How a Damn Yankee Fell in Love with the South

Sameena Mughal
8 min readNov 24, 2020

The road went ever on and led me here.

Lookout Mountain — Chattanooga Tennessee

Considering the limited view I had of the South, it’s a wonder I moved to Georgia from Pennsylvania four years ago. Who could have guessed I would experience the most growth of my life in this place? As a visitor, I partied like a rock star. As a resident, I meditate like a monk. In the process, I became a proud, damn Yankee, although it took me a while to get here.

Three years after moving to the South, I learned the difference between a Yankee and a damn Yankee. They’re both from the North, but the damn Yankee makes a home here as I have done.


Before I was even a Yankee, I was a member of the first South Asian family to move to a small town outside of Philadelphia in the 70s. I grew up keenly aware of my brownness. Until the fourth grade, I was the only person of color in a classroom.

Being the only Muslims in a town of Christians and Jews added to the dubious distinction of otherness. I grew up with people around me struggling with the idea that Indians from India and Native Americans were two different groups.

When more of us moved into town, I had more to explain. When a random stranger asked me if my family owned a 7–11, I had to tell him not all of us were related.



Sameena Mughal

Former teacher who retired early to pursue a passion for writing. Personal development content writer and fiction author. Dog mom.