I realize I probably should have introduced myself first before my last post. First and foremost, I am from Maine. Until I moved to Alabama, I had no idea how important that was to me or how much it shaped me as a person. I've spent nearly my entire life within 30 minutes of the ocean. I love the ocean, and everything that comes out of it. I love lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams, Striper (oh how I love Striper), haddock, you name it. I love the smell of the ocean; I even like the smell of rotting seaweed. These last two years in Alabama have been hard since the closest ocean is more than 4 hours away.
I picked the name of the blog for a very specific reason. Growing up, the term "Yankee" meant someone who played for the Yankees, the sworn enemies of the Red Sox (GO RED SOX!!). I knew it had other meanings, but that is the only one that mattered to me. Down here, "Yankee" means someone from the North. Many people down here still aren't very fond of people from the North. After I moved down here and got a job at a small electronics store, people would ask where I was from. When I told them I was from Maine, many would tell me the following joke:
Customer: "Do you know the difference between a Yankee and a damn Yankee??"
Me: "No. What is the difference?"
Customer: "The damn Yankee stays!!"
After this exchange, the customer would have a good a laugh, and needless to say, I did not feel very welcome at all.
Now on to the reasons.
I'm writing this blog for 2 reasons. The first reason is that I am a scientist. I want to record my experiences in Alabama. It is so incredibly different down here. I know I'm still in the same country, but sometimes it really doesn't feel like it. The language is different. The attitudes, the beliefs, the driving, the way everyday life is approached is so dissimilar from what I'm used to, what I grew up with, that sometimes I feel like I'm half way around the world, and not just half way across the same country. There will be a lot about this in coming posts.
The second reason I wanted to write this blog is because the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement is next year. Birmingham, and all of Alabama, really, are preparing an enormous celebration for it. People who talk about the celebration on television and the local news talk about how far Alabama has come since 1963. They talk about how there is so much less hatred and division and racial tension. If this is less hatred, then I would not have wanted to Birmingham in 1963! I will be talking about what I see and hear about race and hatred in this blog. I grew up in Maine, very insulated from the race issues that I see plaguing Alabama. Moving to Alabama has really opened up my eyes to the enormous issues this country still faces in terms of race and hatred.
Since I'm about 2 years late starting this blog, I'll be writing both about present and past events. I'll be sharing stories about things that have happened over the past 2 years. Mixed in with those stories will be events as they happen, things that have happened today or over the last week. I have so many stories and I really want to get them all out of my head. They've been taking up a lot of space lately, so I guess it's time to start sharing them. Here goes...