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Curly Nikki

Adjusting to Life in Happy Valley

By January 27th, 2021114 Comments

Adjusting to Life in Happy Valley
Here I sit in State College, PA… life uprooted, internet-less, cable-less, and living in a house that I can only liken to a summer cottage. Why? Because like a vacation home, it’s old, dusty and dank, as if it’s been vacant for months on end… devoid of life, save for the bustling community of spiders that appear to be doing quite well for themselves. Everything is dingy and worn, paint peeling… vintage chic, I suppose?

I’m not what one would call ‘comfortable’ yet. I’ve been unpacking, and sprucing things up, but refuse to place my silverware in the drawers, or my clothes in the closets. Hell, I’m still sleeping downstairs on a huge inflatable mattress, just in case the spirit moves me and I decide to pack it up and steal away in the night back to Carolina.

I’ve been scrubbing and Lysoling like Monk, but there isn’t a detergent in the world that could disinfect someone else’s toilet seat, so we bought a new one. Thinking about the butts that came before mine… I just… I can’t, and I refused to squat over my own damn toilet. Also, if I may interject, my marriage has been successful for many reasons, one being that we’ve always had more than one bathroom. It really kept the mystique… the fantasy that I don’t poop, or that it, of course, smells like roses and lilacs. He never had to come in DIRECTLY behind me, nor did he pay attention to how long I stay (and think, lol) on the toilet… sometimes until my feet fall asleep. We’ve been busted down to one, terribly tiny bathroom… hope we can keep the love alive. I digress.

I’m the tenant from hell.

I’ve already called maintenance twice, and I’m happy to report that they seem to be quite timely in responding. Rude and impatient on the phone, yes, but very timely. They fixed, even if only temporarily, the pervasive window frame issue that was allowing moths and other annoying insects to wander in and out at will… there was the also that little issue of climate control. They replaced the screen door handle which had fallen off and subsequently locked hubby out of the house. They also handled a plethora of albeit minor repairs that to me, in summation, seemed very urgent and VERY major. The spiders have been eliminated but the overgrown foliage makes me suspect that they’ll be back.

I’m glad to report that Tuesday, the cable and internet guy will be making an appearance and bringing me one step closer to turning this little house with it’s creepy ass basement, into a home. Until then, it’s Starbucks for Wifi and RedBox (and some old bootleg dvds) for entertainment.

All bougieness aside, it’s actually a nice house, and I’m sure in 1945 it was quite lovely. I just don’t understand how people in the northeast must pay so much for such little space. Raleigh truly spoiled me with its new construction and spacious, move-in ready homes. Come to think of it, the people were nicer too. Yesterday my mom called to check on us… to make sure we were adjusting and I shared with her a story that has defined my short time here. First, let me just say that in my four days in Happy Valley, I’ve seen 5, maybe 6 people that look like me. I feel very much aware of my blackness when I’m out, and haven’t felt ‘welcomed’ in some places. I’ll leave you with this story, and you tell me if I’m being ‘sensitive’.

Boog and I were in line at the grocery store, one person ahead of us, and one person, an older White woman behind us. I smiled at her and spoke (I speak to everybody), and unlike many of the folks I’d attempted to greet earlier, she actually acknowledged me and struck up a conversation. She asked if I was Christian and in search for a church family. She then handed me a brochure from her purse and for the next two minutes proceeds to sell me on her church, using ‘the single mother ministry’ as the plug. She said, ‘we have a wonderful single mother ministry… we provide lots of support and encouragement and financial and community resources. So far we have 30 single mothers in the church, and we’re having a picnic this Sunday if you’d like to come’. Really booboo?

Well meaning? Maybe. Presumptuous…definitely.

Later Gators,


  • Anonymous says:

    I hope you corrected her on the single mother issue, perhaps in her old age she could learn that assumptions simply make an ass out of you….

  • Kisha says:


    I hope everything works out with hubby's post doc. Don't u just hate rude people. I know i'm late but I just HAD to comment on what you said about the northeast, small spaces & housing prices. If you think where you reside is strange, try living in NYC. A 600 sq ft. apartment will run you $1,100 per month. If you'd like to live in a swanky area of Manhattan, prepare to pay upwards of $2,200 per month. Oh how I long to live in the south, with it's spacious homes and friendlier people.

  • Miesha says:

    "Really BooBoo?" is so right! I mean come on, thank you for the generosity of inviting me to your church, but don't assume I'm a single mom. How about you assume I'm at the store buying food for my family which consists of a father, mother and a child. BTW, Nikki your awesome! :0)

  • Anonymous says:

    I can definitely relate. On a flight, one brave flight attendant gathered enough courage to ask my age. Being a naturally inquisitive person, i asked why. The flight attendantS thought I was around 17, it would not have been so bad if I wasn't 27 with my 2 year old tow. Then a few months back I had a clerk emphasis that they take EVERY form of payment. People and their assumptions, SMH.

  • Erika says:

    Rings or no, she shouldn't have assumed. My husband and I have been together for 17 years and married for 12 and we don't wear rings. The first ones we bought were cheapies and lost relatively quickly. We then spent a little change but we both lost those too. We are not jewelry people. I don't know if I would have been very pleasant when I corrected her.

  • Mimi (Mae) says:

    Sorry that the woman made assumptions about you as a single mom that made you feel bad…imagine how those of us who ARE single moms feel about the assumptions made about us…

  • Essenseinnaturalland says:

    Wow!!! SMH!!! I had a flashback…I am a Carolina girl too, I moved to the great North West a few years back (Seattle). I went out and found the cutest apartment. The leasing agent gave me the application and told me "and we even accept Section 8" I asked her why she thought I needed to know that after I just told her I needed a 1 bedroom and I will be the only occupant. She sat there and almost cried.Before I could call and complain, they had every supervisor under the sun calling to apologize for the "misunderstanding."

  • KHurly Girl says:

    I don't think you were being sensitive at all. It was quite presumptious of her! SMH.

