Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Back Home

I am back in West Virginia. If you told me five years ago or five weeks ago that I’d be living in Hurricane, W.Va., I’d have shuddered in disbelief. It’s not that there’s anything inherently wrong with my home state or hometown, but I just thought I’d moved on. I never thought that as a 23-year-old college grad I’d move back in with my parents.

But honestly I’m okay with it. Since leaving home five years ago at 18 years-old, I’ve lived in 12 different apartments with 14 different roommates. I’ve grown accustomed to periodically stuffing most of what I own into my car or a pair of suitcases. I’ve visited eight new countries and lived in three of them. I've moved in with proper, fashion oblivious British vegetarians and polo-playing, tweed-wearing Spanish aristocrats.

I’ve suffered an Argentine winter in heatless apartments so cold that I slept in three layers and woke up to find my hamster frozen to death. I’ve spent weeks checking in and out of Italian dormitory hostels, taking chilly showers and living out of a locked suitcase. I’ve come home to a closet-sized bedroom wallpapered with teddy bear cherubs in uptown Barcelona. I’ve covered my head with a pillow when my Peruvian roommates brought home a couple of French guys they met at a bar for Quilmes beer and joints at 4 a.m. I’ve stepped over homeless men to enter my home near the Argentine capitol building, a circus of an apartmento where I shared a bed with my friend.

In coastal Charleston I’ve had a racist southern belle for a roommate who threatened me with lawsuits and once almost threw a punch at me wearing only her pink, monogrammed bath towel. (I asked her to move her Mercedes Benz that blocked the driveway when she was late for a sorority mixer.) And just this summer the thermometer in my bedroom at times read 90+ degrees. My subleased apartment housed five sweet yet flea-ridden feral cats and a malfunctioning gas stove that once burst into flames.

Now living back home for awhile before I move to Chile in January will be a sort of luxury. It wasn’t my first choice -- but a reasonable decision in a poor economy when no publishing company (or Burger King, for that matter) wants to hire someone who’ll be off to South America in five months. No, Teays Valley is no Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Oxford or even Charleston, S.C., but I predict I’ll have plenty to write about. For the next few months I’ll be recording my experiences trying to find some humor, beauty and even a pocket of culture or two back in suburban West Virginia, a place where in 2009 no one seems to care that the local high school’s mascot is still the redskins, the nearest Starbucks is a 20-minute drive away and the Olive Garden is considered fine Italian dining.


  1. Oh, how I miss it! There is something to be said when it comes to the simplicity of the WV

  2. gosh that was hilarious. you are an amazing writer. i also BURST into laughter when i read the comment about our former roomate. <3


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