Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home for the Holidays

Moscow, Idaho is a strange place. It’s a place where the snow-covered hills meld into the sky, where geeks are beautiful, and where kids can grow up to be people so different one would think that they have nothing in common. Until they come back to Moscow, Idaho. We come from Bowdoin, Bard, and Barnard, Western Washington, Seattle U, and Lewis and Clark; we come from Paris, New Zealand, and Spain. For one week, or two, we revert back to the relationships and personalities we had when we were in high school.

We’ve all changed, of course we have, but those changes, just for a little while, are secondary to the people we’ve been for most of our lives. When you run into someone who’s known you since you wore diapers, it’s hard to be the sophisticated, nearly-adult, individual you’ve so recently become.

Moscow, Idaho is a great place to grow up. It’s the kind of place one spends one’s whole life trying to leave, but once one actually manages to get out of dodge, it’s an easy place to miss. My bad memories of elementary school bullying, boring high school classes, and the lack of diversity melt away, leaving good memories and the faces of people I never want to forget. And every time I go back, I learn about something cool or re-connect with someone I haven’t seen in ages.
I’m always struck by how at ease I feel when I’m hanging out with my Moscow people. There’s no need to act cool or watch what I say; my friends in Moscow know that I’m slightly crazy and like to hang out with me anyway. And, because we’re used to creating our own amusement, we can have fun playing a board game, wii, or just drinking a couple beers, listening to music (and usually singing along as well).

I went home for Christmas break. Home is a relative term for me. It means where ever my family is, any place I lay my head for more than a few weeks, but it will also mean, maybe forever, a small university town in the middle of the rolling hills of the Palouse. My dad once told me that the Palouse was in my blood. I believe him, too. The rolling hills and woods have worked their way into my veins and heart; a part of me will always be the girl that hiked through wheat fields, sat on giant rocks on a mountain top, and collected salamander eggs in Virgil Phillip’s pond.
This break, I stayed out until 4 in the morning almost every night. My parents realized early on that there wasn’t much trouble I could get into in town, so coming home so late wasn’t a new thing. I played music again and read comic books. I hung out while my guy friends played Dota and felt old at New Year’s when my friend’s little sister’s friends came over. All of them were from the High School, and I didn’t know any of them. Not for the first time, I wished that I could transport Cece, Martin, David, Brendan, Emmett, Ariel, and everyone else to Paris with me. Life would be so perfect if I could live in a big city in Europe with all those people I love around me.

We like to think that Moscow, Idaho never changes, and for those who have stayed, it doesn’t seem to. But I notice that things are changing. I notice the new businesses springing up, the fact that our silos are being dismantled bit by bit and that, ever so slowly, there are more international students, more students of color, more difference of every kind. Some of the change is great, and some really sucks (like the amount of Christ Church goers), and it is happening slowly, so it’s easy to adapt to. But some things will never change, and for that I am very grateful.

1 comment:

Rose (from GEO) said...

I totally identified with so much of what you said here. It's always a pleasure to read your blog!