Sometimes, when you're visiting, you can't wait to get out of there, and back to your new life. Other times, you wonder why you ever took a different path...
It is when you feel the latter that you have the best time, obviously, and feel the warmest about your home. That's how I felt last week down in East Tennessee.
It isn't always that way. I'm not proud of it, but sometimes, I get above my raisin' when I roll into my hometown. I see everything through the eyes of a Washingtonian, and become someone who thinks she's a little more cosmopolitain than those who've never lived in a bigger, faster place. I know I'm not the only person whose homecoming has left them feeling a little puffed-up, but I'm just 'fessing up to it.
I should also confess that I didn't truly love and certainly never fully appreciated where I grew up 'til I left it. Now, I often fall short of the words to describe what it is I actually even miss, which at times is everything and sometimes nothing but the people I love who are there still.
I can't even really put into words what it is that makes it so much different from or more special than living in D.C. or Maryland, where for ten years I've lived, but when asked, still say I'm from Tennessee.
It's been hard for me to bridge the gap from where I'm from, to where I choose to live now.
I was shopping last week in Knoxville and heard a sweet little lady twanging so hard, I swear, I couldn't make out what she was saying. Such a scene is not unlike when I'm shopping around Washington and someone is speaking a different language, only last week, in Tennessee, I felt a tad like the foreigner, and that made me a little sad.
Home is where your heart is, so it's said, but most of my nearest and dearest are still in Tennessee...
I have more friends than I can count between Northern Virgnia and Pennsylvania, but my oldest (and even some of my newest) friends are all down South.
I've learned to love blue crab, and even Old Bay, but nothing tasted better to me than the Grainger County tomato sandwiches I ate last week....
sitting on my mom's back porch.
I may never live down South again, and sometimes I wonder if I did live there, would I love it as much as I do now because I don't live there?
I celebrate the South for all its cliched fame (Football! Sweet Tea! BBQ! Y'all!) but there are bad things about it that can't be ignored. As a native I will defend the region like a daughter should, though I am as guilty as many for having empty pride for just being born Southern.