I've always felt like I was a bit misplaced in the world. I was born in Long Island, NY and spent the beginning of my life there. My family and I moved to NC when I was 14 and I've lived here ever since. I maintained close friendships with many of my friends from NY, and most of my family is still there so I always had a strong connection to my Northern roots. No matter how much distance is between me and the Empire State, it will always have my heart. My fondest memories were made there, and being a New Yorker has molded me into the woman I am today.
Ever since I stepped foot on Southern soil I have felt a little out of place. I never quite fit in with the Southern Belles around me, and I had kind of lost touch with my crew from NY. As you might imagine, dropping a teenager off in the middle of the South is like slow torture. Though I loved being closer to my grandparents, and loved my new friends in NC, something just never quite clicked. The first couple of years I lived here I got a lot of "You're not from around here are you?" or "You talk funny". I got tired of explaining my story to everyone I met, so for the most part I kept kinda quiet.
So when it was time for my high school class reunion I kinda had mixed emotions. Since I felt like I never truly bonded with my friends from high school, a class reunion was the last thing on my mind. I hadn't talked to most of the people I went to school with for several years at that point. Most of them had remained close throughout college. I found out about my reunion at the last minute....in fact, it was the morning of my reunion. Being that it was such short notice, I was unsure about whether or not I should go. I had no idea who would be there, if there was anyone I knew who would be attending, and I didn't have a date. For someone like me who likes to plan out my every move, I was not very intrigued with the idea. The idea of showing up to a reunion with people I hadn't seen in eons without anybody to keep me company was a little daunting.
Nonetheless, after talking with a good friend, I was convinced to go. I set out by myself headed to the reunion expecting the unexpected. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were tons of people with whom I'd forgotten about. I also discovered that we did actually have a bond with one another. I simply forgot about it as I moved on through adulthood. I managed to rekindle a few friendships as we reminisced about old times.
At the end of the night we all ventured off to a local lounge. Now this is where the expected becomes really unexpected...We managed to take over the entire place. In every corner there was someone from my high school sitting and laughing about old times. As I moved my way through the crowd I found a comfy spot next to an old friend and her brother. While I was waiting for my drink this VERY tall, very well spoken, very handsome dude caught my eye. He immediately pushed his way over to me and introduced himself. What was funny about him was that with all of his brawn and his suave Mack Daddy vibe, he was actually drinking a Shirley Temple! Not what you would expect for a tall, handsome brother like him. When he introduced himself I greeted him, and he immediately said...are you ready for this..."You're not from around here are you?" I let out a loud laugh. "And neither are you" I said to him. He gave me a flirtatious grin and quietly let me know that he was indeed NOT from around there. He was actually from the West Coast. A Cali boy to be exact. By the time the introductions were done, he had asked the waitress for a beer. A few minutes into the conversation I realized that I had finished my beer, and he had still not taken a sip of his. "This dude obviously doesn't drink, " I thought to myself. I called him out on his fake macho vibe and he let his guard down. "No. I don't drink," he said to me. "I just didn't want to look like a punk when I was talking to you". What?! Is this dude serious? I went to one of the top party schools on the East Coast, and he drinks Shirley Temples for a living...WOW
I couldn't figure out whether or not it was lame that he tried to trick me into thinking he was super macho, or whether it was cute that he thought enough to even try and impress me. He was laid back, loved surfing, but he was a Captain in the Army. Weird combo as far as I was concerned. I went back and forth with the issue over and over again...then I married him 2 years later. To this day I can still drink him under the table, and he still tries to impress me with his macho vibe. And I've learned to not take life so seriously. I spent years and years trying to figure out where I belonged instead of simply enjoying where I am. Instead of being confused about two distinct lifestyles, I embrace them. A Southern Fried Yankee...I'll take that. As long as I have my Surfer Boy Soldier by my side.
Happy Anniversary Baby. 2 years and counting!