1. Pepperoni rolls are still the best things you’ve ever put in your mouth.

“Almost Heaven” is biting into a freshly baked pepperoni roll. Maybe you preferred D’Annunzio’s to-go from your local Sheetz or the original recipe from Country Club Bakery topped with Oliverio’s peppers and fresh mozzarella. It’s best not to think about it. You won’t be eating one again until you pass under the “Wild and Wonderful” state sign that announces you’re home again.

2. The Appalachians are at their best from atop the New River Gorge Bridge.

You actually miss being stuck in traffic on the New River Bridge on your way south for summer vacation. Being in a standstill hasn’t been as scenic since.

3. You wouldn’t mind getting lost on the spiraling highways again.

Winding roads make you feel the feels. Driving is too easy everywhere else and you long for the serenity of driving along those mountain mama curves.

4. Having June 20th off to celebrate your heritage is no longer an option.

“What do you mean I have to work? It’s West Virginia Day!” You spent an entire year in West Virginia History class to earn this day off every year, but you moved and now no one cares.

5. Watching the transformation of the painted hillsides each season is thrilling.

While many experience the seasonal transitions in the US, they don’t do it like West Virginia. The mountains are on fire and every time you round the bend on a winding road, another burst of color greets you. The mountains come alive in fall, strutting their stuff like a herd of peacocks rising above the horizon.

6. Don’t even think you can get ramps where you are now.

Restaurants everywhere boast of ramps on their spring menus, but they never taste as good as they did when you picked them fresh from your backyard.

7. You miss partying with your friends in the woods.

You haven’t been to a bonfire in a while where someone offered you their homemade moonshine and a s’mores while you shouted the Mountaineer version of Sweet Caroline. Sweet Caroline, EAT SHIT PITT.

8. The greased up watermelon game is everything.

All you want to do in summer is get two teams together, throw a greased up watermelon in the nearest lake and see who can successfully make it to the other side. Everyone else thinks you’re crazy for suggesting this.

9. “Let’s Go!” is supposed to be followed by “Mountaineers!”

There’s no lonelier feeling than when you scream, “Let’s go!!!!” from across the bar and people just stare at you.

10. In your journeys across the globe, Mario’s Fishbowl is still the only place you’ve encountered that will sell you a draught beer in, well, a fishbowl.

Enough said.

11. Saturdays are for tailgating.

There might be WVU fans all over the world, but there’s one Mountaineer field. You yearn to stand beside the fiery gold and blue clad fans singing Country Roads, played by the Pride of West Virginia after a home win.

12. When John Denver sings, “Country roads/Take me home…” you cry a little because you’re miles away from that place you belong.

Nothing makes you more homesick than hearing this anthem outside of West Virginia. Whenever you experience it out of context, say in a discoteca in Prague or a norebang in Korea, it blows your mind and steals a tiny piece of your heart at the same time.

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