There are many wrongs in this world, Southern hospitality isn’t one of them. – That, I realized in the summer of 2010. Early on a Wednesday morning mid July did A and I pack up our suitcases into A’s car and were on our way to the warm and southern arms of Georgia. We could have flown but that wouldn’t have been half as much fun as driving and driving and driving for hours and hours (as I write this, I can’t help but put some sarcasm into that sentence). So why did we take the car instead of an airplane? I do not know but at least it was an unforgettable – never ending – long ride. Before I go on with this story though, I have to mention that every now and then, as we drove right next to several farms, a very strong smell entered the car, I later characterized the smell as being ‘mifty‘, which obviously has no real meaning but that was the best way for me to describe the smell.
Moving on – the reason we were on our way to Georgia was to meet A’s dad and his wife – Mr. & Mrs. G. They were kind enough to invite us to stay with them in their humble home. We were looking forward to a week of swimming, enjoying the area, having bbq and – for me – getting to know Mr. and Mrs. G. After all, they also contributed to the man A is today, the man I love most on this world, what would be more natural than wanting to meet them?
After a long – never ending day – many arguments about the music choices (halfway into our drive, we decided that the driver is in charge of the radio-station, without the passenger complaining about it (thank you apple for your earbuds…)), a few stops along the way (every milk-shake place we could possible stop at) and one or two food-places, we finally arrived in Georgia. As I stepped out of the well-air-conditioned car, I was basically slapped in the face by Georgia’s humidity. Thankfully it was only a couple steps to the doorway.
Now, thinking back, I guess it was a very odd and strange situation we found ourselves in. Since Mr. and Mrs. G life so far away, they rarely get a chance to see A and much less me. What ever they knew about me, was what A told them and vice versa. But see, that’s the funny thing about the South, I guess it’s something you adopt without really noticing, you become part of the culture. You invite and hug and greet and they were as sweet as they could possibly be. I think I mentioned before that in my family you don’t hug upon your first meeting, you shake hands, don’t talk about controversial topics and slowly get to know the other person.
I say this because of what happened next: A’s relatives (from Greece – living in PA) showed up a few days later and I don’t think I ever was hugged that much by strangers ever in my lifetime before… We (all 7) sat down at the dinner table (suitable for 4 people) and Mrs. G and I (who clearly are not used to so many Greeks at one table) listened to about 14 different conversations that took place at once. I am not quite sure, if they just ignored each other while talking or they talked because someone would somehow hear what someone said, if that someone was loud enough. I have to admit, by the end of that night my ears were exhausted but I went to bed happily, because it’s just an amazing feeling being invited into a family so quickly and being part of that – unforgettable – experience.
But back to Mr. and Mrs. G, one day they took us to Savannah to see where Forrest Gump was filmed, they showed us around a bit and we all just enjoyed an amazing (read: hot and humid) day out. We left the house early and returned late. I can’t recall how many times the word (that up to then I didn’t know) ‘nifty’ came up in conversations. It must have come up twice in almost every sentence and I couldn’t help but think, that just as I made up the word ‘mifty’, they made up the word ‘nifty’ to show an appreciation of something. At the end of the day, as A and I were sitting in bed, talking about the day’s events, I asked A why they kept saying ‘nifty’ and what it meant. He looked at me in surprise and I explained (in my own-very-diplomatic way), ‘when I invent a word, I explain first, what it means to others, before using it ever so often and I certainly don’t use a made up word that many times in a conversation… especially when the word just sounds silly and no one knows what it means.’
A started bursting out laughing. He then explained very calmly, that nifty definitely was a word and that no one was making it up and that it has been used for decades and decades. As I thought about what A said, I started laughing really hard. Here I was, thinking that nifty was just… well a silly word but yet I recalled all the times in my head, whenever someone would say nifty and all of a sudden it made sense. I laughed and laughed until my eyes started tearing up, A – watching me laughing – started laughing too. He said, it was just a joy watching me laugh so hard, I could hardly breath.
Needless to say we had a very nifty time with Mr. and Mrs. G in nifty Georgia. We went to a waterpark on Saint Simon’s Island, we went to see the alligators at Okefenokee, we saw Forrest Gump’s bench, where they filmed in Savannah and many many more things.
Both, A and I are looking forward to spending a nifty summer together with nifty Mr. and Mrs. G and maybe some relatives in nifty Greece. (Nothing set in stone yet, however I do hope to get the nifty chance to see Mr. and Mrs. G very soon again! Until then you guys have just to wait for a nifty update…)