Favorite American Region
If someone were to ask me what my favorite region in the US is’ I’d answer, “I’m very fond of the American South.”
I remember how I fell in love with sweet potato pie and pumpkin pie after buying them at two different times at the local Wal-Mart super-center in a small, Southwestern city in Virginia (though, many Americans argue that it’s a big city). I became so closely connected to those two pies. I’m happy to say that the pies in the South are made delectably well. (Sweet potato pie is my favorite pie. Pecan is another huge favorite.)
I tend to like watching Southern chefs on the Food Network channel. The dishes always look more scrumptious than other dishes made by cooks from other regions. I have to admit that when Paula Deen was on the air, I paid specially close attention to her program, and there was a comfort food couple known as the Neelys that I loved watching also. I didn’t mind getting to know how Sandra Lee made meals with canned foods too. When I saw Rachel Ray come on screen, however, I’d leave the living room. When Guy Fieri appeared, I either rose from the sofa to walk around or changed the channel (no offense to those who love those two chefs, and, definitely, no offense to Rachel and Guy).
I’m not sure why but reading about racism and slavery in the South never fails to trigger an interest in my mind regarding that region. Hopefully, it’s possible to visit former plantations and tour museums focusing on Southern history. I actually feel that my appearing in the South could start some conversations with people about race and ethnicity since, as an Asian-American, this may likely occur since the Asian population is really small in almost all of the South. At times, when I was in the South, people thought there was a possibility that I was a native American Indian (telling me that I very much resembled the Disney character, Pocahontas; in fact, I’ve gotten that comment from others after leaving the South as well, but I can still claim that this remark originated in the South. I love Pocahontas so I don’t mind being compared to her anyway).
Due to the South’s complicated past on race, I figure that becoming acquainted with how many Southerners perceive ethnicity would be highly interesting.
I am also drawn to the poor, harsh conditions that many people in West Virginia, Mississippi, Arkansas and Alabama, and other small communities in the South that are affected by extreme poverty. I’ve always been engrossed in reading about poverty as well as race relations. I tend to love photo scenes and portraits associated with impoverished life. I can’t explain it but I feel more for images of the destitute South.
I confess that I like various Southern accents. Southern accents are beautiful. The stronger, the better. I don’t know from which state; perhaps any strong accent from any southern state would do.
I feel more inclined to look up ‘travel in the American South’. Reading travel articles about the South draws me more than reading about traveling around other parts of America. I’m not sure why.
I used to imagine living somewhere in the South. I envisioned myself working and socializing with people there. I’ve imagined driving around, eating out, just going about my daily life there.
It’s not the people that pull me in.
I can’t say what.
I was glared at in the South. I was in New Orleans for a short time, enjoying beignets. I was in Atlanta briefly as well. I observed people living in mobile homes. I saw ‘Jesus Saves’ billboards and huge crosses along highways and in the middle of a lot of open land. I’ve attended many church services, witnessing sermons at numerous churches of several denominations. I liked how simple the surroundings were everywhere around me.
I still can’t say why I feel more motivated to know more about the South.