By KATE COIL
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
As I seal up boxes with packing tape I really feel the gravity of the situation I am in still hasn’t quite hit me yet. It is amazing how easily your life seems to pack up in boxes, yet the packing itself is a hard process. Not only is it physically exhausting, there is an emotional exhaustion to it. Every time you put something in a box it’s like a tiny good-bye.
For the past few days, it has been hard for me not only to pack up all of my belongings in preparation for a move but to drive the streets I have become so familiar with, knowing that it may very well be the last time I take them. There is a sense of nostalgia to everything I pass on my way to and from work. I hope to drive these roads again, to revisit these places that hold so many memories for me. For that, only time will tell.
I came to the two Virginias three years ago, fresh out of college and completely unfamiliar with the area. I had lived in Middle Tennessee my entire life. It was where nearly my entire family was centered, and after nearly 22 years of life in one place I wanted to get out. I came here not only to work but, in a way, to prove to myself that I could stick it out on my own in a new place.
Three years later I’m glad to say I’m a little wiser and know a little bit more about independent living. Up until very, very recently I actually anticipated spending much of the rest of my life in this area. However, it isn’t easy to watch family members grow up and grow old from far away. Despite much coaxing and prodding, they wouldn’t all come here and when the opportunity presented itself I had to make a hard decision.
This area has become my adopted home in a way and will always remain such. It has shaped who I have become over the past three years and has afforded me tons of opportunities and experiences I know I couldn’t have anywhere else. There is so much I have done and have learned from this area.
I have had fun getting lost on the back roads and finding new places to explore — oftentimes in that order — as well as getting to know the many vibrant and unique communities the region has to offer. I have met so many interesting people with unusual stories, the same people who give this area its rich local color.
From major historical events to local anecdotes, I have gotten to learn some of that wonderful local history you only get from living in a place and exploring its secrets. I have probably learned more about the history of this area than I did during the brief, six-week Tennessee history unit I had in seventh grade.
I have eaten pizza rolls, funnel cakes and drank lemonade at fairs, festivals and community events. I have gotten to hang out with donkeys, goats, llamas and pot-bellied pigs. I have been more involved in high school football than I was when I was in high school.
During my time here, I have gotten some once-in-a-lifetime, behind-the-scenes tours. I have seen the inner workings of so many businesses, local governments and organizations. I have seen buildings go up and some come down. I have seen change and I have grown to love these communities as much as I do my hometown.
Most of all, I have gotten to work with some of the most kind, wonderful and talented people I have ever met both inside and outside the Daily Telegraph newsroom. However, it is those people within the Daily Telegraph walls that have most inspired me.
They have inspired me to be a better writer, a better reporter and a better person. They have shared with me their joys, their wit, their sorrow and their frustrations. They have become the best adopted family a girl living 400 miles from home can have. They have seen me through late nights, early mornings and late nights followed by early mornings.
I don’t know if it’s the writer in me but I have never liked the word “goodbye.” It is a word that seemingly sounds happy yet has a connotation of such sorrow and finality. It is a hard concept for me because I hate parting with people, especially those who have become such an integral part of my life.
I don’t know much about the French language, but there is one thing about it I do admire. The French have different words for good-bye. The term “au revoir” means “good-bye” in the sense that you will meet again whereas “adieu” is a sort of final good-bye, a farewell you give when you know you aren’t going to see someone again.
I don’t want to say “goodbye” to this area. I fully intend on coming back. I don’t know when yet, but like it or not the two Virginias probably haven’t seen the last of me. I don’t want to say good-bye, but perhaps instead “see you later.” And I hope very much to do just that.
Kate Coil was a reporter at the Daily Telegraph.