At my school in Morocco there were a couple of other US southerners on staff, but apparently my accent was the most pronounced. Locals thought I was from Texas, and my students imitated the way I say Wifi with a long i. (It’s pronounced with a short i there.) The chorus of a popular song in Morocco I first heard sung by one of my seniors, Ismail, asks, “Why, Why, Why…” Since I was on a mission from Day 1 to get working Wifi on campus, even students not in my classes sang what morphed into the “Ms. McCain version”: “Why, Why, Why…why is there no Wyyyy Fyyyyy?” (We have it now.) One of my ninth graders begged me to bring back my cowgirl boots this fall. They’re packed.
This blog is about what we all crave– adventure, beauty, and relationship. It’s about appreciating other cultures and embracing our own. Twenty -five flights since leaving Nashville almost a year ago, this “Southern Girl Gone Global” is happy to be home for a spell. I’m so thankful for what I’ve experienced in Morocco and nine other countries visited in 2015 (more blog posts on these destinations to come), and I am also excited to share my summer vacation in Kentucky and Tennessee with readers. Consider this an invitation to those traveling to the US to check out all Nashville and the surrounding area has to offer. We’ll tour some of my favorite neighborhoods for those wanting not only must-see tourist attractions but also tips on where to do life like a local.
Some say language is home. True. But the heart of the home is definitely the kitchen. Expats in Marrakesh heading to native soil for the summer began in late spring talking about what they’d eat first when they landed. Top of my list was Mexican food, grilled meat, and barbecue. One night I literally dreamed of bacon. So for this lake lover, arriving for July 4th weekend when focus on family, friends, and food is at fireworks proportion was a very good thing. Lunch from a cooler on the boat…potato salad, baked beans, my sister’s blackberry cobbler, and Red Stripe. Dinner at Barkley Lodge‘s seafood buffet where I ate my weight in frog legs and catfish. Dinner the next night at the marina for burgers and live music. And on the way back to Nashville, a family reunion at the home of my cousins, Brock and Laura, where we ate Rutland’s Bar-B-Q (my dad worked for the Rutlands when I was a child).
Independence Days are celebrated in over 170 countries, and I observed Morocco’s last year as a new resident as well as Colombia’s, Chile’s, France’s, and Mexico’s as Nashville’s Latin Dancing Examiner. I’ve celebrated my US holiday in diverse ways, but it was so good this year to return to where the 4th was spent when I was a child in Kentucky. I love food and family. I love summer. Always have. Always will. Because for someone who has been in school since she was five, summer vacation means freedom.