks,” we talk to Southerners who have found their way to New York about where they’re from, where they are now, and what home means to them.
This week we have the lovely Stephanie Walker! Steph hails from deep in heart of Texas, which she would like to remind you is not technically the South (at least as she sees it), but she was kind enough to chat with us anyway (to be fair she relies on Scout to pay part of the rent, so that might have swayed her).
New York Citayyyyy
Who are you and what do you do?
I work as a Shift Supervisor at Starbucks, and an Operations Intern at Movement Research, which is a dance organization that has programs and classes and all sorts of things. I would like to take more dance classes, try and do some performing, and get a job that will pay me money to do interesting things for the dance world.
Time North of the Mason-Dixon line so far?
2 years (plus 3 years before the age of 3)
What brought you to New York?
Dance, and maybe also adventure?
What’s the most common reaction when people learn where you’re from? What’s something about life in the South that you have to explain to non-Southerners?
“But you don’t have an accent.” I have to explain that I’ve lived other places and that my parents aren’t from Texas.
Also, Texas isn’t technically the South. Just gotta point it out for the survey, and also sometimes I have to explain that to people, or sometimes people yell it at me.
Describe life in NYC as people at home picture it. Describe life in NYC as it actually is.
As they picture it: subways, hanging out all the time, doing interesting things.
As it is: subways forever, terrible weather, all of the booze, but mostly all of the work, all of the time, for all of the people.
Where do you consider home? Why?
Austin. I’ve lived there the longest out of anywhere, and most of my stuffed animals are still there. But I do like my apartment here.
Do you miss where you’re from? Do you see yourself going back?
I definitely miss aspects of Austin. I miss driving and some of the weather and some of the views and restaurants and things to do. I would potentially go back, but it isn’t my first choice. I don’t have strong feelings about wanting to live there again, but it is definitely a nice city.
Do you consider yourself a Southerner? Do you consider yourself a New Yorker? Why or why not?
As I mentioned, Texas isn’t THE SOUTH. So I do in a way see myself as a Texan, but also as someone who has moved around; I don’t like to fully put myself in one box. I was born in upstate New York, moved to Texas at age 3, moved to San Diego at age 8, then moved back to Texas at age 13. So basically I’m pretty wishy-washy about it (as with most things).
Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines New York for you? (choose as many or as few as you’d like)
The Chrysler Building is very iconic of New York for me. Also all sorts of craft beers and specialty drinks, and I feel like pickle backs are very New York? But I don’t particularly identify with them.
Which food/drink/song/book/movie/artwork/quotation/gif/etc. defines where you’re from? (choose as many or as few as you’d like)
“The stars at night are big and bright…deep in the heart of Texas.”
Also “Keep Austin Weird,” the Austin City Limits Festival, and a big ol’ Star.
What is the best cure for homesickness?
Calling your mom, and making your roomie drink beer with you.