  • Anonymous says:

    Welcome to State college Nikki..I went to Penn State (we are….Penn State)!… and those were the most interesting years of my life..Living in a white community as a black woman wasnt a joke….A friend & I were called the "N" word on the elevator by drunk (white) frat boys…Just be careful and try to stay sane…Its hella boring so goodluck!…

  • BlondeByDesire says:

    CN – how long will you have to stay there?

  • Yo says:

    Nik, lol at the story. Hang in there sista!

  • Anonymous says:

    I agree with the anonymous about Bellefonte. Having lived in PA for a good part of my formative years, I know first hand of the undercurrents of racism that dwells there. Northeastern PA *going toward NY, NJ, Delaware* there are a lot more black people, but state college has nothing but..well..Penn state *which is the #1 party undergrad because aint shit else to do there* Don't be overly sensitive, but do be aware. The KKK does still thrive in PA. They used to hold meetings on the weekends at my old rival high school.

  • Melody says:

    If you are looking for black people– WE Are HEre!! I swear!

  • Melody says:

    WHAT NIK?!?!?!??! I LIVE IN HAPPY VALLEY!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!!!!! LOL this is SO random!

  • Anonymous says:

    Pure comedy! Thanks nik for the laugh and don't let no one change you!

  • Anonymous says:

    If you see a black woman with a child and assume that she's a single mother, you will be right about 70% of the time. I am married and I've had to learn not to let other people's assumptions bother me. They don't mean anything by it most of the time.

  • Anonymous says:

    When I went to school there in the 70's we use to speak/wave to every black person we saw. Be careful, there is a small town nearby called Bellefonte. When I went to school there, it had a huge and active KKK group. Other tidbits as I remember, very cold and a lot of snow. You'll be alright. Hang in there.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki I am so sorry to hear about what you are experiencing. I live in an Illinois suburb that is very racially prejudice and I am a single parent. I am educated and have dealt with so many issues with these people of a paler complexion. I have to check myself to make sure I'm good and I've been good each and every time. I thought that I had to prove that every black person is not the sterotype but I've decided that I won't take on that responsibility because it is too much. You have a strong backgroud, educated and well-spoken so just be yourself and when you are confronted with injustice or plain ignorance deal with it right then and there. When I say trying to prove to them that all blacks are not the sterotype being too stressful it is because guess what they are not proving nothing to you and they are good enough just because and so are we. My new saying is your prejudice or racism is showing because they will swear on their deaths that it's not how it seems or what they meant.

  • Imogen says:

    merde! my comment did not post!
    Basically I just wanted to say: you should think about moving. I moved with my husband (who is Italian) to the small white town which housed his University, so he could pursue his PhD. I was terribly unhappy there because the people were unfriendly, full of negative assumptions about me, and really refused to be nice. I stuck it out for 2 years, but we finally moved (30 min away to a diverse, affluent, and family oriented area) and I'm much happier; in effect our FAMILY is much happier.

    Don't stick it out if you don't have to, just to be a "trooper." Find a place that's right for your family where you can be happy. I wish you the best!

  • momo7 says:

    LOL You are such a good storyteller! You express your thoughts and experiences very well and very clearly! If you ever write a book, I'd purchase it! I read some of your response comments and, my goodness, you handled that latter situation so well (by the way, congratulations to your husband on becoming a Doctor)! The northeast will definitely test your strength (which you will pass, of course) in dealing with a multitude of attitudes, personalities and odd comments. For some dimwits, incorporating sarcastic comebacks into conversations are imperative to prevent yourself from getting that "I wish I had said that" feeling later on. For other @$$holes that may come along, (composed) blunt responses expressing exactly how you feel, with a smile on your face and ending the conversation with a God bless you, may be necessary. As for the speaking to everyone part, LOL, that's one thing that is different about the northeast. Being a native here, I tend to stay to myself. There are A LOT of creeps who take advantage of kindness and mistake it for something more, LOL! Anyway, congratulations on the move; it is well worth the outcome!

  • Anonymous says:

    That lady's comments definitely needed to be addressed. I know it can be trying, but you must face ignorance dead on. And, we as Black women, know when someone is ignorant or just plain old racist for that matter. If people like this are corrected, maybe they will think twice before they open their mouths the next time. Just saying.

  • Agbeke says:

    haha I love PA but seriously once you start heading west out of Philly it's a whole different world. I lived in a small village an hour west of State College while I was in high school and on several occasions whenever I was out with my sister, who is 8 years younger than me, women would come up to me and tell me what a cute daughter I had -_______-'

  • keisha says:

    Wow! You are SO not alone! As i reading your post I was like..welcome to my world! The lady should've checked your finger/glanced or something before she ASSUMED your a single parent. I feel ya on the coldness. I'm from AL so like you I grew up speaking to everybody and for the most part everybody spoke back cause that's just how we do. BUT the minute I got to DMV a whole NOTHER story. I would see guys walking down the street and speak absolutely NOTHING! I mean we have made eye contact and everything and you act like i don't exist…like you don't see me! REALLY! a sista is HOTTTT to this day about that and believe it or not 4yr later still the same! Some women are like that too. I understand everyone has a clique per se but what's the harm in speaking. I ain't gotta go home with you or pay your bills nor do you have to go home with me or pay mine but you can SPEAK! Especially when you're staring so hard you could probably tell me if i have cavaties and how many! This is one of the reasons y i can't wait to move back to the south. Between that, the high a$$ cost of living for like you said a little space, and don't let me forget the cold/snow…..SOO NOT A FAN! Try to make best of it and u and hubby and gia will be enroute to your next destination!

  • Anonymous says:

    Pittsburgh native here…listen you are officially in whiteyville (sorry I had to). This will be quite an experience for you and the fam. Try to stay positive. Please let us know the crazy comments you will soon receive about your hair!

  • Tif says:

    I love State College, some of the best years of my life. A few of my friends are still there from the 90's, still studying or just stayed because they love it. Give it a chance, me and the wife visit often, usually Africa American Alumni weekend or the Blue and White game. Oh, the memories.

