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2016 Convention Stories

The Cold Always Bothered Me Anyway

Melissa BacaMelissa Baca
Alpha Epsilon Pi Chapter
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

I’m a desert dweller. I was born with green chile on my tongue and dust in my lungs. I am from New Mexico, the land of sun and dirt. Minnesota is a land of mist and snow. The northern chill attacked me the moment I stepped off the plane and didn’t leave my bones until I was curled up in my bed back home. After getting checked in to the convention, my first journey outside the hotel lasted about 2 minutes before I sought refuge in an empty Chinese restaurant for over an hour until I had gathered the strength to walk back. Unlike Elsa, the cold always bothered me.

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I did my best to remain indoors, rarely traveling outside the hotel for the first 3 days. In contrast, during the last convention in my hometown of Albuquerque, I was constantly juggling school and convention activities; continuously running up and down Central Ave. to get from campus to the hotel. I felt like I was caught in a two-dates-to-the-prom scenario, never being able to completely devote my time or attention to either.

In 2015, I was a quiet ghost, drifting between panels with so little human contact you would think I traveled through the walls to avoid the crowd. Yet, this year, I shook hands, asked questions, networked, and really threw myself into the entire experience. I come from a small and inactive chapter who’s had no meetings this past year. I traveled to Minneapolis alone, searching for the betterment of myself as a writer and an English major, and nothing more.

Yet something different happened. I was alone, in a foreign state, amid a sea of strangers, trapped indoors from fear of the cold, and I found home. I was able to set aside my worries about day-to-day life and just enjoy being immersed in English studies. There were book jokes, pop culture references, truly awful puns, and I loved every minute of it. I was away from everything I knew but still managed to be surrounded by everything I love. I wasn’t searching for home, but I found a society that felt like it. And now all that’s left is to build my chapter up this coming year, so that I may find that literary home in my geographical one.

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