March 4, 2006

State Meme

Korean Passport StampI've been trying to avoid memes and writing other "personal" posts in recent months because I had hoped to make this blog more "serious" (not that I think anyone's noticed ;) ). However, the "States Meme" is being passed around, and I thought I'd do it because I have a couple questions and comments to make. So, if you don't know the "rules" of the meme, underlining represents those states I've lived in, bold indicates the states I've visited, and italics indicates the state I'm supposed to be currently living in (except, of course, I'm an expat so no state has been italicized).

Alabama / Alaska / Arizona / Arkansas / California / Colorado / Connecticut / Delaware / Florida / Georgia / Hawaii / Idaho / Illinois / Indiana / Iowa / Kansas / Kentucky / Louisiana / Maine / Maryland / Massachusetts / Michigan / Minnesota / Mississippi / Missouri / Montana / Nebraska / Nevada / New Hampshire / New Jersey / New Mexico / New York / North Carolina / North Dakota / Ohio / Oklahoma / Oregon / Pennsylvania / Rhode Island / South Carolina / South Dakota / Tennessee / Texas / Utah / Vermont / Virginia / Washington / West Virginia / Wisconsin / Wyoming / Washington D.C.

So, as you can see, I've lived in only two states (roughly 20 years in each), and have visited 33 states plus D.C. I've yet to visit the extreme NE (Maine and New Hampshire), parts of the deep South (Alabama, Mississippi), and most of the upper Midwest and NW, plus Alaska and Hawaii. In fact, many of these trips to the various states happened up through my college years, either from travelling with drum corps (primarily in the Mid-Atlantic states and Ohio), travelling with family (up and down the Atlantic seaboard, to visit relatives), or from a series of cross-country bus trips when I would go back and forth between Arizona and New York for the summer and winter vacations. When I lived in Arizona, I rarely went out of the state except on the occasional trip.

But what does "visiting" a state really entail? I've listed Kansas as a state I've "visited," but the "visit" was just so I could say "I've been there." On my way to Arizona the first time, when I was going to be in my first semester of college, my dad, one of my sisters, and I had stayed one night in SW Missouri (Joplin, I think). The next morning, as we went into Oklahoma, we noticed that the Kansas state border was a very short distance away. So my dad drove off the interstate, and we headed north to Kansas. He drove maybe 500 yards past the Kansas border sign, then made a U-turn and we continued on our way back to Arizona. Thus, I've "been" to Kansas, or have I? Actually, there are several other states where my visit was similar to the Kansas "visit," and while I may have spent a day or two there, I saw very little of the state: Kentucky, Nevada, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia. Also, many of my "visits" were pass-throughs: Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, North and South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Virginia. In which case, I feel like I know only 14 states (plus D.C.) really well.

The same "problem" also applies with some of the other countries I've visited. When I went to Switzerland, I only saw Geneva (and a tiny bit of France); the same with Mexico (visiting Nogales, Sonora, for some shopping). In Japan, I spent one day in Fukuoka, before returning to Korea. In Thailand, I went outside of the international passengers' section of the Bangkok airport just to be able to get some Thai stamps in my passport; otherwise I stayed in the airport (it was raining too hard that day to go visit the city, as I had hoped to do). Of course, I've also done some serious visiting of other countries, with numerous trips to Canada (various cities in Ontario) and Malaysia; likewise, living these past four years in Korea and S'pore.

I will also say, given the time and opportunity, I'd rather be on the ground when I visit a new state or country than up in the air. I do love flying, and it's an absolute necessity for traveling around most of Asia, but if I really want to know what a state or country is like, I'd rather be in a car or on a train. I'd rather see the landscape and the local weather and vegetation (or the lack thereof) to get an idea of how people and their cultures and societies are shaped. Flying is of limited help that way.

4 comments:

b. said...

Salaam;

A serious blog...hm...I enjoy reading your blog either way. You always have something interesting to add, masha'Allah.

And you were in a drum corps! TOTALLY RAD, MAN. When I was in marching band, drum corps were the pinnacle of cool. :) (And in the deepest recesses of my soul, I'm still a band geek who thinks that way.)

JD said...

Wa 'salaam.

I'm glad you like the blog and, of course, you know that I frequently visit yours as well.

Yeah, I was in drum corps for seven years as a teenager; a grizzled old veteran when I left the activity at the ripe ol' age of 16. I actually started two corps in Arizona. The first one was a senior corps which ultimately morphed into a junior corps. Both had the name of Copper Star, and both had equally limited success. :( The junior corps faded out about a year after I left it.

When I was in high school, I would have agreed that drum corps was the pinnacle of cool (at least in the marching world) compared to HS and college bands, but I'm not as sure that's true today. Copper Star made a lot of trips to band shows around Arizona, and the bands have pretty much caught up to drum corps (of course, all these drum corps-alum band directors have stolen all of drum corps' music, marching, and even uniforms to do that ;) ).

What did you play/do in band?

b. said...

Salaam;

I played the clarinet and later the tenor sax (clarinet, however, still my one and only love). I began marching in seventh or eighth grade and continued through my senior year. That year we placed fourth in the Kentucky All-State competition after the prelims, but the finals were snowed out to our great disappointment.

I don't know about now, either -- but at least in the early '90s, they were still very cool. My band teacher would bring in tapes for us to watch in class and we once got to go on a band field trip to watch a performance. For sure he stole lots of ideas from the drum corps to use in our performances. He's a drum corps alumi himself. :) Very passionate about it, and good at inspiring passioin apathetic teenagers.

JD said...

Today, most band directors (and their assistants and techs) are drum corps alum. It's very rare to find anyone who didn't march in a corps. Even if they didn't, they've been heavily influenced by the activity in their choice of music, marching patterns, and so on. A couple years ago, a friend of mine and I watched this humongous band from NM do their field show, and we were amused to see them "steal" all these various marching formations from different corps. We're both like, "Well that one's from the Santa Clara Vanguard, and that one's from the Cavaliers, and that one's from..."

You get the picture. :)