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Sun Times reporter says goodbye to ‘special’ Jasper

  • Liz Bloom

I’m not good at goodbyes. I always, always, get over-emotional and therefore I tend to avoid them at all costs. But, in a month, I’ll be leaving the United States to serve as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon for two years — so that means I have lots of goodbyes in the near future. Saying goodbye to friends and family is, frankly, going to suck, a lot. But saying goodbye to my job and Jasper County is indescribable.

My last day at the paper will be Sept. 3 and I’ll be leaving Jasper County Sept. 4. On Sept. 18, I’ll be leaving the country.

A year ago, I took my first post-grad job, the reporter position at the Jasper County Sun Times. And now, a year later, I am getting ready to leave the country and work in a third-world country providing prenatal, neonatal, and maternal care in clinics.

If you asked me where I thought I was going to be in a year, when I started here, I never would have guessed that I’d be gearing up for the Peace Corps. And yet, here I am.

During my year here, I’ve come to form friendships with more people than I can count. I’ve also been introduced to Lowcountry originals, like the Tub Races at Gopher Hill and the culinary genius of a Lowcountry boil.

But most of all, Jasper County helped me grow into myself.

I’m a much better writer than when I started here, and that’s not saying much, because I was rough back then. But this job taught me, and forced me, to leave my youthful college mindset far, far behind.

Let me tell you, paying rent and bills is no joke, a full-time job is stressful and the adult responsibilities are endless.

I’ve still got tons to learn and improve on, both as a journalist and individual, but I’ve progressed.

Thank you to all my readers who stuck with me as I learned the community and how to be a journalist. Your patience is so appreciated.

Thank you to all the coaches, ADs and faculty members at the schools who dealt with me pestering them for information, stats and quotes for my stories.

Thanks to you guys, I won a South Carolina Press Association award for my work.

The athletes in Jasper helped me reinvigorate my love for sports, with their ever-optimistic demeanor and entertaining weeknights on the sidelines.

You all helped me reaffirm my decision to pursue journalism.

In Jasper, I’ve been able to make friends in places and professions I never thought possible. I’ve grown to find great friends who work for the county, law enforcement, schools and parents.

People in Jasper have prayed for me when I’ve been in need. People have helped me, fed me, gave me directions, corrected me, invited me into this community with warm hearts. For a 22-year-old kid, living completely on her own and more than 500 miles from family and friends, I cannot thank you enough.

Jasper has a special home in my heart.

I’m excited for my new opportunity in Cameroon, but still, leaving Jasper is hard. I hate that I’m going to miss football on Friday nights, basketball on Tuesdays, and part of me will miss the council meetings on Mondays and Thursdays.

But I’m going to miss the people, my coworkers and friends more than anything.

I hope to come back to Jasper to see all my friends, this community, again, and hopefully sooner rather than later. As cliche as it is, this is not goodbye; simply see you later. I’ll be following along online for news in Jasper.

I could not have asked for a better first job. See you soon and thank you.

For those who want to stay connected, you can follow me on twitter @sLiiZaRd, on instagram @liz.bloom, or add me on Facebook.

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