  • Anonymous says:

    Being a native California and born to vocal parents who never took crap from anyone let alone white folks, I think it would be almost impossible for me to stomach this. Don't get me wrong I have had my experiences in California with them, but best believe they don't get by unscaved, and they are super sneaky with their racist comments. Sometimes it may take you days to catch the catty comments when you are reflecting back on the conversation. I have on numerous occassions visited relatives on the East coast and in the South and without fail I am ready to leave within a matter of days. Based on your blog you have a bubbly personality and that will get you through the ridiculousness of racism. That old bat was extremely lucky she did not cross my path. I would have been blunt and asked her to please share with me why she ASSumed that I was a single mother. Was it perhaps that all single mothers wear jeans on Tuesdays at 2pm, or was it that only single mothers stand in a certain line in the Grocery store? And what ever answer she gave, I would have told her "Wow that is so special Edna", gave her back her flyer and told her happy recruiting.

  • Anonymous says:

    Nikki you are hilarious! Keep the life posts coming you crack me up.

  • donna dorrane says:

    – phillygurl

  • Ashley Jane says:

    GIRL!!! I WAS BORN AND RAISED IN CENTRAL PA! I now live in DC and I'll be (excuse my french)DAMNED if I ever return. If you didn't know, you have Pittsburgh in the west, Philly in the East and Misissippi throughout the rest. Just let hubby finish up and get the heck outta dodge.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can definately relate(exactly)with the bathroom thing,even with the leg falling asleep, lol. What can I say, it's my me time, and unfortunately we have one BR also. As for the covo with the old lady, yeah, I see what you mean. I've visited a town like that before. Very uncomfortable. Hopefully you find a way to deal. Fortunately for me I was just on a vacation. As for living there, I haven't had that experience. Good luck. I would have probably corrected her and told her I was not interested and kept it moving.

  • Anonymous says:

    I have a really close friend at Penn state, he is one of the football coaches there, he has been there for over a year now….shoot me an email if you want me to connect you guys(… he can certainly give you some insight into the african american community there…Stay positive sunshine 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Buck up Nik…you should have asked her if you could bring your husband along to the picnic….I had an awful experience in my move last year as well but the good thing is that you will begin to adjust, plus you have your husband and baby with you 🙂 Hope things begin to look up for you!

  • Anonymous says:

    This reminds me of an incident that happened when I was still living in New Jersey. I was on an evening commuter train comming from New York City back into NJ. There was a young black woman with a baby sitting in front of me. She looked so young I at first assumed the baby might have been her little sister but then I noticed a gigantic rock on her left hand. Plus she was dressed more mature and carried an expensive designer handbag. None this was noticed by the train conductor. As the train approached Paterson, a city that is about 100% black and latino and overwhelmingly low income, the conductor informed the woman that Paterson was the next stop. The woman ignored her and continued to play with her baby. Then as the train pulled into the Paterson station, the conductor said it louder and tapped the back of the woman's seat. The woman turned to her and said, I am not going to Paterson I am going to Ridgewood (a twon that is predominantely white and had an average income of $250,000 a year.) The conductor could have died.

    I got off at the next stop and commented to the woman about the conductor's ignorance. A Latina woman who got off with me remarked at the conductor's ignorance too.

  • Fashion&Lifestyle by Ky says:

    I loved reading this Post…I lived in State College PA, FOR 4 YEARS Because I went to Penn State University and I must say you become very color conscious and aware of your blackness in a small college town where you are the minority (literally). I loved how you vocalized your thoughts about the place in the most politically correct way possible because it is a challenge living in "Happy Valley." There are some nice people and some not so nice people, the bus drivers and I always had issues because their attitudes sometime STINKS! I digress…I must say however that as a result of going to school at Penn State I met my natural sistahs and became a natural. we watched blogs together, youtube and even discovered curlynikki out there…happy valley may not be so happy all the time but it essentially changed my life 🙂 WE ARE…PENN STATE!

  • Courtney says:

    @shamigreen, OMGWTFBBQSMDH. That story deserved a lot of incredulous letters.

  • Courtney says:

    Here's a story, when I lived in Cleveland I was a member of the Junior League. We gave scholarships to non-traditional women students for college, beauty school, etc. I was in line at our dinner to honor the scholarship recipients at the Ritz-Carlton and one of the older ladies in the league asked me if I was there to receive a scholarship. I told her that I was a member of the league and that I had gotten married in that very ballroom last year. And I also get the young mom thing, and I had my daughter at 27 and married. People are a trip.

  • shamigreen says:

    YIKES! that's pitiful Nikki… I'm sorry you're having a rough time, but things WILL get better! Imma need 2 or 3 naturals to take one for the team & move to State College to keep Nik company 🙂 LOL

    Something similar happened to me, but I wasn't as sweet as you, LOL… I was doing self check-out @ Winn-Dixie (I live in Central Alabama *SIGHS*) when a pale, blonde employee HOLLERED that I couldn't use an EBT card in this lane. Since he was being a douchebad & I ignored him & kept scanning my things. Then he approached me & said in a much quieter voice "ma'am you cannot use your EBT card in this lane." Mind you I work for the govt, so I know good & darn well he was referring to a Food Stamp card, but instead I said to him "What's that?!" & stared blankly. He said nevermind & walked away… SMH

  • Laurie Pierre aka Newlynatural26 says:

    Nikki, being a northeast girl (NY/NJ)I'm used to the presumptuous older crowd but let's be realistic though, ya moved to PA. As far as PA is concerned in this neck of the woods there are too many persons like us outside of the major hubs mainly philly and places similar to it in PA. I've never lived south but the north does have it's charming moments. It'll just take a while for you to find those little gems. In all welcome up North and may you and the fams feel comfy if not welcomed in time

  • Anonymous says:

    I completely understand where you are coming from. I moved to Arizona about fours years ago and where I lived not many people of color live here. I use to feel out of place but now I hold my head high and if I get strange looks, then I think they must have a problem, not me. Hang in there it will get better.

  • Anonymous says:

    Yeah, that blows. A lot of people have a lot of stereotypes about black women and nothing can shake them. You could be wearing 10 wedding rings and be out with your husband and they will STILL assume he is your boyfriend and you are in high school.

