My name is Allison Gatlin and as the new kid on the block at the newspaper and in town, I’d like to take the chance to introduce myself to readers of the News-Times.
I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona, where I spent my free time reading, writing and sustaining strange and numerous injuries as a gymnast and then a coach (I’ve broken, sprained, jammed and hyper-extended more joints on my body than anyone I know outside the sport). I love Mexican food, Dean Koontz books and am a wiz when it comes to managing chaos. I guess I’d attribute this talent to the nearly five years I spent coaching gymnastics — when one child is tugging at your shirt for your attention because her friend fell off the balance beam, and you’re spotting another gymnast who is practicing a skill, while yelling at yet another to stop pushing the girl next to her off the beam, and the whole time planning out the other events you’d like to get to that day, it’s essential to become adept at dealing with an array of situations all at once.
After several ridiculously comical and hectic years living with my one and only younger sister, Sarah, I graduated from Arizona State University in May with two degrees, one in journalism and the other in Spanish.
The decision to move to El Dorado was not an easy one and when I told my friends and family I was moving to Arkansas they all kind of cocked their heads and looked at me as if I had lobsters crawling out of my ears and had suddenly sprouted a pair of striped butterfly wings from my shoulders — adorable wings to be sure, but wings nonetheless. They simply couldn’t fathom why I would move so far away from home to a place where I don’t know anyone, in a part of the country where my allergy to mosquito bites would force me to live in a state of near constant — for lack of a better word — itchiness.
Arizona, with all its desert beauty and fair share of tumbleweeds, cowboys, cacti, fantastic Mexican food and let’s be honest, sand, had been my home for 22 years. I was unsure I could leave the place where I had grown up, been a gymnast, gone to college and took my first steps into the adult world.
Upon arrival in El Dorado, vehicle filled to the brim with my most important earthly belongings, I was sure I had made the right decision. I was greeted by a bounty of greenery unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Arizona (it’s all just dirt out there, right?), friendly smiles and numerous well-wishes on the new job.
I look forward to learning more about the beautiful city and meeting a variety of new people during my time in El Dorado. Y si alguien quiere conversar en español, por favor, habla conmigo, voy a necesitar la práctica mientras estoy viviendo en El Dorado. I hope you all have a wonderful day!