When Lance scored this job in Alabama back in July I didn't know how to react. I was excited we could get engaged because of this new job, but Alabama was literally the last state I'd choose to live in. What I heard and imagined of Alabama was only bad. Racism. The middle of nowhere. Nothing worth interesting. It didn't help that shortly after Lance's move to Birmingham I watched a long CNN documentary on the civil rights movement in Alabama. I remember sitting with my dad, horrified by the cruel and heartless actions of people. I couldn't imagine the degree of hatred that possess someone to attack and kill because of race. Even if blatant racism experienced during the civil rights movement wasn't prevalent anymore, I had heard just enough ignorant comments to know that ignorance was still broadly accepted where we'd be living. I cried that night thinking of all the potential hate that might still remain and the racism I might encounter. I feared what life would be like as an Asian woman in a city with so much history of racism. I got myself so worked up it was just all too much to bear at the time, and I broke down.
Over the months leading up to our wedding, with Lance's constant assurances I slowly opened up to this beautiful city. And now I feel even more comfortable now that I'm living here permanently. I see that it's not nearly as bad as I imagined, and the things I feared aren't nearly as prevalent as I expected. We watched the movie "Selma" the other night, and I was just in awe in the fact that we were watching it in Alabama where it all happened. It's was hard to imagine how different my new home was just a handful of years ago. But these issues are real, and many people sacrificed their lives to give me the peaceful home I live in today. As we walked out of the theater we got to talking to an older white couple, and the woman mentioned how she was from Selma and remembered that awful first march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge. She was in high school at the time but was moved to tears telling us she couldn't believe everything that happened. As we parted I got to thinking that I've been left surrounded by people like her; people who see injustice in racism and wish to mend the wounds of the past. And I felt at peace knowing that.
The most common question I heard during my engagement was "How are you going to handle moving away and living in Alabama?" Thankfully the transition's been pretty good. We live in a beautiful suburb of Birmingham. We're in the hills surrounded by trees, and I'm constantly telling Lance how much I love all the trees everywhere. We do live in a very wealthy area that's predominantly white, but because we do live at a university, people are more diverse in their backgrounds here. We're discovering our own little spots as we settle in as newlyweds. And I'm so thankful for my past experiences which prepared me for this big transition: all my southern friends who exposed me in to southern culture, living in SLO where it was also predominantly white and all my travel that's prepared me to be away from my family. I'm happy to embrace our life here.
Married life has it's challenges and logistical problems (I have too many clothes for our closet). But I'm so happy that God is starting off our marriage here. We're right where we're supposed to be.
Homewood, Alabama. January 10, 2015 | iphone 6