Sweet Tea and Sky Scrapers? What in the world do those two things have in common? Why would I name a blog that? So glad you asked!
The Sweet Tea: I am a Georgia girl … I love my sweet tea. Or, as my dad calls it, syrup. All you yankees out there that drink unsweetened tea or dilute your sweet tea with water, you may need to have your head examined. You don’t know what you’re missing out on! Do me a favor – take a trip to Savannah. It’s beautiful, historic, full of things to do, and you can walk around downtown with an open container – what’s not to love? (Yes, you heard me right. Stop in One Eyed Lizzie’s or Wet Willies, order your favorite cocktail or daiquiri and walk OUTSIDE with it!) While you’re there go to a good ole’ southern restaurant. Not Lady and Sons. Sure, Paula Dean owns it and she’s known for her southern cookin’. But I promise you can do much better. My mom makes better fried chicken – pay her the $20/person instead. Go to Carey Hilliard’s, Johnny Harris or Loves. They are the local spots, not the touristy ones. Order yourself some fried chicken, mac ‘n cheese, fried shrimp, peach cobbler, and Lord almighty … SWEET TEA! I promise you won’t be disappointed, and you may even start a new trend “up there.”
The Skyscrapers: I loved growing up in the south, but small town drama can take a toll on a gal. You can only handle so much of it. Most of the girls I grew up with were born and raised in the same small town. Many had dreams of going to a nearby college, marrying their high school sweetheart, having babies in their early 20′s, moving back to our hometown, maybe even teaching at our same schools ….
Don’t get me wrong. There is NOTHING wrong with that. In fact, I admire those people. I love those “southern families” …. so close, so involved, so happy. I think it’s amazing. But I always knew I was just a little different. I had big dreams, many unrealistic, but they were fun. I wanted to start my own business. I loved to travel (even if I did only travel the east coast). But most importantly - I wanted to move to a city. A real city. Somewhere where you could go out to eat and not run in to your ex. Where you had 200 stores to shop, instead of ten. Where the mall is three stories high and not one. Where people got dressed up and went out on Fridays, instead of going mud boggin’ or to drink from a keg around a bonfire (I can’t lie, I still love to do this.) I wanted to move there…. at least for a trial run if not forever. Of course, the older I got, the more I realized the importance of family and how much it means to be so close to everyone. I have amazing parents, 2 older brothers, a younger sister, three nieces, two nephews and another little one on the way. I cannot imagine being hundreds of miles away from them. To know that my 4-year-old niece turned 5 and I couldn’t be at her birthday? That just sounds SINFUL. But I have always known there is more to life than the small-town south. I haven’t traveled TOO much just yet, but I have been to Atlanta – loved it. New York City – loved it. Chicago – loved it. A few others – not quite so large – and loved them as well.
I know, without a doubt in my mind, that I want to move to one of those amazing cities. Maybe not forever, but I know I need to give it a shot. So many opportunities, so many things to do, so many places to see and people to meet. How could I let that pass me by? And one day I will. But until then … I will live in Jacksonville, FL. An amazing and beautiful city, with a downtown, rivers and beaches. Far enough from home that I have my independence but close enough that I can still go home when I want to. It’s a nice combination of my “small town home” and the “city life.” For now. And yes, we have skyscrapers.
(Photo of downtown Jacksonville skyline by Beth Slater.)
I will forever have my Southern Girl roots, and be proud of it. But there’s nothing wrong with being a southern girl in a big city, right? I mean … I will always say, “y’all!”