My Cousin Vinny is a family favorite. If you haven’t seen it, you need to. The culture clash of the fast-talking northerner and the rural southerner really hit home with my family because we lived in New Jersey, but visited Tennessee often. We love it. To this day, my family still quotes bits of it to each other. When I received my placement teaching secondary social studies in Alabama, it felt like destiny. The Jersey girl down in Alabama asking where the nearest sushi place was and lamenting over the lack of WaWa’s – that was me. My life has finally come full circle.
Most of my friends who found out I was not just visiting Alabama but actually moving there for two whole years were confused. And honestly at first, so was I. What was I thinking?! I love the mid-atlantic region! I hopped on the internet and frantically searched. Were there any Whole Foods in Alabama?! (2) What about Chipotle? (again, 2) Trader Joe’s? (Zero) How close was the nearest IKEA? (6 hours) As I began to discover what I was like not living in the megalopolis that stretches from DC to NYC, the panic set in. I hadn’t ever truly realized how lucky I was to be living in this part of the country, and now I was signed on to two years being far away from it all.
But all that being said, I am ridiculously thrilled to be here. From what I have seen, people are as sweet as the tea and there are tons of museams and restaurants that are “hidden gems” just waiting to be discovered. Alabama is a whole new part of the country and a whole new adventure. I know more people who have been to London, Paris, and Rome than have ever been to Alabama, let alone Mississippi. I feel like an ambassador, not only for the state of New Jersey (I’m the only one in the ‘Bama Corp from the dirty jerz – crazy I know) but for the state of Alabama to my homeland, filled with people who cannot fathom my desire to go below the Mason-Dixon line for anything other than Disney World.
I am so very lucky to be given this opportunity. I wish I could express in words the amazing feeling you get by doing such meaningful work, every single day. But this work is hard as TFA says, I need to “buckle up.” I cannot wait to get all strapped in and enjoy this crazy, wonderful ride. An no, the chinese food isn’t terrible.