Lately I have been thinking of all the places I want to go and experience, Turkey, New Mexico, Colombia, Arizona, Italy… The list can go on and on. But today I woke up with Charleston on my mind. For those of you who don’t know, I went to school in Charleston, and lived there for about four and a half years. Before that my family would take vacations down to Kiawah every year. So while I didn’t grow up in the South Carolina lowcountry, I did grow up with the South Carolina lowcountry.
By the time I left Charleston I was over it. I needed to get out. It was too small, all my friends left, it felt like there was nothing to do. When I went back for a wedding I was disappointed by how commercial it had become — losing so much of the local charm that enamored me as an 18 year-old.
But no matter what, once you get the lowcountry in your blood, you can’t escape it. Lately I have been reminiscing about the simplicity of the life that I had there. How laid back everything was, how warmly we were treated by the people in the city.
Maybe it’s the spring, but I miss the warm thick air, the smell of marshes, the magnolias in bloom. I miss wandering through downtown with silent old mansions and row houses in brightly painted colors. I miss the drawls of the southern accents and people strolling around the river front in the early twilight when the sky looks like it’s 17 shades of pink and purple, burning out over the water. I want to walk down streets with old oak trees and spanish moss giving you slight breaks from the hot sun.
El Hombre has never been to Charleston. I want to take him wandering through the market and around the old neighborhoods, preferably on bikes the way I used to get around. I want to eat fried chicken at Jestine’s, banana bread at Hominy Grill, and catch a slice at Andolinis. I want to explore the old plantations (something that I am embarrassed to admit I never did while there) and go to Kiawah and lie on the beach and ride bikes and climb the old lookout towers.