Small Talk

Going South: the vacation's end

March 13th, 2013

(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.

Martha and Diane

Martha and Diane

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.

5 Responses to “Going South: the vacation's end”

  1. Ken Conklin:

    "The sahth shall rahs agin."

    Actually there are three names for the 1860-1865 war.

    Northerners call it the Civil War.

    Southerners who have somewhat acquiesced in their defeat and are mellow call it the War Between the States.

    Southerners who are diehard deadenders of the Confederacy call it the War of Northern Aggression. They think the South has a right to be an independent nation. They vow that "The South shall rise again" and some of them are white supremacists with links to the Ku Klux Klan. [they remind me of radical Hawaiian independence activists who say Hawaii is under a prolonged military occupation by the United States ever since the U.S. "invasion" of 1893 and overthrow of the monarchy; and some of them are ethnic Hawaiian racial supremacists]

  2. Missing Hawaii:

    It was fun reading your travel blogs. I remember well seeing your pretty face on tv from my years on Oahu. Living in Atlanta is a big change from Hawaii but it is pleasant place to retire. And there is actually quite a large Korean community here in Altanta which I guess you didn't have time to discover. You definitely sound very happy in your new family life and occupation from your days in congratulations to you and best wishes to you and your family.

  3. Diane Ako:

    Ken Conklin- Yes! They do remind of militant Hawaiian activists! There were two vats of iced tea in the convenience store. One was labeled "Sweetened - Southern" and the other "Unsweetened - Northern". I've never been to a region that carries its history so closely. On the one hand, the war literally ravaged their land, and that's scarring. On the other hand, lots of wars were fought in Hawaiian lands, but that hasn't been handed down through the generations the way it has in the South.

  4. M:

    Hello Diane,
    Thanks for taking us along! I enjoyed reading about your adventure!

  5. AJ McWhorter:

    Aloha Diane,

    I need only to visit two states: North & South Dakota, to have visited all 50. I'm planning a Dakotas trip soon to see Mount Rushmore, the Badlands and whatever else that sounds interesting. Glad you had a good time on your southern trip, my mom recently lived in the Memphis area so I experienced that many times and we have had good friends and cousins all over the south as well. Longtime Channel 4 news anchor Don Rockwell lives in Atlanta and I also have friends who work at CNN! Everytime I leave the south I feel as if I dont want to come back, a 'been there, done that' kind of thing, but after awhile I have some yearning to return again. What is it, the southern hospitality, food? scenery? I'm not sure what really makes we want to come back again, but it does happen again and again! The summer months are very hot and humid and the winters are at times cold, but not as bad as the midwest or east coast! I also love Florida's beaches, even moreso than Hawaii, why many dont consider Florida the south is always been puzzling to me.

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