2. The streets are definitely not laid out in a grid pattern. You can start out going north on a street and it will curve east or west and sometimes double around and be headed south. We have discovered that, fortunately, most streets wind up feeding into Western Blvd,, Marine Blvd., or Lejeune Blvd. and this helps.
3. We have yet to find "downtown" Jacksonville, though I believe it does exist. Growth has been in all directions and all we have found are subdivisions and shopping centers branching out from the main boulevards.
4. Baking at sea level is different from baking at 5000 ft. We had several sheets of burnt cookies (also known as Cajun blackened) until I learned how to adjust the baking time.
5. We mostly see lots of fast food places, hair salons advertising Marine hair cuts, car dealers, tattoo parlors, bars, and "clubs". Bob does want to point out that there are also stores like Harbor Freight, Lowe's, and Home Depot but that I won't let him buy anything there.
6. Because there are so many young Marine families, Walmart here is huge and always packed any time of the day. Think Costco on a Saturday.
7. Camp Lejeune covers an immense amount of territory. We have spent an inordinate amount of time and gas locating the bases within Camp Lejeune where we need to pick up Marines to bring to church. Right now we work with young Marines at 4 different bases or camps, and, of course, they are on opposite ends of Camp Lejeune. In between camps there are vast tracks of forested land with miles and miles of roads. I would love to see it all from the air some day so I can envision how it fits together.
We have split our responsibilities between the Abneys and ourselves so each couple is responsible for about half the base and each of us has one of the wards as our primary responsibility.
8. The flight path for Marine planes and helicopters goes right over our apartments. We often see the Osprey which looks like a cross between a plane and a helicopter. Bob tells me they can take off and land vertically.
9. Ontos still exist (at least in museums). Bob commanded a company of these anti-tank vehicles when he was in Okinawa in the 60's. He was excited to see this particular Ontos displayed in the parking lot of Sam's Club, on loan from the Marine Museum.
10. Food is more expensive here than in Salt Lake, especially milk. Pecans, however, are cheaper here and cost less than walnuts.
11. No one seems to know where a post office is located. When we ask in a store or elsewhere, people just shrug their shoulders and reply they don't ever use a post office. We have a small post office near our apartment, but it is only for picking up packages. They do not sell stamps or mail packages. Go figure.
12. Every fast food place has these huge containers of sweet iced tea on the counter next to the soft drink dispensers. Iced tea is very popular here in the South.
13. North Carolinians still use hound dogs (coon dogs?) for hunting. Last week we saw 3 pick-up trucks pulled off to the side of the road next to a forested area and in the back of each pick-up were special carriers with several hounds in each. I love the sound of hounds baying. Back in East Millcreek we had a hound somewhere in the neighborhood that would set up a howl each morning and I looked forward to hearing it.
14. Siri on our Iphone has a sense of humor. I asked her to find a self service car wash nearby and she responded, "I think cars should wash themselves, don't you?" She did provide several addresses.
15. Our local YSA (Young Single Adults) program is going strong. Saturday they had an After Halloween Dance. We usually have around 15 attend Family Home Evenings on Mondays, but at the dance we had 55. They had invited other YSAs from the surrounding stakes and there was a great turnout. About half in attendance were Marines. Everyone seemed to have a good time. They seemed to include everyone and reached out to two young people with mental challenges. Lots of line dancing which they entered into with great energy and enthusiasm. The dance ended at 11:30 p.m. They cleaned up, set up chairs for Sunday School the next day and told us several times how much they enjoyed being with other young LDS members. Two of the Marines up from Wilmington came and introduced themselves, said they were from Payson, Utah. Both were returned missionaries.
Love North Carolina and the people here!!