    One of my friends got the same thing while pregnant with her first child (mind you, we were in MEDICAL SCHOOL at the time, and I'm like really?). Both of us were "older" students, so while we looked young, our classmates knew that we were both 30ish. But yeah, when she was visibly showing, our white classmates (however this was in the South), asked her how her "boyfriend" was doing. Wow.

    In that particular Southern city, my fellow black classmates were assumed to be without insurance, without fathers, and as I told a story about going to a birthday party for a friend's baby, the person I was talking to assumed I was talking about my own baby, yet knew I wasn't married.
    Another's husband was very concerned about people assuming that, so when she was pregant (at 29-30 mind you), and her rings got too tight, he asked her to wear them on a necklace around her neck!

    But I've had black people who knew I wasn't married assume that asking about kids was normal as well-so white people have racist stereotypes but a lot of black people seem to have low expectations as well, since for me marriage and kids are a package deal, with marriage coming first. It disappoints me that anyone would think it is the norm.

    Have known black people from State College and no, it's not the most progressive place. I can ask about that b/c one of them had a dad who taught/teaches there.

  • Imogen says:

    ps. Just wanted to add that that old man's comment wasn't all of it. It was just a general assumption in that town that Black people are somehow "lower and less." And it DOES affect you, even if you're strong willed. I don't want you or your family to go through what I did.

  • Bethanie says:

    Hey Nikki!! She should have looked at your hand first to see if you were married or not; or at least asked a question that would have given her the answer. Whether you have an audience up there or not, you walk around with your head held high. You may end up shaping the opinion of our extremely fair skinned friends as to how all/most black people are, but at least they are looking to you. You are a young married woman, a mom, educated, speak well, know how to carry yourself in situations and have a good job. They may not be used to seeing that. So you be the example so perceptions of us can be changed. And remember, you are not the only one going through this. And one more thing, I am glad you are here!!! I believe you are closer to me now and I want to go to a Curly Nikki meet up!!

  • Afro Adie says:

    You should've asked her if you husband could come to the Single Ministry picnic also. LOL Just try to make the best of it. : ~ )

  • Leslie says:

    good luck! 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Hilarious post Nikki, sorry you're having to deal with idiots up there. KEep your sense of humor and use us for support! Keep your head up!

  • Aishah says:

    Welcome to the Northeast Nikki lol I'm from Philly, live in DE, and went to under grad in central PA. Going to school in central PA is a very HUMBLING experience to brown folks that aren't used to feeling like a minority. It's tough carrying the weight of the whole race on your shoulders. I found that a lot of the people I met (especially college students) had never known any black people on a personal level. So basically I was going to shape their view of all black people SMH

    And I am wit you about houses up here costing too much. I want to be somewhere down south when I'm ready to buy a house. The difference between what $200k will get you up here as opposed to down south should be criminal! There are row homes in Philly (in just average neighborhoods) going for $200k+. Hell to the…

  • hairscapades says:

    Okay, I really have to go back and read ALL of the comments because this appears to be a great thread and I'm sorry that you had to go through that experience Nik. BUT, I have to get ready for work and I just had to post a comment quickly because from my quick read of a few comments, no one said ANYTHING about your descent into a convo about toilet time!!! OMGosh, I was laughing my butt off and reading it aloud to my boyfriend!!! You know, I grew up in a household where there was no "mystery" and a lot of people seem to be really "open" about toilet time. But, a few years ago, my former boss, who is also one of my best friends, told me that she and her husband NEVER are in the bathroom together. That made me feel alright about not wanting my SO to ever see me doing my business of he his!!! Now, I don't have 2 bathrooms …. so there are those times where someone has to "follow." But, usually it's me him and not the other way around!!! Anywho, I'm assuming that you only have one bathroom in the new place? You never said!! Well Nik, hope that it gets better!! And soon!!


  • justelise says:

    I'm terribly sorry that you've relocated to State College, PA, and I sincerely hope it is not permanent. I was there for 5 years, and got my BS from Penn State, and those were the 5 longest years of my life. It took an entire week after moving in before I saw anyone who was not caucasian. I experienced more than my fair share of nasty looks and racism in my time there, and the day I left was one of the happiest of my life. Ironically, I live in Raleigh, NC now, and you wouldn't think it, but this area of NC is far less blatantly racist than that area of PA. I sincerely hope you are able to move on from there quickly. What you experienced in the grocery store is the tip of the iceberg.

  • Pami Cuevas says:

    Nikki I am truely sorry!!
    I've lived in North Carolina since my sophomore year of high school and now I am at App State WHOOP!
    I am currently in Long Island, New York visiting my parents (this is where we lived b4 moving to NC) and the difference has astounded me. I feel your pain and I cannot wait to go back to little old Boone, NC.
    Count on us for support 🙂

  • The Mothership says:

    I live in Bradford, PA. There are like 30 black people to over 9,000 white people. You are just BEGINNING to come into "black awareness".

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh Nikki. I know exactly what you mean. I grew up in a very ethnically diverse military town in texas and moved to a small town on the Olympic Penninsula. I got followed in a jewelry store looking for a present for my mom…heck I got followed at WalMart. People just assume I have kids (i don't, I'm 21) and my boyfriend family was surprised to learn I am Catholic they kept making black baptist jokes. And it seems like every other sentence starts with "no offense but" or "i always wondered". I miss the south.

  • Morgan says:

    That's State College for you. I've lived there for four years and am moving back in August. Shoot me a message if you need any recommendations from a fellow black curly haired woman to help with your adjustment.

    @Tatjana, I'd love to be apart of the PSU curly community. Keep me posted.

  • Anonymous says:

    I would have asked for the address of the church and then said, "Tell me something, do you think Jesus would assume that I am a single mother just because I'm black? Because that's what you just did. Did you bother to ask if I was married? Did you not see the ring on my finger? That doesn't seem right to me. I"ll be sure to pass this on to the next single black mother I see though, Thanks.""

