By Brandi Hinnant-Crawford • Guest Columnist | In 2014, on my 30th birthday, I got a call from my former department head offering me a job at Western Carolina University. I was ecstatic; I was going home. Upstate New York winters are not kind to girls raised in the south (aka GRITS), and the Old North State is the state I love more than any other in the union — everyone was happy. Two years after living in Jackson County, I heard about these amazing kindergarten classrooms at Hazelwood Elementary; I wanted my kids to have this wonderful experience. After apartment living for two years, I moved into a colleague’s house in Waynesville. Finally—the west was feeling like home. My kids had a yard, and I had Belk (Modern, Southern, Style!). Plus, Waynesville is halfway between my Cullowhee office and Biltmore Park classroom. Jackpot!