Sometimes you need to be around the familiar. Where you don't have to explain, justify, or put on airs. Where there's no need for a complicated backstory or resume because folks who "knew you when" wouldn't fall for all that stuff anyway. A place where everybody knows your name. Well, I got a good shot of "familiar" when I went home to Atlanta.
This daughter of the South spent four whole days breathing in the lush, languid green of late summer in Atlanta, delighting in massively tree-line boulevards like Peachtree Battle and Paces Ferry. Throwing Weight Watchers caution to the wind, I (over-)indulged in the particular culinary (OK, wrong word in this case) delights of the Colonnade's fried chicken, Krystal's little square burgers, Jalisco's queso and enchiladas, pimento cheese sandwiches, cheese straws, pecan pie, shrimp and grits, and Chik-fil-A's, well, chick filet. My eyes feasted on wildly-colored clothing - yes, New York, not all apparel is black! - clothing that's marvelously appropriate for lush, humid greenness and fancy bridal showers.
But the greatest thing about being back in Atlanta was being surrounded by people who knew me. Not just knew my name, but knew me. I went to two dress fittings with Kate, and both times ran into folks I knew. I got to have a wonderful dinner with Carey and Joanna - catching up, looking forward. I was welcomed back to my own dear church with open arms, giving real meaning to the work I do so many miles away in New York. And then, there were the bridal showers. I won't go into detail about them here, as I'll reserve that for The MoBster Diaries, but I cannot adequately express the complete sense of belonging that I felt at both parties.
I will say this. There is nothing as wonderful as a loud, laughing, loving group of Southern women. Lots of hugs and kisses and great stories made even better with mimosas, wine, and great food. Throw in bright colors and shower gifts, and you've got yourself an occasion for the ages.
My new world is friendly (yes, New Yorkers are pretty friendly) but anonymously so. I'm blessed with cheerful, mission-minded co-workers, and I meet truly wonderful people from all corners of the world on a regular basis. But sometimes that's just not enough. Sometimes a person needs familiar smells and tastes and most definitely faces and embraces.
So I can survive in my new world just fine, especially now that I've spent time in my old world, where everybody knows my name.