  • Fleurzty says:

    Aww Nikki, I haven't been on here in a while only to check in to this story. It takes some getting used to. It took a lot when we moved to Peoria, IL. I totally understand what you mean by being conscious of your blackness. I never realized how black or Haitian I was until there I was in central IL and most of the people did not even know where Haiti was on a map, and those who do thought I grew up barefoot, eating one meal a day. When we began attending a church we were comfortable with, we were one of 3 black families and Ty was the only black child in the nursery. I remember an episode when this middle age woman asked my husband if they'd met before. My husband who is very blunt responded, I think you would have remembered lol. She wasn't sure what to say lol.
    Once we got somewhat acclimated, we did grow to like the place. It is definitely a process and before long, with such an outgoing personality, you will find yourself at home in no time.

  • Anonymous says:


    I lived in PA for about 3 years (I was in the Navy). I lived about 10 miles outside of Harrisburg, the capital, and let me tell you, the white people up there are very prejudice. I was miserable my first few months because I'd go to the store, and they wouldn't speak, they'd put my change on the counter, they wouldn't offer me a bag, it was horrible. After being there for about 6 months, things got better only because they got used to seeing me. They will not invite you to their homes. The difference between the prejudices up there is that you don't know who is prejudice. In the South, they LET you know they are prejudice.

    Hang in there, it will get better. Just continue to be you and they will start to come around.

  • Cori says:

    If I hadn't moved down south I would think you were being too sensitive about the people not really speaking to you. Her assuming you were a single parent was just ignorance tho.

    People in the south always tell me about myself and how I come off cold. They say just about all northerners are this way (Im from Pa) and I guess I still don't notice it.

    I think it's weird how everyone is always smiling and greeting me down south but I have adjusted in many ways.

  • Anonymous says:

    PA is where it at! Eve said it best "philly philly..philly where i am from." lol Hope you grow to love it up here. Its not to bad and generally the people are nice. Best of luck in your new home..

  • Anonymous says:

    You are not sensitive, I am a military brat/veteran raised in the sout, now living in Ohio. Your expierence is typical of the north….

  • Anonymous says:

    You know as a woman of color, you have to put on your armor before you leave your house.I had white man ask me if all my 3 kids were by the same man! GURL!WTF!!

  • Kitty says:

    Talk about weird. I'm from PA (Norristown, Radnor were the 2 towns I grew up in, and lived in Philly at UArts for a bit) and people were always friendly. I've lived in CT since 1995 and in CT people are more stuck up sometimes.:/

    I guess niceness varies by region in each state, huh? LoL

    I hope you and your family adjusts to life in PA. *hugs*

  • i am native here . . . says:

    Funny, as a parting comment, I would have asked her (seeing as I'm new and all to the town) if she knew a good place to get my wedding ring cleaned!

  • Anonymous says:

    I am surprised that you brought a 1945 home in State College. I wonder what part you are in because there should be tons of new construction there. It won't be priced as nice as the ones in North Carolina but its new construction. Unfornuately, its the price you pay to live in or near big cities. I searched for homes in North Carolina and Atlanta and was going crazy for the amount of house I could get down there…but its just too slow for me.

  • NikNak says:

    I'm sorry, but that would definitely annoy me. Especially if I was wearing my wedding ring. I hate when people assume things about me, even if I personally gave them reason to assume it, but I REALLY hate it when they assume it for something entirely out of my control, i.e., my race.

  • Tiffany says:

    I lived in Kentucky (from Philly) for 3 years (with the Hubbs relocation) and in the beginning I thought the same as you. A part of it was the high schooler thinking that "everybodys looking at me". I cant say for certain but I do think the North will be hella different than the South but not too terrible, I hope. Once I found some roadies…to teach me the "skreets"…I was alll good. Best of luck to you and the Fam.

  • Stepha says:

    Adjusting to a new place is never easy. I thought i was the only one who cringed at the thought of other people having used the toilet…ewwww! It will get better soon.

    Now as far as that single mother's ministry, wooow! It's just crazy how ignorant and closed minded people can be. Little does she know that you and hubby (+ all sorts of black folk) have big things going for you both!! SMH

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    Yeah, take trips to Philly (my hometown); but, be wary there as well. Philly can be ridiculous as well.

    Not that I moved anywhere better: L.A. Yeah, it's diverse; but, it's shysty here as well.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry to tell you but get ready to be the National Ambassador to all things BLACK! I grew up not to far away in a small town called Latrobe. Once while working at the grocery store a 5or 6 year old little girl asked her mother if I was dark under my clothes too. That’s right a 5/6 year old that lives in America that had NEVER seen a brown person up close and personal. I often felt like a zoo animal, when all the white people came to see my hair or skin. The phrase “can I touch it,” still makes me cringe a little. But NO FEAR you are totally FAB, as I’m sure you know from all your daily followers. You have intelligence and beauty. You will handle yourself, Gia, the hubby, and others with complete class. As for the spiders, it gets cold in the winter (-10) they will die, hopefully before you escape in the middle of the night!!

  • Nikkie T says:

    Fellow young-looking mom here. My line when dealing with folks who are shocked when they learn I have three children is always some variation of "I'm a lot older than I look." I say it quick and with smile. It's my way of patting myself on the back for being so fly and for shutting them down before they say something offensive.

  • Unknown says:

    Ugh, that was VERY presumptuous of granny. I need her to know better. My grandmother does say some crazy things herself(I think this happens with age lol) but she would never assume someone is a single mother. Hang in there girl, your husband is about to be a DOCTA'! That makes it all worth it. At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it lol! Tell Tanka hi and give her a big squeeze for me!

