When people find out from Virginia, you might get a range of reactions. Some people who have been here before might remember some of the beautiful places and people they encountered. Others might jump straight to some of the stereotypes about “the South.” And others? They’re just curious. Here are some of the questions you’re likely to be asked. Now, I know not everyone has been asked each of these. But, personally, I have!
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1. What's with all the signs?
You mean all the historical markers? Consider it an outdoor classroom. Virginia's history is long, diverse, complex and absolutely fascinating. It's hard to find a corner of the state that wasn't the site of something significant - and that's a fact we're proud of.
2. How can you stand the humidity?
Oh, you get used to it after awhile.
3. You REALLY don't think you have an accent?
ME: No. Ah down't think Ah do at all.
THEM: Did you just hear yourself?
4. Virginia…that's like West Virginia, right?
NO. No, it is NOT. Separate states completely. As in different state lines, different state governments and if you'll please pay attention closely here…COMPLETELY DIFFERENT NAMES! Otherwise, the confusion is understandable.
5. Why do so many people come here for college?
If you went to college in Virginia, you might have noticed the high percentage of out-of-staters. And the reason is simple. Virginia has some of the top schools in the nation, with many of our schools making national lists time and again.
6. Speaking of college, what's a Wahoo, anyway?
Technically, a fish. Some will tell you that it's a fish that can drink twice its own weight. But "Wahoo" or "Hoo" is also a nickname for the University of Virginia Cavaliers, originally derived from the "Wa-hoo-wa" cheer that UVA students have been shouting for more than a century.
7. And a Hokie? I suppose you can explain that one, too?
Why, yes. As a matter of fact, I can. Like "Wahoo," the term "Hokies," as Virginia Tech students, fans and alum are known, came from a cheer used in the late 1800s. Today, the HokieBird (a turkey) is the official school mascot. You have to admit, being known as "The Hokies" is a step up from when they were called "The Gobblers."
8. Why can't people here drive in the snow?
This is usually asked by people from Boston or Denver or some other place where it snows 275 days out of the year. It's all relative, people. And we CAN drive in the snow…just not that well. Sorry.
9. What, exactly, is "apple butter"?
Apples, cinnamon and love. It might be the most delicious thing ever spread on a piece of bread.
10. So…do you know Dave Matthews?
No, not personally. But I do know some people who do. That's all I can say about that.
11. Does everyone in Virginia hunt?
No, of course not. But I did...once. In the words of my companion at the time, I am what is known as "very loud." However, many people in Virginia DO hunt, effectively keeping deer and other wildlife populations at bay. And many use the meat throughout the year.
12. My brother-in-law's neighbor's Uncle Jim lives in Virginia. Do you know him?
No, I do NOT know him…oh. Wait. Where's he from? Because if it's near my hometown, most likely. And we are possibly related. Otherwise, let it be known, for the record, we're not the biggest state in the nation, but we don't ALL know each other.
13. Wait…if you live in Northern Virginia, why did you say you were from D.C.?
It's just easier that way. Otherwise it's a 20 minute explanation of what suburb you're REALLY from. We like to keep things simple.
14. Did you grow up on a tobacco farm?
No, but it's an understandable mistake. Many farmers have made their living from tobacco for generations, and many people are employed thanks to Philip Morris. But Virginia's top crops are actually nursery plants, corn, soybeans, wheat, and hay.
15. Have you ever dated your cousin?
NO…at least I don't think so. Again, you're thinking of WEST Virginia. Hahaha…just kidding, WV. You know we love you.
16. How many presidents' homes have you been to?
A lot. Like…a lot. It's kind of hard not to when more U.S. presidents were born in Virginia than any other state.
17. Speaking of which, what's up with Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings?
Seriously. People have asked me this, and the truth? I have no idea. I wasn't there. All I know is that TJ did some pretty amazing things for our country. At this point, I usually launch into a recitation of the Declaration of Independence…or the parts I know, at least.
18. Oh! I went to Colonial Williamsburg once. Have you been there?
Duh. Only a bazillion times. This is mandatory school field trip material.
19. Michael Vick is from Virginia, isn't he?
Sigh. Yes. In his defense, while the dog fighting thing was deplorable, he did his time and an incredible amount of positive advocacy for animal welfare has come from it. Let's move on...
20. Is I-95 always this bad?
Yes, sadly, I am afraid so. But, when you consider that 60% of the U.S. population lives within a day’s drive of Virginia, you're going to have to get through us to get many of the places you want to go. It's just something that we can all suffer together.
21. Why can't you just have unsweetened tea? There's sugar on the table.
This is usually followed by, "Please stop. You're making a scene." But the answer is no, no, no!! It's just not the same. I can put 50 sugar packets in and it still won't be the same. Just trust me on this one.
22. Virginia is for Lovers…what does that even MEAN?
Spend a little time here. You'll get it. I promise.
What have we left off the list? Tell us your favorite out-of-state questions about Virginia in the comment below!