Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Yankees in Tara

That's what Scarlet said in "Gone with the Wind", dramatically clutching her neck (where her pearls would be, were she properly dressed), gasping at the horror of it all. I'm not quite that dramatic (maybe some would argue that I am), but sometimes the Yankee invasion does get to me.

Instead of ranting about what Yankees do that bug me, I thought I'd give all the Yankees out there some insight into how us Southerners think and why we do what we do. I will give it to them, if you are not from here, it can be a challenge. These may seem harsh, but all true.

1. "That was interesting" is a nice way of saying we hated it and don't ever want to do it again.
2. You do not need to voice your every thought and opinion. It's called a filter, get one. We are an indirect people.
3. Just because "that's how we pronounce it in New Jersey" does not make it correct.
4. Quit telling us it's hot, we know, you're the one that moved here.
5. Yes, casseroles are for every life event (birth, death, injury, illness). If you don't want it just throw it away, but give us our baking dish back.
6. "Hey" is a universal greeting.
7. Quit talking over us, we talk slow, that's not going to change. Small talk is a big deal. If you can't think of anything else, talk about the last time it rained, any local sports team, or share a deep dark family secret. All of this is acceptable.
8. Just accept "ya'll".
9. "Bless her heart" put at the end of any sentence immediately absolves us from the bad thing we just said about someone. For example: "She is as dumb as a box of rocks, bless her heart".
10. For good measure, just refer to the civil war as "the war of northern aggression".

I know some of it makes no sense, but trust me. Do these things, and you will make friends quickly here in the South.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Europe Overview

Hello all! Just returned from the trip of a lifetime! I am going to attempt to give a brief overview here, but it is hard to be brief with this trip. It was truly amazing and I am so thankful for the experience! Unlike my corporate gypsy travels, everything went like clockwork. We had beautiful weather the entire trip, smooth sailing, good health, and got safely from city to city (while dragging luggage through subways, etc).

A few days in Barcelona: One of my favorites on this trip! I loved this area and we had a great time here. The architecture is amazing. Obviously the surreal Gaudi buildings/parks are an experience, but also loved the Gothic quarter and beautiful cathedral there. The food market (Boqueria) was visually stunning and Las Ramblas (main drag through the city filled with shops, restaurants and street performers) was so much fun. We also saw Montjuic Castle via cable car and the Olympic Stadium. I highly recommend Barcelona and would go back there given the chance!

Mediterranean Cruise: I was not sure how I would feel about seeing Europe via Cruise Ship, but loved it! It is a wonderful way to see many countries/cities. Of course there are many places where one day is not enough, but it's a great sampler. With your lodgings, meals and transportation from port to port included, is also very affordable. Also, all of the tours we took through the cruise were done by local guides who spoke English, which were excellent.

Italy: Via the cruise, we went to Naples (Pompeii & Sorrento area), Rome, and Florence. Favorite here was Sorrento (Amalfi coast area). Glittering clear blue sea, gorgeous weather, city hanging off of a cliff on the coast, GORGEOUS! Go to this part of Italy if you can! Of course Rome was amazing, we got to see the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, and the Colosseum. As an art school drop out, this was awe inspiring for me. Definitely works of art you study and dream about, but don't think you will ever get to actually see. Amazing!

France: Via the cruise, we went to Villefranche (Cannes/Nice/Montecarlo area) and Toulon (Provence area). Villefranche was my favorite stop in France. It is a beautiful coastal fishing village, with wonderful old buildings. Much calmer and less touristy than Nice, but all of it was beautiful.

London: After returning from the cruise, we flew from Barcelona to London for a few days of sightseeing there. We experienced many of the great sights: Westminster Abbey, Tower of London, the London Eye, River Thames and St. Paul's Cathedral.

All in all, it was the most fabulous trip. On our last day in London, we were sitting under the magnificent dome in St. Paul's Cathedral and the "moment of prayer and silence" was announced. I thought about how fortunate I am. I am so thankful for my own faith, my job (which I complain about way too frequently but did provide the means to go to these wonderful places), my family & friends, my health, my husband and the experiences we'd had together on this trip. All of these things just washed over me and filled me with gratitude. It is hard to express, I do not deserve these things any more than anyone else, and I don't want to ever take them for granted.

Also Happy Birthday to my long-suffering travel companion and husband. Without his 40th birthday, we'd have had no excuse for this trip. I was reminded of his patience, humor and kindness on this trip.

So it is with a bitter sweet tone, I will conclude my international gypsy travels, return to work and corporate gypsy life!