    July 24, 2011 8:12 PM

  • Unknown says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • lisaedw says:

    Yes, you were stereotyped but that IS the basis of racism– ignorance and prejudice. No one REALLY knows her "good" intentions. She may think that she can make you her "pet" project and help one of "them". Her "intention" should be to not pre-judge and think before you speak. Girl, just be prepared with your diplomatic, quick one-liner retort and keeps it movin' for you and yours. Be blessed 🙂

  • luv-4-self says:

    As a Philly native, I must say Good Luck out there! Unfortunately, it is what it is and the burbs definitely do not really correlate with the city. Get to Philly as much as possible for sanity's sake! But don't look for people to be as friendly here as they are back home either…we do lack southern charm. The funny part is that she probably didn't even realize she was being inappropriate. (Well, not that funny)

  • Anonymous says:

    Hang in there Nikki! You got a LOT going on! I agree with @anon at 3:27 – don't think about it too much or it will make you angry. Comments from elders that make us want to say: WHAT YOU SAY?!?! happen no matter what part of the country we live in. My husband and I live in St. Louis, and we moved in a predominantly white area in 1994. We were passing out flyers for a newly organized (by us) neighborhood meeting. I rang the doorbell, and a very elderly white lady answered. The first thing she said (sounding like Miss Jane Pittman's voice I kid you not) was: "We were all created equal". Was not expecting any thing like that at all. Sadly, the stereotype goes with everyone. We were even questioned by BLACK police officers, asking to see our ID's. Now that you know what you'll be dealing with, and God only knows what your husband will be dealing with, you'll be better prepared. Let's just hope they don't catch you on a day where "Sha-nae-nae" is ready for they butt – huh!

  • Like Water says:

    Oh boy. Good intentions my butt. I'm with you, Nikki. I do not like stereotypes. Stereotypes…racism…there's a fine line. Would she have said the same to a young white women standing in line with her child? That aside, I hope you find the other black couples (or singles) living in town. Be careful if you all get together and start walking around town, they might organize a gang taskforce. lol

  • Anonymous says:

    You do look young Nikki, so it was definitely an ill timed mistake on her part. On the other hand she should have been wiser not to make assumptions. Perhaps she hasn't run into someone who looks as young as you who is married, or perhaps if she did, they never informed her that they were married.

    It will take some adjusting as you're well aware. When I lived in Atlanta for a year I couldn't wait to return to Long Island. Lol! Your time will fly by quickly. In the mean time as others have suggested continue striking up the conversations. Peace and fun!

    @ Jessie that would be an awesome study. It just may reveal some stereotypes.

  • ♥Nikki says:

    "nor did he pay attention to how long I stay (and think, lol) on the toilet… sometimes until my feet fall asleep. I digress."

    And all of these years, I thought I was the only one to do this. I hate when my feet/leg falls asleep yet, I continue to sit and think on the toilet.

    As for the much too assuming lady… just *sigh*.

    I think it's so cool how both your husband and my SIL are doing there postdoc in PA. My brother & SIL will be moving by the end of the week & they have a new baby (along with my 3 year old niece). I wonder how far you guys are from one another(???).

  • Jessie =] says:

    OMG Nikki, I think you just gave me a GREAT project/study to do re: other women, of other races, out with their kids, manless.

    No, I don't think you're being sensitive. We're all not that mean in the Northeast(or at least in Maryland), so keep striking up conversation!

  • Deia@LoveInTangles says:

    Did she not see your wedding ring?!? I get the same thing (in overly conservative Fort Worth), but worse…a lady mentioned their teenage mom support group. I let her go on and on and then told her I'm 28. ::blank stare::

  • Christie B. says:

    Hey Nik,

    Welcome to the Northeast. The people aren't too friendly here. I live outside Boston, I swear the further East you go, they get rudder (is that word? LOL). I'm 27, black, and wear braces. I work in a high school and I look a lot my students. I get assumptions all the time. I always get asked if I have kids. I have also been asked if I will be using EBT or SNAP card they call it in MA in the grocery stores.

    Also there aren't that many black athletic trainers out here, so people, parents and students almost hardly never believe that I'm one until I have my boss or one of the coaches confirm it! I only see groups people of african decent at my school (lots of diversity). Sadly there isn't a lot of us that resemble the student body. When I first started working, my students couldn't believe that a person who look like them, understood them and also Creole was working there. I know it's a comfort for them and I like that.

    I'm used to being the "speck of pepper that got into the salt shaker". Hopefully it will get better. Spend some time in Philly. It's nice there! And um have a meet-up there too so I can come down!!!! LOL!

    Keep your head up and it takes a bigger person to be so polite. I would have been sarcastic as possible!

  • Anonymous says:

    LMAO! Are u serious Nikki??! Okay.. let's just say where you live is shy of Mayberry LOL! I hate to laugh but let's find the camaraderie in this. I know you miss your NC, but things will get better! Also, you may even strike up convos with the few of us that are there! Good luck!!

  • Ashley says:

    Damn!! Good Luck!

  • Tiki_Green says:

    This is the story of my time here in Suburban Illinois my White Fiance and me get stares and rude comments all the time, and, i mean totally inapporiate comments. But, i think it gets easier in time, we've been here for 3 months so were still going through the LOOK AT US phase.

  • Tiffany says:

    Nik I would have been offended too! As a 23 year-old Black women, I've encountered even other Black women sounding surprised when I tell them I don't have children, and to be honest, it's a bit awkward for me. It saddens me that in our community, we have so many children born into single parent households, not because women are unable to handle it – we have and will continue to, but rather because it is much more difficult to emotionally, physically, and financially, support a child by oneself.

    In response to you adjusting to aptly named "Happy Valley", I feel similar at times as well. Even as I'm sitting in this cafe, I'm waiting for the movers to bring my belongings, for the internet and cable to be turned on, and for the new place to stop feeling so creepy. Adjusting is difficult but I hope for the both of us, that we can make the transition as smoothly as possible. For me, it helps to seek some of those familiar things from home, like little independent cafes and a West African Dance group. These things remind me of home and make the new place feel a bit more familiar. Also, taking some time to explore helps me as well. Best wishes to you, Boog, and the Hubs as you adjust.

  • MelMelBee says:

    Poor Nik,

    Unfortunately, you will probably get that alot…the mountains of PA are not very welcoming of us!!!!! Sounds like you might need to drive down to Philly (the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection) for some good ole TLC ***whistling*** I'm just saying…

  • MrsWardy88 says:

    CN, I believe you did nice job with letting her know you werent interested. Its funny, but as a once younger single mother (19) I never noticed people assuming or confronting me about it. You get 10 points from me. 🙂

    @anonymous, that wouldve baffled her. lol "Oh well.. let me see.." lol

  • Unknown says:

    In the words of my baby DIego, "Ummmm booooooo" to her!

  • Anonymous says:

    My response would have been, "what do you have for married couples?"
    : ) I think that would have taken care of it!

