So, we’re back from our weekend trip, and I’m settled in enough to get back to this blog series. Yesterday was just a bit crazy, so it didn’t happen. Here we go.
Six Places! I’m not sure what they want – is this six places I loathe? Six places I love and can’t decide which one I want to retire to? Six places I want to visit? I’m playing this by ear.
- Greenville, South Carolina. Ten years ago, I’d only been through Greenville once for about 2 hours total, and I coudn’t really even remember how we got there. I certainly never foresaw this place becoming my home, but after over five years here, I can say I am in love with this place. It’s just a beautiful area, close to the mountains and with a full four seasons to enjoy (rather than the two seasons we had back on the coast – summer for 3/4 of the year, and then a semi-winter). It became my “home” in so many ways before we welcomed Russ, but now that he’s with us, it is that much more my #1 place. I just don’t know if I’d ever want to live anywhere else full-time. That said, there are some other places that I could spend quite a bit of time…
- St. Simons Island, Georgia. We went here, sort of on a lark, for our honeymoon five years ago and just fell in love with the place. It is the most relaxing vacation, and doesn’t cost a lot of money compared to other places we could go. We tend to do the same thing every day that we’re there, which includes a lot of time outside and lots of yummy local specialties at the fabulous restaurants nearby.
- Lake Marion, Manning, SC. Manning has quickly replaced Conway as the place where I spend most of my time. In fact, I was born and raised in Conway, South Carolina – up til the 22nd year of my life – but you won’t find it on my list of places. Life is just evolving in that way, and I find that I feel a sense of belonging and comfort in the Lake Marion area that calms my soul and spurs deep thought. It’s definitely my favorite place to write, and of course, to spend time with my loved ones. My family on my father’s side has roots deeply embedded in this area, and I always feel like I’m somehow connecting to that part of my lineage whenever I’m there. It means something to me.
- Omaha Beach, Normandy, France. I want to visit here one day. In fact, I’m probably pretty unusual because of all the places I could go in Europe, I want to go here. I need to go here. I want to go there and sit and just be for awhile. My paternal grandfather managed to make his way up the beaches without being stopped in the violent and sad way that so many soldiers were on D-Day, only to succumb to a very sudden and violent heart attack at the age of only 46 – so I never met him, but I hear I’m very much like him. Sometimes I think it’s kind of like the Miranda Lambert song about “The House That Built Me,” that connection she speaks of that is felt through a place. I never got to meet him, but I guess a part of me believes that if I can just get here and sit, somehow I’ll find a greater connection to this lost part of my history. I don’t really care much about shopping in Paris or seeing the Berlin wall, though I’d love to do those things, too. But this is #1 on my future European itinerary.
- New York City. I’ve never been! Can you believe that? OK, I’ve been through one time, in 1999 on the way back from my father’s 20th reunion at West Point. He wanted to drive us sort of on the outskirts of the island (if NYC has outskirts to speak of), and we ran out of gas, and I remember being able to see the Twin Towers peering over the edge of shorter buildings nearby. I also remember the transsexual who was pumping gas for us. It was a very strange experience, but I remember being at my most awkward point in life (16 years old) and thinking “Wow, I would be a normal person here!” It was really something. I’d love to go back and actually see the city.
- The Mountains of North Carolina and Tennessee. If you really want to know the essence of me, picture a teenage girl, sitting in the backseat on a long family car trip, headphones blaring Smashing Pumpkins audibly to other passengers, staring out the window at mountains that seemed impossibly tall (even though they’re nothing compared to what you find out West in Colorado, Utah, etc.). I’m still there somewhere, and I think it’s really a fluke that I was born in a Coastal town. I am most definitely a mountain girl.