Appalachia. Was. Amazing.
I didn’t really know what to expect when I signed up for the Appalachia Spring Break Immersion Trip. My Orientation Leader said it was awesome (very vague), and so did all the other upperclassmen I talked to… But it seemed like an interesting venture, so I figured, why not?! I didn’t really think much of it once I turned in my application until a few months later when I got an email to meet with my group. Mostly sophomores, juniors, and seniors. A few days later I departed on the adventure of a lifetime.
The land was beautiful. We swerved through the winding roads, weaving in and out of the hills in our two rented vans, Justin and Tina at the wheel, jamming out to the “Theme songs” of our lives (everyone contributed a song- mine was Send Me On My Way by Rusted Root). When we finally arrived in Fries, Virginia (pronounced “Frees” don’t ask me why…), we rolled into our modest shelter for the week… the town Rec Center! Complete with a duck pin bowling alley, basketball court where countless games of knockout were played, common room where hours and hours and hours of Apples to Apples were played, and kitchen fully equipped with all the peanut butter and oreos we could ask for.
Not to ruin the mystery of what makes Appalachia so great, I’ll just say it was a blast in the most meaningful of ways. Throughout the week we experienced some hard work and some good times. We bonded with each other and with the community. I met a couple that had been married for 75 years. We learned the history of the town and familiarized ourselves with a community that is proud of their heritage and of their culture, ESPECIALLY their square-dancing moves (of which we definitely took part). It was fun, reflective, evocative, and wild. And I will forever be bonded with those 13 others that traveled with me, and made the experience what it was! So if any of you are reading this, thanks so much to Justin, Marissa, Nick, Tina, Brigit, Melissa, Laura, Valerie, Alec, Amanda, Nora, and Michelle!
If you want to see a little more about the trip, my friends Nora and Val created this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=weFli-8jlCQ
And this song reminds me of the trip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2vJUadjdmo
Katharine Shapleigh '13