You know that awkward moment when you’re at a party and you realize the guy you’re talking to is TA-ing your dad’s class? Or when you run into your mom on your way to Willard? Or when you step on the CATA bus and notice 10 people from your high school?
Oh, you don’t?
Right. These are the uncomfortable situations State College natives like to call “townie problems.” (And yes, it’s a Twitter page.) But despite these mild moments of awkwardness, I wouldn’t trade my hometown for anywhere else in the world. And any Penn State student who’s grown to love the Valley as his or her second home can understand why.
When I became one of those students last year, I noticed I also became the resident “townie.” Friends would come to me for advice, and oftentimes I’d get asked the same questions. Where’s the best place to grab groceries? Which Thai restaurant is better? Where can you get a nice haircut? What is Bellefonte?
To put my townie knowledge to work, I’ll be answering all those questions and more each week. There’s more to State College than what’s downtown, and sadly, a lot of students don’t realize it. So consider this column your tour guide and start exploring.
It’s called “Happy Valley” for a reason.
Got a question you’d like to see answered? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Noelle and her grandparents at her high school graduation — with a familiar stadium in the background.