17 St. Philip Street, the Former International House
When I moved into the International House back in 1994, it was only the third international thing I’d seen. The other two were the IHOP and the Bahamas. So, when my mother finally pulled away, I was pretty freaking excited to get into the International House and make some international friends and learn about international things and talk in French to the cute French girls who live next door and whom I hadn’t yet met.
I ran as fast as I could up the fire escape to my room on the second floor and met my first international roommate, Gabe, from Walhalla.
“Where is this far off place you speak of, Walhalla?” I asked him.
““South Carolina. Close to Clemson,” he told me.
Then I met Allen from Spartanburg and Forrest from Greenwood, S.C. Then I met the guys on the first floor from Jacksonville and Baltimore. Finally, I met the three guys who put the international in the house. India, Japan, Russia and America made the guys’ International House in 1994.
Next door, in the girls’ International House, were girls from far off places like Atlanta, Greenville and Massachusetts – none of whom were impressed with my shoddy French.
Still, I got my fair share of culture there. When I won $800 on a scratch-off lottery ticket the third week of the semester, I bought a five-piece drum kit that I didn’t know how to play (I was a theatre major, not a business student). Our RA Lancy said drum kits weren’t allowed – but we refused to believe him for six days. It turned out he was right.
I also learned to entertain – which, we found out, can result in a fire code violation if you entertain too many. Apparently, 75 is too many.
And, of course, there was art. Like when we took empty plastic milk jugs from the recycling bin and placed them in the road so that the lights cast marvelous little shadows from each jug. We were amazed with our doings. The Charleston Police Department was not.
– Patrick Welty ’99