Today, I’d like to give special thanks to a few of my college mates. I didn’t really get close to a lot of people during my first two years of college at Emory & Henry College, but the ones I did open up to are still a part of my life in one way or another. I learned more about myself being only five hours away from my family, and I discovered my true nature as an individual at the small, private college in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. I always wanted to return to the mountains, I just didn’t think I’d find myself on the west side of the Blue Ridge. I left behind a small piece of me in the area of Abingdon, Emory, and Bristol, Virginia, off of I-58, and I have my college friends to thank for keeping the mountain child in me alive and kicking.
First and foremost, I wouldn’t have been able to survive my first year of college without this lovely lady. She saved me from my first dorm mate, she pushed me in a wheelchair up the steep hill – carrying her backpack and holding on to mine (behind the wheel chair) – because I had slipped and twisted my ankle, and she dealt with my teeth grinding and snoring. She was the perfect roommate, which is why I call her my “eternal roomie”. Thank you for being such a sweetheart back then and now, Katie. You were definitely the angel on my shoulder that first year at EHC, and I don’t know if I would’ve survived.
Jenna was somewhat of a late comer in my small circle of friends and acquaintances at EHC, but she and I have gotten closer little by little with each year AFTER I left EHC in 2006. She was one of the quirky but quiet band/theater geek kid who got me sucked into band after I kind of swore it off. I didn’t play in the band, I just got reunited with the idea of marching band because of her. Nowadays, I have her to thank for keeping me in check with my reading of the classics, especially Jane Austen. Also, when I need to geek out, literature wise, I can pretty much count on her to be ready for some sharing of tears, laughs, and literary angst. For that, she deserves my gratitude.
I live vicariously through this next lady. She’s a traveler like myself, but she’s reached the European front before me. For several years now, I’ve been drooling and enjoying her pictures of Europe, as she was teaching English. She’s a linguist by nature, if you ask me, and it’s another trait that sort of clicked us together. She is my ‘Jasian’ as I’m her ‘Fasian’ – we’re totally weird and okay with it. ‘Jasian’ is Japanese Asian, and ‘Fasian’ is Filipino Asian. Not to forget that she’s a fellow Foodie of mine. I adore you, I miss you, and I’m so annoyed and thankful that you’re in my life, Marianne. (Annoyed because I took Japanese classes and can only speak under extreme pressure.)
Why do I seem to save the best for last? *giggles* ARRRRR… Arlie is a friend and “adopted” sister anyone and everyone wants to have. She’s nurturing, encouraging, supportive, dependable, she’ll scold you if and when you need it, and she’s always available for hugs even if you don’t want to be hugged. She’s seen my dark days and pulled me out of some moments that she and I only know about. She’s really the one who brought back my passion for small theater and opened my eyes to not just cosplay but also to reenactments. She’s one of few people I know who are part of the Renaissance circuit in Virginia-Tennessee, and when she introduced me to her alter ego, Pearl Fox (a pirate wench), I truly knew that I had found my creative match. She was also my editor-in-chief for my novel, The Donner Encounter. I can’t think of anyone better to discuss and brainstorm anything and everything with. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me, with me, and because of me.
Day 9 is definitely a good time to remember my ladies of Emory & Henry College. From living quarters to food to a shoulder to lean on, I’m really blessed to have the strength and friendship of four amazing women, and I’m extremely thankful for them.