Our Home in the South

Trip Start Nov 28, 2011
Trip End Dec 18, 2012

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Where I stayed
Ed and Trish's House
The Pines, Asheville

Flag of United States  , Georgia
Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Our journey here was a little disorientating due to the time 3 hour time difference.... our plane left at just after 11pm from Seattle took just over 4 hours (not long enough to sleep) and arrived at 7am so my brain couldn't really compute what was going on, especially without any sleep.

We arrived at the airport and Ed was due to pick us up but after a while he hadn't arrived so I started interrogating George about the information he had given Ed and prompted him to call, in George's inevitable style he didn't have Ed's phone number on him, it was locked in his e-mail account which he couldn't access!!!

George then went back into the airport in search of wifi got Eds no and left him a message.  Ed called back soon after, he thought we arrived at 7pm!  George insists that he did mention a.m. but I am going to give Ed the benefit of the doubt knowing how disorganised George is!!!  Plus it's polite and much more traditional to blame your own boyfriend for the mix up rather than your very hospitable host!!

So we arrived at Ed's house and I have to say I am very excited about as we will be staying in a real American house and will hopefully get a real feel for America not just as tourists.  The house looks like they do on American t.v. shows clapboard with a big front lawn, covered porch, big back yard tucked away in a small (huge by UK standards) cul de sac in the countryside North East of Atlanta.  They layout is open plan in the reception area with their master suite being as big as my last flat was, we just don't get houses like this back in the UK for the mass majority of people these would be heading up to the 1m mark but property is less expensive in the US unlike bread!!!

We were met by two beautiful boxers Betty and Wolfgang,they are proper lumps but absolutely beautiful and so friendly, Ed seemed a little concerned that I might not like dogs but quite the opposite I was smitten in fact Wolfgang actually told me he would like to come home with me, he feels that the temparature would suit him a little better he feels it is a little muggy for him in Georgia.

Our day was spent quite lazily with George and Ed catching up and me getting to know him, a walk round the park with the dogs which was hot the weather was a bit more akin to the Asian climate hot and muggy.  A bath and an unplanned snooze later our evening was spent getting to know Trish, Ed's very lovely wife, eating pizza and having a glass of wine.  I have to say after only 12 hours here we both felt very at home and relaxed and were beginning to realise how much we miss a home and how unrelaxed we have both been without any private space, it is also testament to how welcome our hosts have made us.

Day 2 After going to sleep at midnight I woke up a midday..................this is unheard of I cannot remember the last time I slept for 12 hour without even getting up for the loo.  I reckion it was probably about at least 2 year ago!!  So after our late start, which we were both utterly shocked at, we had some cereal and set of for a walk with the dogs and Ed.  Trish finished work early so we could all go out to dinner at the next town along and met with their friends Ben and Scott, also Ed's business partners, who were both lovely and ..........................................English!!  It was so weird speaking to English people!!   At the restaurant I was able to ask Trish about some of the more American foods which we had not yet tried and they managed to get me a sample of cheddar grits, not really my thing it is a bit like Polenta  but with a slightly 'gritty' texture as though some of the grains have softened but not mushed yet and I am reliably informed it you don't put flavour in, like Polenta, there is no flavour.

I had very delicious ribs and for the first time on our trip had a side of mac n cheese, I hadn't ordered mac n cheese before as I would have it as a main at home as it is a bit filling for a side and in some places it has looked a bit sloppy but I thought  I would try it and was glad I did it was neither sloppy or too large a portion.  It was lovely evening spent chatting in particular I was gettin some insider info on the south which has very strong policitical and religious views, after all it is the bible belt, to get a real feeling of what it is like to live here not just be a visitor or a brit who had a British ideology to start with.

A most enjoyable evening and Trish and Ed have planned a trip up into the Carolina mountains to a cabin for the weekend, how very exciting so off to bed for us.

Well that was an unsuccessful nights sleep I ended up until 4am on my computer and then tossed and turned just to dozing till I finally gave up trying at 8am!!!  Definitely a combination of things stopping me sleeping, all within my control, sleeping too long the night before ................nobody needs 12 hours, way too much caffeine during the day and red meat for dinner not a conducive combination to restfull sleep.   To boot I am starting to think about our return home with securing a suitable job and home at the forefront of my mind now.

Today we are going on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina to a cabin in the mountains.  After a morning pottering and getting ready we had a delicious buffet lunch of salads before setting off.  We made good time, settled in to our cute cabin in the woods then headed off to the local fresh food market where we stocked up on dips, delicious falafel chips, vegetable chips and green bean chips (they sound a bit odd but they are delicious), nuts, wine, beer, cereal, milk and teabags, what else does one need!

After drinks and nibbles back at the ranch we headed into town for dinner to Rosetta's which came recommended however it seemed to be closed so after a wander we headed to a sushi place that Ed and Tricia had been to before and all of us ordered selections we kind of recognised and took a leap of faith and tried the bits we didn't recognise. Tricia and I also indulged in some saki mine was ginger and lemongrass saki,  strong but yummy. 

