Going to college near the white sandy beaches of Pensacola was amazing. Beach days for...days. The Pacific Northwest has beautiful beaches but most of the year they're cold. They're epic...but cold. If the air does get warm the water stays...cold.
The beaches of North Carolina are definitely more like Florida. The famous Outer Banks are close by, we're about 45 minutes from Emerald Isle (more beach). Touristy in the summer gives way to empty in the winter. An added bonus - 4-wheel-drive vehicles are aloud on beaches during the off-season for fishing (we don't fish yet but like the idea!).
Living in the Country.
It's nice to get a break from the city. Don't get me wrong, we love the city. But country stuff is cool. Cotton. Bug sounds at night. Mowing the jungle with a tractor. Tree frogs hitching a ride into the city in my passenger seat. Space for a big garden. Dried gourds for sale at the farmer's market. Country people that know how to do country stuff.
History...more specifically, pirates.
It's quite possible that fate has brought us to this area to retrace the footsteps of the Wright Brothers (First in flight in the Outer Banks) and the legendary pirate Blackbeard. His long lost ship, the Queen Anne's Revenge, was discovered off the coast about 1.5 hours from where I sit typing right now...wait till I tell the pirates of Brick Sailboat...
I was fortunate enough to grow up in Missouri around country folk. Not rednecks. That's right, I'm drawing a line in the sand - people who live in small towns, know how to do lots of cool country stuff - build, hunt, fish, fix - and perhaps drive big trucks because they need them to do big truck things (and they usually have a cheap compact to commute in...because, duh, giant trucks use a lot of gas). They're on the one side. They're country. They have so much to share about the land that they love.
On the other side of the line are people who pride themselves in being uneducated, wasteful, litterbug, rednecks. City folk who haven't grown up around true country people probably haven't realized the distinction, but I'm glad I have. Although country folk & rednecks both claim epic American-ness, only one passes on a country that I'd want to live in. So far I've gotten a taste of both here in NC (P.S. The Jurassic Park giant truck transcends country/redneck labels due to its awesomeness).
I don't like okra, sweet-tea, or grits. But I do like Spanish moss, Bojangles, & Which Wich (technically from Texas but I've never seen one until NC!).
There you have it, a few first impressions from our new state. Next Monday we'll share a few more and then off to aquatic adventuring!!!
~Paul & Amber ETC