Friday, February 05, 2010

There's No Place Like Home

So I have this love/hate relationship with my hometown...well home state of Kansas. I want sooooooo bad to fully hate it wholeheartedly but alas I can't. I've gotten WAY too many opportunities and came out with the two best friends a girl could ever ask for. Kansas launched my journalism career. I was able to go to London BECAUSE I was from a state that no one knows anything about, and because I went to London, I was able to work for Teen Star, Kansas City Star's teen department. My articles were put online, in different newspapers around the world and I appeared on TV to be interviewed about the topics I had written about. Good times.

This is where the hate relationship of Kansas comes in. This is coming from a Leavenworth point of view. No diversity. There was no nearby city to get away from the lack of diversity. The school football team sucked. Walmart was our defining attraction on a street full of fast food joints before you got into the next small town. Just when they would get something "new" in town like an ice cream shop, it would close. People were rude and looked at you crazy if you tried to be nice. There was no type of life for the high schoolers, so we'd usually go to Walmart...a friends house...or drive an hour away to Kansas City or the Legends. The majority of teenagers worked at one of two places. McDonald's (which was another hot spot after football games) or Applebee's.

But somehow I survived. So many people that graduated from my school went on to attend a university in Kansas, while the few lucky ones that got out made our way to New York or California or Florida. Others who were fortunate enough to get out of the state of Kansas stayed in the Midwest. Not a big step up, but hey, it's a step.

However, as much as I HATE that I love it. I will defend it to death when other people (who have never lived there) try to diss it. Would I go back for a visit? Sure if it were for an hour and I had my two best friends there. Would I go back to live? NO. I've only been back ONCE since I graduated and that was the following summer for a friend's graduation. Some of my fondest and most loathsome memories will reside to Kansas. The football games, the gossip, the driving up and down the street looking for something to do while dancing in the car with your best friends, the boys, the hour to two hour drives just to get out of Leavenworth just to somewhere fun makes me smile. The sneakiness, the deception, the makes me shake my head and laugh as well because I'm past all of that.

I can't ever forget where I'm from. I still love the reaction I get from people when they ask where I'm from and I tell them "Kansas." And of course the excruciatingly horrible Dorothy, Toto and Wizard of Oz jokes, along with "there's Black people in Kansas!?" questions follow. I'm glad I left, but man oh man I can't wait until my 10 year reunion!

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