livin la vida java

"He was my cream, and I was his coffee. And when you poured us together, it was something." Josephine Baker
Even after my third trip to New Hampshire, it never ceases to amaze me how different each region of the country is.

After making Jim explain to me (extensively) what each New England state is like- a game which I concluded by making him pick one word to describe each state - I feel I have a decent grasp on the region.

I quickly came to the conclusion that if New England was its own country and the Midwest (also a country) declared war on them, the fastest way to win would be to launch an attack on all Dunkin Donuts. Essentially, it's their lifeline. I must admit, though, that while I'm still a Starbucks lover and I respect Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf (holler back for the west coast), I became accustomed to the daily Dunkin Iced Coffee.

Although Starbucks clearly did not originate in Indiana, there are approximately twenty nine within ten miles of my home. Dunkin Donuts in Jim's hometown parallels our Starbucks. Driving from the airport, we saw three of them within a quarter mile.

Although I've already admitted I'm not good with analogies, I think I can safely say that Dunkin : New England as Starbucks : Midwest.

Dunkin is faster and a little grittier, Starbucks is a homier and has some sweeter options. And yet, while they're definitely different (to the point that I almost feel you can't compare them), I'm satisfied with both. I'm happy to be in Dunkin and I was excited when Jim taught me to embrace the chain, yet when I'm in Starbucks, it feels like home.

After ten lovely days in New Hampshire, I left feeling very satisfied. I am so happy that Jim has introduced me to a region of the country that was completely foreign. I feel so blessed to have spent time with his family and to have gotten to know the extended portion. Although I learned that New Hampshire was not the same as Indiana, they quickly made me feel as if I was at home and I was sad to say goodbye.

The trip also piqued my interest in the recent Twitter quiz, "What U.S. state do you belong in?" I was medium (to very) offended that Indiana was not an option, however, I was satisfied with my South Carolina result. Charleston? Yes please. (I felt similarly slighted when I learned of the newish bicoastal coasters, but I got over it).

The vacation also further opened up my heart to new regions of the country. While I dream of someday living a winter-free life, I am much more willing to try some of the colder zones. I have cute coats, and I always love an excuse to shop, so maybe Boston is an option after all. I mean, the Red Sox game was far more exciting than any Braves game I've ever attended.

So, as I enjoy my final days in Atlanta, I realize that I don't know where I'll be next. It might be Indiana. It might be Georgia. It might be New Hampshire. Though no matter where I end up, you can surely find me in a Starbucks...or a Dunkin.