Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bein' Neighborly

Thank you, Google Images. THIS IS NOT MY PLATE. (:
One of my favorite things about Georgia was their license plates. No, I'm not crazy...but they were awesome. and fascinating. As you can see, it's a tradition for the county name to be at the bottom of the plate (please note my pathetic Photoshop job to make this historically accurate ;)). It's a casual thing to let you know where someone's from. You never know who might be a neighbor, a friend, an enemy...or a frenemy. (: Yesterday, when Dad and Maylen were driving home, they noticed a car in front of the house across the street from us with a Georgia plate...from Floyd County (where we lived before). The woman who used to live in the house died a couple months ago, so seeing a car outside her house was weird. Dad...being Dad, went over and beat on their door to see who it was (as in, who can possibly be from Floyd County). It was the woman's nephew, who had inherited the house just cleaning up, seeing what was there, etc. They got to chatting and realized that we had several mutual friends (including my grandparents, haha), so as they were wrapping up, Dad gave the man his number and said "let me know if you need anything/can help in any way/yada-yada-yada".

'Round dinnertime, the man--I'll call him Dr. Jim--called and asked if we knew any good places to eat. We live far enough away from a major town that there really isn't anything good that's also easily accessible, but Dad gave him a few names in town and they hung up. After hanging up, Dad stood there for a minute and said "this isn't right; this isn't the right thing to do" and immediately called Dr. Jim back and asked him to dinner and he immediately accepted. (This isn't unlike my dad; he's given rides to more hitchhikers and fed more homeless people that a lot of folks I know.) (God, please give me a man as understanding, kind and selfless as my daddy.)

We had a fantastic time. Dr. Jim is a fabulous storyteller and he and my dad are exactly the same age (give or take just a few months), so they had a great time "informing the younger generation" about the trends of the 70s. Apparently their two 4th grade classes both watched the same movie on the "impending attack of the killer Africanized bees". There was good food and a lot of laughter. We shared stories about our mutual friends, discussed our old town and just got to know each other. He and his family have lived in Rome for many, many years and I learned so much about the place where we used to live! Not only that, but his kids go to the same private school that I probably would have gone to and Dr. Jim works at the clinic that we used to drive by every day. It was really interesting to realize what a tiny, small world we live in.

My dad was exactly right: it was the perfect thing to do. Dr. Jim told us that he had had McDonald's for the past two meals only because it was the only restaurant in town that he knew how to find and I'm so grateful that we were able to feed him! Not only that, but he appreciated our Indian food! (: Apparently he's a big fan of Indian as well and we compared favorite dishes.

It was a wonderful night and it was even better to be able to help someone out. Dr. Jim told us several times how he hadn't expected help such as that and it made me think, why not? Why isn't that the norm? Honestly, our house is a total mess -- it was beautiful at New Years, but we've been so busy that it's fallen down on the priority list -- but it wasn't even a big deal. We opened our house and our hearts to a stranger and we're all the better for it.

Today, I'm thankful for being able to help out neighbors and friends, as well as being able to make new friends and meet new people. I'm thankful for shared stories, good food and Rome. Although I am beyond happy to be here in North Carolina and wouldn't trade it for the world...I'm really missing my Georgia years.

Feeling nostalgic again. -sigh-


Also, Dad's accent was stronger last night then it's been in years. If that didn't make it all entirely worth it...then I don't know what would have. (:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


For those of you who haven't heard, my year-long senior project is on Southern Culture and women's role in it. Right now, we're in the phase where I feel like I am living, sleeping, breathing this material. I've learned so much just in the past couple of months alone.

The biggest part I think that I've gained out of this is just what being Southern means to me. It's something that I've always grown up with--my grandfather bought Coke stock in my name while I was still in the hospital, my dad's ancestors helped to settle DeKalb County, my mother's family has only ever been from Alabama. Being Southern has always just been who I am and I don't think that I've ever fully comprehended (is that a word?) how much my heritage has influenced me.

