Some say the three best things about being a teacher are June, July, and August. And sometimes I have to agree with that! Because I’m off right now, I got to take a full week to go visit my family in Georgia. Where its a billion degrees and a billion percent humidity, but the people sure are nice.

Dublin, where my dad lives, has like 17,000 people, and a Super Walmart three city blocks wide, one Starbucks, and white people and black people. And like twenty dollar stores (Family Dollar, Dollar General, Dollar Store, Family General Dollar Store, etc.) and a different family name bank on every corner. If you blink while driving through “downtown” you will totally miss it. It’s about the most boring place ever. But I like that it’s slow…up to a point. No one seems too interested in getting anywhere too fast. You might pull something, or it might be a bother, or you might spill your drink. Or you have to go outside to get there, and it’s not air-conditioned outside.

Something that really freaks me out about the South is there are only white people and black people. People always think I’m Mexican, and even though I’m not, I like to see Mexicans around. But there weren’t any! And no Asians. Except the ones taking pictures on the beach. But coming from the Bay, that’s really weird. We stopped at a gas station for boiled peanuts and I was surprised but happy to see an Indian guy at the counter, which is nice and familiar. But I was even more surprised when he spoke and asked “How y’all doin?”

That is something very endearing about the South….that hospitality rumor is true. They’ve bred all impoliteness out down there. Everyone’s so “how y’all doin/yes, ma’am/Hi, Miss Rachel/so nice to meet y’all/make yourselves at home/whistling to work friendly” it’s almost overwhelming. But very, very sweet. We would walk the dogs around and everyone is waving to each other from their front porch or their lawns. They even wave at you when you drive by on the road! Here in CA, when I walk around the park, we’re all very careful to have earphones in and walk real fast, head down, to avert eye contact so no one mistakenly thinks we want to be friendly. If someone waves or smiles too much at me when I walk by, I’m worried they might rob me.

it was so great to get my little brothers all to myself. Usually I have to share them with my sisters. Andrew is 9 going on 19…he’s pretty grown up and easy to talk to. Jackson is 4 going on…well he’s the baby of the family and I think would be happy if he always was. He still has to have his blankie everywhere he goes and win every game or “it’s not fair!” and storms off crying at the drop of the hat. It’s a good thing he’s as cute as he is!

Growing up with sisters, it’s fun to get to wrestle around with my brothers…we’re always hitting each other and rolling around like a litter of puppies, alternatively kicking and hugging each other, making up secret handshakes, shooting guns in each other’s faces. Listening to their explanation of the difference between a “fart” and a “toot,” getting the play by play of the boys vs. girls Capture the Flag game, and watching our annual Star Wars marathon. I love that they will explain everything that happens in the movie to me, like I’ve never seen it before. Jackson says to me during Star Wars Episode II – “Rachel, you know how I know what’s gonna happen next?” “Why, Jack?” “Because I’ve already seen this movie.” They’re so literal and cute.

Andrew’s best quote this week came when he was showing me his artillery collection in his room, all carefully arranged and pre-loaded, ready for battle. He won’t let me touch some of them. Then he goes, “So, Rachel, you got guns? What weapons do you have in California?”

But Jack is verry quoteable. Here’s a good list of them:

“Show me your camera pictures or I’ll fart on you!”
“Rivers sure are handy.”
“What’s a corner?”
“Look at this big ol’ booger!”
“Rachel, I got my eeeeeyes on you!”
(stubs his toe) “Aw, man, I broke my best hopping foot!”
(watching Star Wars) “Rachel, cover your eyes so you don’t see the kissy part because we’re kids!”

and my favorite “This is the best day of my whole entire life because you’re here, sister.”