After a good nights sleep with the lovely Wolfgang we roused to the smell of freshly brewed coffee which Ed had gone and bought for us all.  From there we took the dogs for a walk to a nearby lake but where promptly told we were not allowed to walk the dogs unless we had permits at $50 per dog, so walk abandoned we headed back to the car to drive up into the mountains.  The views were beautiful with all the mountains heavily forested with tiny clearnings with houses nestled in, I am not sure how they get to the houses but great positions.  The clouds started to come in and the top of the mountains started to disapear. It is surprising how much cooler it is here, not cold but fresher.

Back at the cabin we all had a lazy remainder of the afternoon snoozing and reading before heading into town again.  Where we headed to Mellow Mushroom for pizza and salad.  Delicious and super filling all of us had to take pizza home. 

Another good nights sleep but without Wolfgang and we all started showering and packing, except for Ed who had gotten up earlier than us all and gone cycling up into the mountains.  After he freshened up and we all finished off we headed back to Auburn and the hot humid heat of Georgia.

George and I are having a lovely visit and our hosts have been more than accomodating and we are feeling very relaxed and comfortable but a little guilty that we are imposing so we want to try and make ourselves less of a burden so thought cooking dinner would be a nice gesture and helpful, that is if we can remember how to cook in a real kitchen.

We made linguini in a chilli, garlic and tomato sauce with roasted vegetables and garlic bread, simple but that is the best route in a strange kitchen.  It was very tasty if we don't say so ourselves however George did buy a habernero chilli which didn't taste that hot raw but certainly intensified as it cooked and packed a punch, hopefully they thought it was ok, we would never usually make it that hot!!

It is Monday and today we are going to see Ed's workshop and his colleagues there.  I am thinking about going home more and more and what I will do to have an income, I think it is because I am spending time with people who actually work, so I have sent a few feeler e-mails out to see what opportunities there are for me back home. 

The workshop was great a cute barn which they hand built from the woods surrounding it.  Scott, Ed's friend and colleague owns the property which has woods, stream and lake and he took me on a walk through their woods to collect Chanterelle mushrooms which were abundant, Scott's two dogs and their pig Pog came with us.  Jeez the pig is solid, strong and bloody fast it gave the dogs a run for their money.  I also got to feed the pig a piece of bread and thankfully didn't loose any fingers to its very sharp teeth, and see the chickens and their chicks.  Even more strangely at one point Angeline, Scott's wife, explained that the man 30ft up a ladder leaning against one of their trees was her chinese herbalist doctor who was cutting humungous mushrooms down which had some cancer fighting properties and we also had to have a peek at Scott's micro brewery.

From there Ed, George and I went out to Athems, home of REM and B52's, where we had a wander round the town centre which was pretty cool.  We stopped for lunch which was delicious I had chicken and dumpling soup, salad and cornbread an amazing lunch combo which I think the UK should start serving.  Ed picked the only vegan meal on the menu, as he is trying to follow a vegan diet, however for some strange reason they also gave him cornbread which without seeing it being made even I know it must have eggs, butter and I wouldn't be suprised it it has some milk in it.  George opted for a burger with a local flavour but he was a little disapointed with the cheesy pepper topping and the very rare burger. 

On the way home we stopped at a gun shop to see what it was like, jeez it was very big and sold every type of gun imaginable including pump action shotguns, tear grenade rocket launchers and a $10,000 high powered sniper rifle ..............this all seems a bit unnecasary to protect your home or go deer hunting.  Apparantly after 9/11 the states where it was legal to keep firearms people started sock piling funs and amunition...............paranoid or what!?!?

Back home to Auburn where the evening was spent watching really rubbish tv, our own fault the tv does have a remote but we were either chatting or checking out the internet and enjoyed a delicious dinner of mexican rice burritoes.

The following day Ed had to head off to Wisconsin for work so we spent the day at home chilling, catching up on laundry, pottering in Tricia's garden watching the huge butterflies enticed in by the wild flowers.  Tricia came back from work with the fixing to make fish tacos, I felt really bad that we hadn't cooked but Auburn is in the countryside and we couldn't get to the supermarket.  The fish tacos were delicious and I have written down the recipe to try to replicate when we get home. 

Our last day in the South we went into Atlanta with Tricia and when she went to the office we headed off exploring.  First on my list was to see the home and church of Martin Luther King Jr, it was a very moving experience visiting the historic area and seeing first hand the area I have read about and the visitors centre had lots of footage, photographs, newspaper articles and artefacts belonging to him. 

From there we headed back to downtown had lunch at chicken fillet, Tricia had told us it is a southern institution so we should really try it, it was very delicious and I recommend their chicken fillet strips if you ever go.  From there we headed to Coca Cola World and did the tour which ends in their tasting room where you sample as much pop from their worldwide selection, many varieties of soda we haven't heard of including a watermelon drink which is made for South American countries

We wandered round the town looking at the architecture which is quite impressive and the city has a really nice chilled vibe and amazing weather.  We met Tricia back at the office and headed home via the supermarket to collect a few bits for our last dinner together.

We have had a really lovely and relaxing time with Tricia and Ed and loved their dogs, 2 beautiful boxers, Wolfy and Betty, who we will miss very much but it is time to be moving north to the Big Apple.

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