  • Anonymous says:

    I've been here in SC for a year now and still can't get used to all the non-brown faces. That is why I make frequent trips to DC or Baltimore. Anyways, this is actually not a bad place for kids. Lots of parks and the public library is cool too. There are 2 black churches here in town too, if that is your thing. There are other brown parents here too, but you just have to look a bit harder. I have a 2-yr old and recently joined a diverse group of local parents. Just try to enjoy your time here before the weather gets miserably cold. What part of town are you?

  • Anonymous says:

    Good job Nikki!!! You handled it well. I would have asked, politely of course, is my husband welcome to attend as well? Then asked if she knew what aisle the duct tape was on. I was recently in State College for a week, wasn't that bad. I think most of "our peeps" were college students. But I'm sure in time you will find more sameness around. What I want to know is when the snow starts falling what your reactions will be???? Enjoy PA!!!

  • Anonymous says:

    Aw 🙁 moving always sucks! I hate that "Adjustment" period between feeling like a fish uot of water and having our new location become home. I wouldn't call PA the northeast [it's mid atlantic] but the living spaces, I'm sure, are very different from Carolina and many other places. The racism and presumptious- ness? So much more prevalent than it needs to be anywhere. It's awful to be in a place where no one else is like you– esp. after coming form a place where everyone is like you– talk about culture shock! But you should have absolutely corrected her– these are the small learning moments that may, even if it's just one person, change people's incorrect assumptions about certain people. Im sure things will start to look up– soon you'll absolutely love it! And if not, come to ny lol!

  • Anonymous says:

    No, you were not being overly sensitive. Sorry that happened to you. I am single, and I don't have any children. I used to get offended when people would still ask if I have children after I had I already told them that I have never been married. A lot of people are shocked to learn that I don't have any children (despite my single status). However, with 72% of our African American children being born outside of marriage, I guess most people base their assumptions on that number. I have started following the No Wedding No Womb blog ( Now when people ask me if I have children, I often say: Nope. No Wedding, No Womb.

    I used to live in Western PA, don't miss the winters at all, but I had better curl definition. Best of luck as you guys settle in.

  • Natural Bohemian says:

    Good luck in State College. 2 of my friends went to PSU and they had to participate in a sit in after crosses were burned on campus. As far as the old lady's comments they were totally presumptuious but I'm guessing that her church doesn't have many black ladies in it. Who knows why she said it, people are ridiculous but being a single mother is not the worst thing in the world to be called. especially in rural pa.

  • Anonymous says:

    She was wrong for assuming, but she meant well. I know what you mean by saying our first, we, etc. Single motherhood increases by the day (either by choice or circumstance), but the other persuasion needs to know that marriage is not taboo in our community.

  • Anonymous says:

    OMG I thought it was just me. I live in VA now, because Im in the military. Im the only black woman in my apartment building, only woman and minority in my office space (which mind you I had to let it be known I was the only one cleaning the office, because in the Navy your job includes cleaning and that I was NOT going to be the only person doing so when their is another paler young man in my office who WATCHES me clean and does nothing). In my department Im actually referred to as the "house negro" because I work in the office (big house) with our DLCPO (Im guessing he’s suppose to be Massa (sp?).But anyway I am a single mother and its extremely annoying too feel like you have to over compensate to show your happy, your child’s happy and your all HAPPY being single and my son's father is involved in his life. Yesterday we went to Gymboree. Oh how awful. It was my first time taking him since I have gotten back from deployment and I felt like people were like "oh poor single military mom" (with the questions of "how long were you gone? Who kept your son? How awful"). Umm yes but after all I am back and TRYING to focus on making happy memories since Im back so can we move on and you get the hell out of my business?- Anyway I just wanted to say I really feel your pain and keep your head up!

  • Anonymous says:

    You know it seems to me that white folk have a certain perception about us black folk that we just can't escape. And I am not racist in fact my grandfather is white! This just reminds me of Oprah and love Oprah, but I was so dam annoyed when she said that the Obama girls speak so well. I was like of course they speak well Hello..They are not the only well spoken young black women. You would think my daughter was white if you didn't see her..Anyway, I could go on forever. Don't worry you will get adjusted to the area. It takes time think positive and don't let anyone still your joy or take you outside of your character. Just combat the ignorance with intelligence.

  • LifenotesEncouragement says:

    i feel you…it will get better.
    re: the last paragraph – you are not being sensitive. its a sad reality when you're one of the few, that people will make assumptions about you and then they are always shocked when you dont fit in to their little box. You learn to smile and just go with the flow, because if you think about it too much you'll become angry and thats one stereotype you dont want to live up to – ABW.
    I wish you all the best! Moving is so hard, but sometimes its necessary to let us learn more about ourselves.

  • Mikki says:

    No you are not being sensitive, aside from everything else that you are having to adjust to, you be as sensitive as you want. You're good, because after the look that I would have given her, she would have ran in the opposite direction! I hope things start to brighten up 🙂

  • Angelina says:

    Nope, not being overly sensitive at all. It just sucks even more because you are adjusting to a new place and that shit just takes the cake. I'm annoyed for you because I bet if you were a white female she would have assumed you were married and suggested some programs for couples/families.

    Even here in progressive Minneapolis, I occasionally get the incredulous reaction from white people that I don't have kids and I'm in my thirties and married. It's not "Do you have any children?" it's "How many kids do you have?" WTF? I embarrassed the hell out of the last man that asked me that "HOW many kids do you have?" I said "none" "What? really? you don't have ANY kids? WOW?", I gave him the Stewie (family guy) side look and calmly asked him why he was so surprised to find out I didn't have kids? and would he have asked me that same assuming question if I were a thirty year old white woman? He proceeded to turn beet ass red, choke on his words and find a way to exit away from the group.

    I hope you get settled in, find some friends, and challenge the ignorant peoples' assumptions. Because "the thing worse than an assumption is making an ass out u and umption"

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    @Tatjana, really?! How exciting! Let me know when y'all get it going. I was at Giants… assumed it was like a Big Lots… I was looking for duct tape and bug spray, lol

    @Nikia, my word. The audaciousness!

