By Diane Ako
(This is part of my vacation blog.)
We arrived back in Atlanta at 8 p.m., to my excitement. The drive from Charleston was straightforward and easy, but still, it was five hours. Did I say thank goodness for portable DVD players?
We have had really nice experiences all throughout our trip, but nine days of sort-of nonstop travel and a lot of driving has made us weary. At this point, Martha and her apartment are the most familiar things to us, and we were happy to see it.
The following day was our last full day, and I still had a head cold. Claus took Olivia to the Georgia Aquarium, which is the largest in the world. I got to rest at 'home.'
Later, when Martha was available, we went shopping and had girl time. Momma got herself some new pants. I told you I gained weight.
It does feel like it's time to go. We had a nice visit, and we're ready to return home.
I feel like I've learned something about Southern culture, even for this short trip:
-The South is still so close to its Civil War history. There are cannons and cannon balls in many of the public parks. The Civil War is referred to, here, as The War of Northern Aggression. I have never heard the term Northerner used with such frequency. If you come from New York, for instance, you're a Northerner. I guess it makes sense, given the geography. I do call people from Georgia, Southerners. I just would never think of people from New York or Massachusetts, Northerners. I think of them as East Coast.
-Cemeteries are a big deal here. They're even turned into public parks, which is a really foreign concept to me. And I'm saying this as a mortuary wife.
-Interracial marriages are rare. We look like a white man, a Chinese woman, and a Mexican baby.
-Asians are rare. I might have seen a dozen on this whole trip, most of them were either immigrants or tourists from Asia. I'm not actually sure I saw another Asian-American, like me. I figured that, within our traveling party, my Otherness was mitigated by Claus' Nordic representation, and that Olivia can Pass. Nothing racist happened, though. People were really nice.
-The food is largely heavy, and fried. Did I mention I bought new pants?
I feel partly inspired to make trips to visit the 25 states I haven't been to. We live in a big and beautiful country, with so many regional and cultural differences. It's a privilege to be a part of all this great Americannness.