As the weather swelters and summer approaches, my days in the south are finally numbered. After years of wishing my time here away, having never truly fit in, it’s time to move on. New adventures await! But, before I can look ahead, I’ve become overwhelmed with unexpected love and nostalgia for this place that I long fought and, let’s face it, has always fought (no, more like brutalized!) me.
But, as I make plans to move forward, I’m realizing just how near and dear the South has come to my heart. Now, the long roads and rolling hills are familiar. The air. The smells. The sounds. The trees. The sunsets. I’m in love. And on one recent drive into the beautiful countryside (which is essentially any locale outside of the city for me), with windows down enjoying the delicious smells of sweetgrass in the sun, I found myself starting to question – Am I leaving home? Did it happen? Did I actually become a southerner???
Well, not quite 😉 I wouldn’t go that far…I don’t think…
I’m more like that renegade “southerner” everyone wants to get rid of because I won’t dress in paisley, wear flip flops year-round, drink beer wrapped in a koozie, or say “y’all.” But, I may still have a little southern in me. I mean, I didn’t go through the cattle-like ritual cotillion-thing for nothing! Right? And yes, I attended university in Charleston where we had oyster shucking parties, graduated in formalwear and attended symphonies while sitting in plantation fields surrounded by moss-covered oak trees and marshes. It just doesn’t get more southern than that! Of course, I didn’t do any of these things in traditional fashion (wore a lot of black and shirts that read “Do Not Care”), but still 😉
It turns out, I’ve actually loved growing up in the south. And man, I never thought those words would ever come out of my mouth! But, it’s true. It’s only in the closing of this chapter that I’ve found my balance and acceptance of this place that has long been a very complicated relationship. But, this is home. Whether I fit in or not, I will always look forward to visiting the south.
So, while I’m still here, there are a few things I want to do before packing up and heading out:
- Sit on my porch as much as possible sipping sweet tea
- Go for a hike
- Attend one more show at The Filmore
- Visit a historic site
- Have massive amounts of seafood in Charleston
- Host a lowcountry boil
- Drive up to the Blue Ridge Parkway for a scenic picnic
- Enjoy treats from several of our local Farmer’s Markets
- Spend an afternoon at a local vineyard
- Eat as much BBQ as possible
- Go strawberry picking
- Make a few more stops for the best fried chicken at Price’s Chicken Coop
- Visit Lazy 5 Ranch
- Explore all of Charlotte’s museums
- See the synchronizing fireflies at Congaree Swamp
- Spend an afternoon at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden
- Capture every inch of the city through a photo diary
- Try as many flavors of as I can at the Elizabeth Creamery
What do you think? What else should I add to my list?