A U-Haul sits in my driveway packed and loaded like a Thanksgiving turkey awaiting its time in an oven. By the time you read this the U-Haul will have made the 2.5 hour journey to Lexington, been unloaded, and its contents including but not limited to one full size bed, one large tan colored sofa, an assortment of antique furniture, a massive amount of clothes, and approximately twenty-two large boxes will have been moved into my new second floor apartment smack-dap between downtown Lexington and the heart of campus. In theory all of this stuff will have been put away, organized, and arranged in a manner that would look fitting for the pages of Elle Décor, but in actuality a large portion of these things will remain in their boxes, bags, or suitcases until I return for the start of the semester next week. In a matter of days I will begin my third year at U.K. I still have no clue where I want to go or what I want to do after college, and I can safely say I am no closer to deciding this than I was four years ago sitting at OCHS. I however have decided that it is my destiny to become the next Anderson Cooper. I feel that my in-depth knowledge of meth lab statistics, chicken raisin’, and ability to rattle off at least 40 Miranda Lambert songs have all aptly prepared me for a career in the field of photo-journalism. If only my ardent ability to be outspoken, and unfortunate frequency of comma slicing were to improve I might actually have a shot at that dream, but until then I will settle for my explorations of the near and close to home, and the continuation of my newfound love of pie. On that note I guess I should get to the “meat” of this column, after all it is currently 10:20 pm and the U-Haul will be pulling out of Centertown at 6:30 tomorrow morning. This column marks the halfway point for my search of what it means to be an Ohio Countian. Thus far I have, in print, been to Centertown, Megan, Rochester, Rosine, and maybe somewhere else that is slipping my mind this late at night. I however have, at this point also clocked several hundred additional miles exploring Equality/Kronos, Hartford, Beaver Dam, Ceralvo, Rockport, Fordsville, Pleasant Ridge, and Dundee. I am still building up the nerve to explore Beda. I fear if I get too close to my high school English teacher, Pam Bradley’s house she will give me copies of all of my published columns covered with her infamous red ink. Short of my last English teacher at U.K., who told me one of my papers wasn’t worth his time, I still fear red ink on a paper as much as tax season or unpacking this U-Haul. I could, at this point, present my findings from my summer here in Ohio County, but I’ll continue for a few more weeks with my explorations before I return to reporting the Centertown news, and enjoying my year at UK in relative anonymity to all of those in Ohio County. I suppose my near constant Facebook status updates and albums full of photos kind of limit that sense of privacy and keep me connected to this place called home. I know if I do anything too out of line Facebook friend, Ellen Tichenor will be sure to keep me in check when I see her on Sundays after church. During these months since I returned home in May I have learned so many things about the places, and more importantly about the people of this county. So many of these things I took for granted until I left, developed a desire to return, and went in search of them. I honestly can say while learned numerous things about the county and its people I learned equally as many about myself. Through these adventures I have learned a lot about both myself and where I want to go in life. At times of extreme frustration I may say that I just want to plan really pretty events, but I would never be happy in doing that, I would always be left wanting more, and wondering how I would make a lasting impact. When I was fresh out of high school I was set on going to the Middle East, I wanted to work with international business, but somewhere along the way I lost sight of this goal and came to say I wanted to be an event planner. This career is great. I can without sounding cocky say that I would be amazing at being an event planner or designer, but I love helping others too much. I love travelling, I love writing, I love exploring, and I love the satisfaction that comes with knowing you've helped the lives of others. In the years between high school and now I allowed myself to become homesick for Ohio County, I developed a fear of the adventure and the fear of not having security. I became afraid of heights (try walking out to the center of the bridge in Rockport), and I became afraid of leaving my family... It took coming home and searching out why I love this place to realize I can be happy anywhere I go, and that I can go without fear of being unhappy where ever I end up. In the book Eat Pray Love the author travels the world in search of what makes her who she is. For me it didn’t take the world to show me this, it instead took coming back to the places that had become all too familiar for me to see the person in the mirror. For me this summer has taught me that I am beyond capable of travelling the world, being myself, and insuring my dreams become reality. Who knew that I had to come home to learn that… So at the halfway make of figuring out what it means to be an Ohio Countian I can tell you that the people of Ohio County are unafraid to stand up for what they believe in, they are all uniquely individual, there is a deep sense of spirituality here, and that if you are looking for a better place to live and better people to surround yourself with you are going to be hard-pressed to find that place. Oh, and one other thing… there is absolutely no sense of anonymity here. Try going to Walmart on a Monday at 7:00 pm.