The North Carolina Diaries, Day 1

March 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Posted in Me | Leave a comment

It is Spring Break of my senior year of college, and I am in Durham, North Carolina doing research for my thesis for the next seven days.

Yes, I am a nerd. But it’s (mostly) on the university’s dime, so that must count for something, right?

I will be spending the week traveling between three cities to use three different archival collections. Seeing as this is my first time in North Carolina, not to mention my first time in the South (though this is the “North” South, as my friend pointed out), I am, already, constantly amused. The same friend recommended that I document the awesome quirks I encounter, so here we have it:

North Carolina:
Seen through the eyes of a
Lifetime Californian

Part 1: Grits and Headstones

Let’s start this off right: food! The hotel I’m staying in provides free breakfast in the mornings. Mostly it was standard fare—eggs, bacon, bagels, muffins, coffee, juice, even make-em-yourself waffles!—but the stand-out foodstuff was a little basket filled with what I at first thought were instant oatmeal packets… but then I noticed that the flavor options were Bacon, Butter, and Cheddar Cheese. Jigga what?! Turns out I had stumbled upon a regional food market gem: Instant Grits!

I snagged a packet to smuggle back to the Union with me, natch.


After breakfast, I spent the day using materials from the North Carolina Collection on the UNC – Chapel Hill campus. Once I had finished my research, I wandered through the gallery at the other end of the building.

img_1449My first favorite part of the collection was four pieces of confederate currency from the Civil War that read: “Six months after the ratification of a treaty of peace between the Confederate States and the United States of America, the Confederate States of America will pay to the bearer on demand ONE DOLLAR.” I guess that makes sense, considering the fact that specie was probably being reserved for wartime costs rather than paying private citizens, but it still made me laugh!

My other favorite piece was a small display about North Carolina’s former identity as “The Golden State”—who knew?! The display was very clear about the fact that California’s gold rush was not the first. Z-snap!

img_1461The one thing that toally creeped me out today was was the cemetery on the UNC campus. I decided to walk around campus for a while after I finished my research, and I was delighted by the sprawling lawns, beautiful brick buildings, and bright-colored flowers. And then, between the playing field and the theatre was a MOTHERFUCKING CEMETERY. Is that really necessary?? Really, I totally adored the campus, but the cemetery. Too much.

Overall, my impression so far is that the legend of Southern Hospitality is so true! All the people I have met so far have been sweet, friendly, and generous. I could get used to this…


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