Let me start by saying that, for those who are unfamiliar, in the States, the “deep south” consists of Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, and Louisiana. Antebellum homes, mosquitoes galore, southern cuisine and southern comfort (the drink and the feeling) are all included in the “deep south” package. If you’re wondering why Florida is not considered the “deep south” then I truly believe first hand experience is the only way to answer your own question.

The first and only night of my Chicago friend’s stay in my hometown was slow and is now but a foggy memory. We headed to “downtown Mobile” briefly, only to encounter some ex-high school mates, an ample supply of cheap beer and homophobic police having a less than understated encounter in the middle of the street at 3AM.

Waffle Housing

I have one tip for people heading to any of the states in the deep south: Waffle House. This is the golden key to all that is desired by those both sober and intoxicated. If you’re on a diet of any type I suggest avoiding this place; if you’re roaming free in the field of cuisine than this holy grail of breakfast and grease is more than likely the place for you. You can have A+ coffee and waffles, be waited on by lovely southern Waffle House employees and maybe get a free coffee mug if you ask nicely. Oh, and it’s extremely cheap.

This is my personal favorite Waffle House Specialty: The bacon, egg and cheese sandwich. Yes, believe it or not, mayonaise and pickles are a duo not to be messed with. GLORIOUS ESSEN.

Southern food, as a rule in general, often includes heavy ingredients, dips and dressings and things that are generally not considered to be “healthy”– fried pickles, for instance. If you happen to be in Mobile, I suggest trying out Butch Cassidy’s in midtown (ignore the rattle snake skin pinned to the wall). Additionally, if you are a golfer, then Mobile is your own personal paradise. I am most certainly not a golfer and view it as being boring and pointless, but am aware that both the Spring Hill College golf course and the Robert Trent Jones local course are among the best in the country.

The next day my last Chicago friend was gone and I was welcomed home properly by my mother and my evil cat, Libby.

Evil Cat

When in Alabama, there are a couple of things you can do to fit in with the locals. First: buy fruit and vegetables and pledge allegiance to the flag (or something…).

Fruitful Patriotism.

Secondly, if you’ve never heard of a “hammock”, you should certainly look into spending 1-24 hours basking in the swinging glory of one. Screened in, back porches are a normal part of life in humid and often sunny Alabama. Of course, the Gulf of Mexico is right around the corner and there is nothing quite like swinging in a hammock chair above a massive body of moving water. Find a friend with a “warf” and a “pier” and get to relaxing!!

Hammock Love

Going home to spend a bit of time before my departure for Germany was just what I needed. I do not suggest staying for too long; I was in town for a wedding, some hugs and some homecooked food and then out the door. Attachment is not necessarily the best thing to experience before heading off on your own; these places will always exist, so it’s best to remind yourself of this and get to experiencing something new.

Holy Hell. From Mobile, Alabama to Berlin, Germany. Here goes nothing.