March 22, 2010

When Mason met Dixon

When Tim Brown married us in the Spring of 2002, he entertained our wedding guests at Dimnent Chapel when he said something like, " we have an Arkansas Razorback who came up here and picked one of our Tulips."

For those of you who have never been to my hometown, the fee for picking a Tulip is around $100 (per Tulip). We are very protective of our Tulips. They are part of who we are as a Dutch-immigrant-founded-and-populated town on the southern swoop of Lake Michigan's east coast. Yes, we have a coast. Laugh until you see it, people. Daniel did.

Speaking of southern swoops, I am starting to notice my own "southern swoop," acquired over the past 8 years of living in the South and with Southerners. One might say that I am now a Tulip/Razorback hybrid, or a flower in pig's clothing, or pork on a stem, or some combination of the above.I didn't realize how Southern I had become until recently, when a Northern family moved here (from the capital city of this country, but originally they are from the Dairy State). They are a tad more...abrupt...than the folks I have become accustomed to, and they use their upper sinus cavity much more frequently. They say things like "yer guys'es" when all of the rest of us say "ya'll." They say "I think I'll go with," leaving off the "you" on the end. I used to do these things and sound this way, years ago, I'm sure, but after three years in Arkansas, three years in Kentucky, and almost two years here, I have fallen out of practice. Most our friends in this city are either from East Asia, North Carolina, or Europe. Don't let the "North" in North Carolina fool you, it is a very Southern state. Even though I live in Asia, I am still surrounded by sweet-tea-drinkin', BBQ chowin' Southerners. We all teach our kids to say "yes mam" and "no sir," and never call an adult by their first name unless preceded by "Ms" or "Mr."

I am proud of both heritages in our family. I am proud to be a Northerner who is sincere and simple, and I am proud to be a grafted-in Southerner who is honorable and kind. I grew up, oddly enough, listening to Hank Williams Jr. and Alabama, and now I can claim some stake in the lyrics of those songs, and so can my kids (excluding Hank Jr.'s smoking and drinking lyrics, of course). I will be even more proud next year when our family becomes tri-cultural (after the adoption of our daughter). What fun to break down the walls that divide people, while celebrating the beautiful things on either side of the wall.

I thought you might like another engagement picture. :)