As I may have mentioned previously, my new wife and I spent a year apart from each other while she completed a one year residency in Charleston, WV. This led to lots of driving back and forth to see each other. I don’t think either of us were prepared for the culture shock. I’ve thought many times of writing a huge blog post on the pros and cons of West Virginia and what steps the state could take to come back in line with the surrounding states in terms of education and jobs. However, I feel like that could be a full time blog in and of itself. In the words of Sweet Brown…. “aint’ nobody got time for that.”
Some of my my negatives of West Virginia are that the vast majority of businesses don’t have websites (it was incredibly difficult finding an apartment and restaurants), the state as a whole is uneducated, the communities don’t believe in sidewalks (This could be one of the reasons that WV ranks as the 3rd fattest state), and the entire town of Charleston and the surrounding area appear to have been built and designed without any semblance of zoning or planning. It really felt like going to a different country.
I don’t want to come off too negative because on the whole, the people of West Virginia were incredibly friendly and we met some wonderful people who we hope to have in our lives for many many years. The surrounding nature and outdoor life is incredible. It’s no wonder the Boy-scouts moved their National Jamboree to the state.
I was trying to think of a good way to articulate our year in West Virginia. My first thought was to dig up some Hunger Games quotes when they refer to District 12 (which they mention in the book is located in Appalachia) and compare to our experiences. However, on our last week there, a Christmas miracle occurred. My father-in-law and I went to get Chinese take-out and the restaurant had a huge sign on their window touting that they are ‘The only 3 1/2 star Chinese Restaurant in all of West Virginia.’
Obviously, this brings up many many other questions…. such as:
- Are there other Chinese restaurants rated higher and China Chef was the only one to receive 3 1/2 stars?
- How many possible stars are there?
- What non-Chinese restaurants are rated higher?
- Who gave this rating?
- Are they done trying at 3 1/2 or do they want to go for the 4th star?
Like the Chinese Restaurant…. West Virginia left us with a lot of questions and few answers.
If you have any answers or want to weigh in on West Virginia, feel free to drop a note in the comments.