Sunday, February 15, 2004

Sightseeing and saying goodbye

This morning and early afternoon we spent sightseeing around downtown Atlanta, mostly the CNN center, the Underground and of course Coca Cola World. We’d already did some shopping in the Atlanta Underground last night, so now we wanted to do some sightseeing. We didn’t have time to take both tours at CNN and Coca Cola and my mom decided she preferred Coca Cola over CNN, so we entered Coca Cola World, which was smaller than expected. They had loads of old promotional materials and old packaging which was interesting to see.
There was more to do than look at old stuff and buying souvenirs: like posing behind faceless wooden cutouts, shooting coke and tasting Coca Cola brand beverages from all over the world. Most of them were good, I think my favorite was a lychee-flavored drink from some Asian country, but there were also a few terribly disgusting drinks.
Normally Atlanta is Hotlanta, but today was another story altogether. It rained, and rained… and rained some more. On our walk from CNN to Coca Cola World, we got so soaked our underwear was literally wet too! At one point we just discarded our useless umbrellas because we just couldn’t get more wet then we already were. We decided to take a rest and dry up some in Johnny Rocket’s in the Atlanta Underground, where my mother consumed her last real American meal, a unimaginably huge burger and a cherry coke. She loved it.
Saying goodbye (way too early after just 2 days) was painful, we actually spent the evening at the gym (for the first time) instead of studying in our room, because we were too sad to concentrate. But having had my mom here even for just this short amount of time was the most surprising, surreal and wonderful experience ever. Now, my homesickness is finally cured and I can start to really enjoy life in the States. Thanks, Moem for coming all the way here, I had an awesome weekend! She didn’t get to see much here in this short amount of time, but someday I’m going to make it up to her and show her the States properly.
Moem in Atlanta

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Shopping, steak and cocktails

Today, when I woke up, my mom was still here! This morning we drove (in a rented car) to a Tanger Factory Outlet far outside of Atlanta. It took a couple of hours to get there from Emory. We’d never been to an outlet before and we heard so many great stories about cheap but quality stuff, that we were anxious to check it out. We spent a fair amount of time there checking out all the stores, but actually it was quite a letdown… The only things purchased were a stars & stripes umbrella (by me) and some small souvenirs for people at home (by my mom). A regular mall would have been a better place to take my mom shopping, but sadly we didn’t have time for that anymore. But we did have time for an American meal: steak. On our way back to Atlanta we stopped at an Outback restaurant, which is an American chain restaurant with Australia as its theme, but which serves huge steaks which taste very American. This is us with our huge salads before they serve us our steaks, by the time the steaks arrived we were so preoccupied by the presence of juicy meat, we totally forgot to take pictures of the steaks. But believe me they were good.
After our lunch-dinner meal we headed back to Atlanta to check out Coca Cola World downtown. Atlanta is the hometown of Coca Cola, and the brand is present everywhere (especially at Emory University), hence it’s nearly impossible to get a Pepsi at an Atlanta restaurant. Luckily, I’m one of those Coca Cola fans, so the lack of Pepsi hasn’t bothered me at all. When we arrived at the Coca Cola museum though, it was already closed, so we’re returning tomorrow. Instead we hung out in the Atlanta Underground a bit to find more souvenirs and to have some milkshakes at Johnny Rocket’s. A really nice burger place that seems to come right out of a sixties movie complete with waiters dancing on the counter to YMCA. And later we hung out in the hotel lobby to have some tasty cocktails before bed:
We just hung out in the lobby for a couple of hours, where we saw some cross dressers and a bride and groom (and all their wedding presents) about to enjoy their wedding night in some suite upstairs. But mostly we just enjoyed each other’s company. After a month of speaking hardly any Dutch (except for the phone calls home) and desperately and unsuccessfully seeking a fellow Dutchie among all the international students at Emory, I finally got to speak Dutch again. It was weird, but also really great.
Unfortunately, my mom’s leaving again tomorrow, she needs to go back home and take care of my brothers. So we don’t have much time left to let her experience some of American life, but we’ll make the most of it! Tonight, Jungwon is also keeping us company is my mom’s fancy double room in the Marriott, and tomorrow we’ll do some quick sightseeing before returning her to the airport.
Moem in Atlanta

Friday, February 13, 2004

Airport shocker!!!

This morning Jungwon and I were waiting at Atlanta airport for someone to arrive, and I was getting worried because that person still wasn’t there yet. We sat down on a bench with a view of the arriving passengers, when all of a sudden a hand holding a card appears from behind me. I look at the card, recognizing my mother’s handwriting and wonder who is delivering me mail at the airport even though nobody at SPICE House knows I’m here right now… Only a few seconds pass between the appearance of the carded hand in front of my face and the moment I turn around, but in that short time my mind did some serious back flips trying to figure out whose hand this was. The truth never occurred to me so I was immensely shocked when I saw my mom crouching behind me! Maybe I screamed, I know I yelled “What are you doing here?” and immediately started crying tears of joy. I ran around to the other side of the bench and hugged the air out of my mom!
I’ve been coping with a severe case of homesickness and culture shock since my arrival and had wished to see my mom about every waking second! And now here she was! It was the most surreal feeling I have ever experienced! My mind was boggling and my eyes were crying, but I am the happiest girl on earth. My mom is here, I still can’t believe it! Unfortunately, she’ll be leaving in two days again, but hey two days with my mom in Atlanta that’s more than I ever hoped for!
After the shocking surprise and some relaxing coffee at the airport, we had a delicious dinner of crabs at Joe’s Crab Shack before we took her to Emory University to quickly show her around. She saw where I live in SPICE House (she even met the peculiar Japanese guy living on the first floor), the DUC where I eat and get my mail, Cox Hall where I sometimes eat and study every night in the computer area, Woodruff Library where I sometimes study (open 24 hours) and from a distance in the shuttle bus Goizueta Business School where I go to classes. Then we quickly dropped off Jungwon at SPICE House before returning to her hotel as she was kind of passing out with jetlag. Tomorrow is another day!
Moem in Atlanta