So lately, I've really come to terms with my connection to the South. It's messy and complicated, can feel like a total burden sometimes and can come with some wacky stereotypes. (For the record, yes, you can get married at 14 in Alabama. Also, it seems like the majority of the people drive without licenses and/or proper instruction.) But at the same time, it's beautiful. There's a quiet elegance about the South, particularly during the summer. If you happen to find yourself in a small town during one of those miserably humid days, where even the slightest breath of wind feels like heaven, it's like you can see the ghosts of every single inhabitant of that town meandering through the streets, just like you.

That's what the South is to me. It's shrouded in history and stories and heat that can feel overwhelming at times, but can also be comforting.

I think another thing that's been difficult for me has not only been dealing with my connection to the South, but my family's as well. I feel like my family puts a whole new spin on the word "multi-cultural". My sister's Chinese, my mother swears her taste buds are imported from India and my dad...just likes to try new things. I've never felt like we're the typical Southern family, if there is such a thing -- at least in my immediate family. We eat biscuits, green beans, chili and cornbread like they're going out of style, but there's never been that steel cable anchoring us to this area. My dad grew up in Atlanta, but has never really claimed it as his hometown. The city's changed so much since he lived there that it's not a home for him anymore. I feel like I've always searched for that link--wanted to feel it for him, because there are times when I've felt like I needed that connection, but it's never been there.

So lately, I've explored what my connection is, what it means for me. When I try to picture it, I envision my soul being buried somewhere, in the heart of the deep South and that thought feels like it completes me. I am a product of the South; red Georgia clay and brown grass and I don't think I'll ever be able to deny it.

It's time for bed...but y'all come back now.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Weekend Recap

We're home! Our weekend getaway was absolutely lovely and I'm so relaxed now. It was a giant gathering of a lot of families (I think there were about 7 families there all total) that we're really close to from our homeschooling days, just holed up in a lodge together. It was fun. And loud. And I still have the warm fuzzies.

These gatherings are hosted by our local homeschool group and happen about two or three times a year. We're friends with a lot of people in the group, so thankfully, they still let us come. (: I haven't been able to make it to one in a while, because of school and homework and other stuff, but this weekend, the stars aligned! MLK Day, thank you.

I began my latest crochet project while we were there and someday, this:

Will--theoretically--become this:

I can't wait! I don't have pictures from this weekend, since I sold my DSLR and my p&s...isn't exactly functional at the moment. Apparently dropping it in the sand did more damage than I expected. But I had loads of fun and this weekend was not short of adventures, from exploring the dried-up lake at the camp to painting the boys' fingernails to simply curling up in front of the fire and visiting. Also, we saw our first snow! The last night we were there, it really started coming down, so all the kids and some of the adults rushed outside...and back in, for coats and shoes...and then back out! It was incredibly powdery and didn't stick, except in the seriously shady spots, but it was beautiful while it lasted. Now, it's just gotten really cold and confusing the heck outta me; we took our Christmas decorations down right before New Years and feels like Christmas time again!

It was great today to simply have a day to relax. I've done some of my homework, worked a little on my senior project (we've moved into the powerpoint phase and it's so exciting!), done some crafty type things, caught up on [most] of my TV shows and Zumba-ed with my best friend. The Zumba's turning into a regular thing and it's wonderfulll. I've gotten the Wii and tried some other things, but found that I do loads better if I have a scheduled time and place to be.

This week is going to be insane--I can feel it. We're finishing up midterms/tests/projects at school and I have choir twice this week, as well as a bunch of other random things to do. I'm hoping to get started on my latest home-improvement project soon! Last summer, my dad put a wall in the long room that spans the front of our house, splitting the room that my sister and I had previously shared into two rooms. He drywalled it in...and then that's as far as it got (not that I'm at all complaining!). But now I've decided to repaint--the gorgeous blue color that looked amazing on the paint swatch seems to overwhelm my tiny little, doesn't get much sun, room, so I've decided to brighten it up. I'm going to mud and tape the drywall, prime it and then repaint everything else. The color that is currently my ceiling will become the wall color and then I'll paint the ceiling white, to help open it up. I'm stuck on the trim/doors/window seat, but I'm thinking a light gray. Whew, this sounds like a lot of work, but my "reward" will be this amazing bedspread:

Hooray for consistent (or at least some-what regular) blogging! Just taking this one post at a time...