Well after just a 3 month term in the Northeast I got the unexpected chance to take a trip back home. At first I was a little apprehensive - too soon? Would it really be that spectacular? Would things seem different already? And well the answer is no, things were just as familiar as if I had left the week before..when I arrived in Fayetteville I merely felt like I was returning from a dream. It was a refreshing dip back into the comfortable life. And alas a week later I returned to Norwalk with the strangest feeling...I was coming home but leaving my home at the same time. I didn't quite know how to feel. Sure there was relief to find my own bed but I didn't get the same warm, familiar feelings I was used to having when one does return home after a long trip. I wonder how it will seem a year from now. But I think I know the answer to that question and I am not disappointed to say that Fayetteville will always be my home. And I have merely just discovered a new kind of home. The kind of "home" we come to as we grow older and move away and pursue new experiences.
So while three months isn't very long, I think I had enough time in my new surroundings to notice a few things. Sure, you really can't compare one of the richest counties in the country to a bustling college town 3000 miles in the southern direction..my surroundings are definitely different here. I found many things refreshing. Jeans and t-shirts (Nascar and College football all the way), wide open space, less traffic (but drastically inferior drivers), casual dining, beers under 4 dollars, slow talking people, conversations from random encounters, sitting on the back porch drinking Michelob ultra, late night greasy grub, long drawn out story telling, hooping!, hippies, hipsters at that!, goats, cheap Mexican food and fire pits in back yards. Oh the south is a beautiful place, it really is. But there is still much to explore up here. And while the people are different, the roads more crowded, my fashion out of style and the culture a little hard to find it won't take very long to discover all the beautiful things about the northeastern coastal life vs. the Ozark educational hub. And although the younger crowd isn't the same as the college crowd in Fayetteville, they know how to have a good time from what I've seen! But if there's one thing I like other than a good time it's good food. And one of the things you really can compare is the food. By far the food up here is to die for! Of course you pay the price as well (although there are some more hidden gems you can find if you get lucky). I really love the prevalence of European influences that you just don't find in the south. Italian, Irish, Greek, Indian etc etc etc..it's all here. Granted Fairfield county is probably a little less diverse than say NYC or northern NY or New Haven it definitely has its influences. The fact that St. Patrick's Day parades occur the entire month of March tells you something of the background of many folks up here.
I'll get my first chance to show a southern home body around this weekend. My wonderful Mother is soaring in a jet on up here and I'll give her as best a flavor as I can give of the area. Seafood, frisk beach walks, big city NYC, authentic Italian dining and more! We'll definitely have an adventure. Let's hope she's the first of many.. Because at the end of the day a bit of my heart is still down south and every little bit I can get makes it feel all the more whole :)