    @anon, right and when you see another brown person, you wanna stop 'em and be like, why are you here? what's your story?! lol. And you are so right about focusing on the intent of a comment. I just really hate stereotypes, lol.

  • Anonymous says:

    I'm with you, Nikki. I live in a community where I can literally go DAYS before I see another black person. It takes some getting used to. The good news is, it does get easier with time. I still have days where I feel totally conspicuous, but they're not as frequent as they used to be. Hang in there! As for the lady at the grocery store: I have found that when someone says or does something to offend me or hurt my feelings, I try to focus on their intention. Was it their intentin to hurt me? From what you described, this woman's intentions were probably good. In her mind she was doing a good thing by offering support to someone she mistook as a single mom. As to WHY she assumed you were a single mom, who knows? It may be based on personal stereotypes, or past experiences she has had. You are very youthful looking. Maybe she simply thought you were a "teen mom" based on your youthful physical appearance. My suggestion is to give her the benefit of the doubt and focus on her intention, which probably came from a good place. Good luck!

  • Nikia says:

    Welcome to the Northeast! I should introduce you to the cashier at my local grocery store (also of the paler persuasion) who immediately punches the 'EBT' key as soon as shes done ringing my groceries. I always go through the process of swiping my VISA and making her look stupid.
    "um, what kind of card is it?"
    Yea honey. Get it together.

  • leesicam says:

    You were definitely not being sensitive. Stereotyping and racism are still alive and well in the good ol' U S of A

  • Tatjana says:

    LOL were you in Wegmans because I swear all the religious recruiters stake out the supermarkets.

    I am SUPER excited that you are in my neck of the woods though 🙂 PSU has a budding natural hair community we've been discussing creating an org or club to bring the PSU curlies together.

    Hopefully you have some events of your own i know many girls dying to meet you.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I get the young, single mother thing a lot, since I'm often out with Boog alone. However, I see tons of other women, of other races, out with their kids, manless… I wonder if they fall prey to the same assumptions or comments?

    Last month, on the plane to Orlando, the woman sitting next to me, leaned over, touched my arm and said, 'i was a young mother too'. Really?! I wanted to be like 'batch, I'm dang near 30.' Her intentions were good but I was definitely offended. I feel that I often over compensate when I'm out with Gia, making sure that conversations with strangers include words like 'we' or 'our first', or 'my husband'. That's my problem though because I shouldn't care what people think, but apparently I do. There's nothing wrong with being a young mom, my mother was and so was my grandmother. But I hate stereotypes and I make it a point, in my daily life, to defy them.

    I love looking young, but sometimes it seems like a gift and a curse now that I'm a mom.

  • Anonymous says:

    Sorry Nikki but get used to it, that's PA for ya. I used to live there. Try to take a couple of weekend trips to Philly. It's better there. Hang in there Chica.

  • Anonymous says:

    Adjusting to a new place is always difficult. Good luck!

    I'm mad the lady falsely assumed AND you were wearing your rings. Craziness. I would have made sure she knew that I was happily married and WON'T be attending the Single Mother Ministry event. LOL

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    @Honeybrown1976, I'm just now hearing about this. I thought I was crazy! I've been getting looks like they caught the stomach virus when they see us.

    @CurlyintheA, I took the brochure, and kept smiling. I thanked her and told her that it sounds like an amazing ministry and how nice of them to take up the cause. I then told her I'd pass this info along to my husband so we could discuss further. I then purposefully raised my left hand (to show off the rang) to pull a twist behind my ear, lol, and walked off. ugh. I stayed totally respectful, but it was one of those moments where you look back on it and wish you would've said this or that. After a couple more experiences like this yesterday, I'm in a place now where I'm like 'i wish a motha would…' ha!

  • CurlyInTheA says:

    Naaah, Nikki, you aren't being too sensitive. That was her assumption or, more accurately, stereotype. Curious, what did you say? Know that it can go both ways. Reminds me of a time when my kids were little – newborn, 2, 3 + a two-seat stroller. I had my hands FULL at the doc's office. My then-2 year old decides to play acrobat when I was signing them in and flip on the chair. Elderly lady (happened to be black) said, in a very nasty tone with her face all screwed up, "you'd better get your kid." I was so heated — and glad that I was taught to respect my elders! I got my child, went to see the doc, and told her about the situation. She said, oh, she's like that. She's always complaining about something. But … I just couldn't let it go. I politely came out and told her that instead of criticizing me with her tone and voice, she could have offered to help me. The time it took for her to tell me to get my kid, she could have grabbed her. She was closer to her than I was! I would have had NO problem with that. Three kids under 3. Hell, I was outnumbered, and I only have so many arms, hands, legs and eyes. She proceeded to tell me how her daughter was a social worker, and I may need some help with my kids. I told her, thank you very much, but my husband + I do very well with our kids and we don't need a social worker. And I left. This woman had to be in her late 60s, which means that you know it's been a MINUTE since she's had kids as small as mine were then. I was mad because she assumed that I was a single mother (I'm not, but I was the child of one) AND she judged by parenting skills as a result of that. And if I was a single mom, there was absolutely NOTHING wrong with that. She apparently thought I couldn't handle my kids for that reason. Hell, we all have our days (parents and kids included).

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    Good luck. State College isn't known for being welcoming to those of the non-pale persuasion.

  • Anonymous says:

    LOL, I don't think you were being sensitive at all, however, since it seems she had good (albeit stereotypical)intentions, an inquiry about couples/family ministries for you and her hubby could have been apt….

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    @ anon, Hubby has a postdoc at Penn State that starts late August. He'll officially be Dr. Walton in the coming weeks!

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    I SO had on my rings. SMH

  • LaMaraVilla says:

    lol @ the story. Were you wearing your rings? If not I can understand why she'd assume.

  • Anonymous says:

    Oh MY at the single mother ministry 🙂 she was probably well intentioned… hope your internet is up soon – your blog is a life line to me. I am a hair obsessed, product junkie Curly Nikki daily reading curly nappy woman. Peace, happiness and blessings to you in your new home…what prompted your move, if you don't mind me asking?


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