By Lilianne Walker
I left for college with a pre-meditated mindset that these sunsets and street signs had nothing to do with the person I have become. But every time I come home from school, I am reminded of just another reason why that is as far from true as a statement could be.
Of course, I am capable of recognizing these things on my own. However, it wasn’t until I brought a friend home from Winthrop that I began to make the connections. My friend, Mikayla, and I have had quite the chaotic start to our spring semester and we unanimously decided that a brief sabbatical was what we needed. We tossed our most comfortable clothes (and probably dirty because college kids do not place laundry among their priorities) in the back of my Honda Civic and it almost seemed like my car knew the way back to the Lowcountry. The smell of saltwater was as comforting as a hug from my mom. It was so gratifying for me to be able to cruise through town, all the way explaining to her the memories that coincided with each square inch of land. I feel as though after spending time seeing the things I’ve seen for the majority of my life, she understands more clearly why I am the way I am.
My laid back agenda.
Why I love people the way I do. In conversation en route back to school, I attempted to pick her brain on the topic. There wasn’t much prying to be done on my end seeing that she willingly exposed her thoughts about my hometown.
“In coming to Beaufort” she explained, “I got to see, in just a couple days, the way in which you were raised, why your values are shaped the way they are. I got to meet really great friends and members of your family and I can see a little bit of each of them in you. The history, the architecture, the water, the sunsets: everything is a symbol of Beaufort’s easy-going lifestyle. In a hectic college scene, I now see how your easy-going lifestyle helps to bring us all back down to reality and back to what’s most important in life.”
Her words resonated with me and filled me with an undeniable amount of pride. I have yet to find the word to describe the feeling I feel when I am sure of being valued by those surrounding me. The words that she spoke to me quickly became one of my favorite compliments to date.
The chances of me writing an “I’m proud to be a Beaufortonian” anthem are rather slim. However, my answer to the “do you miss home?” question is much different now than it was three months ago.
Lilianne Walker wasn’t born in Beaufort, but moving here so early in her life makes her enough of a Beaufortonian. She knows this is a great place to be from, but her aspirations are taking her all over the world, not just the Lowcountry. She’s an up and coming writer attending Winthrop University.