Home will always be home, but when you move that new place can either make or break your experience away from your original home. When moving away for college I had high expectations for the place I would be moving. Some of those expectations were it had to be safe, somewhere welcoming, and a close knit community. Upon my first visit to King University I was terrified at what I was seeing on the way to the school. When I tell you them backroads looked sketchy and had me on edge, I almost changed my mind before getting to the school. But upon arriving my edge was lifted.
I arrived at the small school and I instantaneously feel in love. I could tell by the orientation that the community was tight knit. I didn't feel like I would be lost in the shuffle of people and when school started my feelings were right. I made so many friends that will always have a special place in my heart. I feel I have a second family. My first semester of college couldn't have gotten any better than I expected. My new tight knit community was so supportive and even through adversity they were there for me. Upon starting my second semester I became ill and lost all movement in my body through a condition called conversion disorder. Its were your brain subconsciously stresses causing the conscious body to freeze. Weirdest. Thing. Ever. I had feeling but couldn't move even when my dad tickled my feet. My hospital stay really showed me my college cared about its students when my school chaplain asked for prayer at chapel for me and then even came to visit me. Along with family, my tennis team also was there by my side to support me. Some ended up being my guardian angels.
I had a tough semester getting sick again and having to seek help. The three girls that were there for me at the time were Karissa, Amanda, and Emily. I love these girls more than they will ever know and if it weren't for them I probably wouldn't be the person I am today. A piece of my heart was healed by these girls.
The community I had entered treated me as I had always lived there. I will never forget when my smart car had a rim get busted and I was able to pull into a gas station and small eatery. I went inside and asked if I could leave my car overnight and they gave me permission. I never expected to see those people past the next day but in thanks for their kindness we tried their restaurant and I ended up falling in love with it. It ended up being my favorite place to eat and every time I went they were always checking up on me and were there for me if I needed to talk. I know it sounds odd to be that close with strangers but they were good people you could tell. I mean they allowed me to leave my car and gave me peace of mind that it wouldn't be vandalized so they were angels in my opinion.
Bristol was packed with people like this and my time spent there was exactly as the sign said when I entered town. When entering state street a sign reads “Bristol…A good place to live”. Lets just say that it lived up to its claim and exceeded it. My heart is forever grateful for God allowing me to find this hidden gem and the many jewels I encountered in my short stay.
Transferring back home for school was definitely hard, but Bristol will alway be my second home and “a good place to live”. Until we meet again Bristol, keep changing lives through the small community of people who fell in love with you just as I did.
Grace and Love,