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I'm Chels. I blog about science, art, tennis, and my adventures in journalism. Officially, I'm a Science Writer at Brookhaven National Lab and I blog for them, too. Unofficially, I'm pretty awesome.

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Posts tagged virginia

Trip Log, Day 10

I was really cranky today. I had such a good time in Asheville, and I spent a long morning getting brunch and seeing the town before I got in the car. I knew that would mean I wouldn’t get to DC until after dark, and I would rather spend my time with my friends in their awesome little city than here in DC, but it was still a hard drive. The last couple hours were really rough because I was tired and dealing with bright headlights and, just, ugh. 

And of course, it started pouring as soon as I hit the District because our nation’s capital is a swamp and I shall hate it forevermore, amen.

These kinds of long road trips are often revelatory in some way. So tonight, instead of snapshots, you get some deep thoughts I had on two rainy porches almost 500 miles away from each other:

  • I was sitting on the balcony porch at Casey and Cody’s this morning just looking through the drizzle at the mountains behind their house and I was struck by how much Asheville felt like home. I don’t think it’s just that it was rainy and green and mountainous, either. I’d never in my life been to Austin, but leaving there felt like leaving home. And last year I had a terrible pang in my gut when I flew away from London, too.

    You know that old saying, “Home is where the heart is”? I think it’s more like, home is where your family is. And not just relatives, but the family you choose to make out of the friends you find along the way. In the past few years, I’ve often felt like I didn’t have a true home: Portland is of course where I’m from and it feels comfortable there, but it has changed and so have I; and everywhere else I sometimes felt at home and sometimes felt like a weird stranger walking around in someone else’s life. But today, I realized I’ve found a way to have home meet me all over this country. 

    And now I’m off to make a home in Long Island, but that won’t be my only home. Because my family, my little tribe of friends that I’ve gathered over the years, are all over the place. Lucky, lucky me. 

  • All day, I was dreading Washington, D.C. Last summer when I lived here, I hated it. I was in school and working on my degree almost 80 hours a week, and the city was full of bullshit politics and people I didn’t understand and it was just not for me. And so today, somewhere in the middle of Virginia, as I was shifting around in my seat trying to get comfortable, I realized what was bothering me. It wasn’t the long drive or the weather - I was dreading coming back to this place. 

    But I got here and I went out on the back porch to stand in the rain and just not be in a car or a house for a few minutes, and I looked around and so much had changed. Leslie (my friend who owns the place) had done a lot of work in the yard. And when I went back inside, furniture had been rearranged and new paintings had been hung on the wall. And I realized that this place has changed and so have I.

    A year ago, if you’d told me how my life would have panned out, or that I’d be on this epic road trip headed toward a dreamy science job at a national laboratory, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve come so far. 4,063 miles to be exact. But really, that’s not what I mean and you know it.