To see the sign that reads, “Welcome to Flagstaff” has been my post high school dream since finding out about Northern Arizona University. I have lived in three different states, each one with its own unique feeling. I was born in the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois, in a small town called Schaumburg. More than three-quarters of my family lives in that area, and each year we go back is better and better. I moved to Hawaii, and slowly came adjusted to the warmth of the islands. In fact, even after thirteen years was I still unable to get used to the heat. Fifteen years after my birth, I found my self in Salinas, California, which was a whole new environment for my family. Salinas offered the combination of both Chicago weather, and Hawaii weather, only without the snow and sandy beaches. Next I hope to be able to move to Northern Arizona, where the beauty of Hawaii and the climate of Illinois are rolled into one.
Chicago definitely has its own beauty to it, but it definitely is not the 10-degree weather, which halts snow while still offers us the miserable cold. However, the entire Christmas experience with my crazy family makes it all worthwhile. Like most people, I enjoy living in a community where everyone is like family, even if they aren’t blood related. After growing up in Hawaii, I learned to enjoy the family like atmosphere, even if the hair and skin color don’t even slightly resemble. Because we had no family ties, we had to make friends to make the Hawaiian Islands our home away from home. Our neighbors welcomed us in like we have known each other our whole lives. An interesting idea about the islands is how family-like our relationships became. If one were to visit the state, they might notice that everyone is each other’s auntie or uncle. However, the family tree might say otherwise. Even people who are just friends with the family can find their children calling the older females, auntie, or the males, uncle. Though we had no blood relatives on the island, we still had our share of ‘aunties and uncles.’ That is one of the reasons why I miss Hawaii, and would love to go back just to visit everyone I went to school with. A family like atmosphere is one that is crucial to where I would choose to live, which is why I look forward to moving to Flagstaff.
In the year 2003, I found myself living in Salinas, California, which, take my word for it, is much different than Laguna Beach, or the OC. It is a very high crime area, where Mexican gangs run amuck and cause negative influences everywhere. While some areas are free of the crime, it is still hard to find yourself not looking over your shoulder. Despite the crime, there are many positive aspects about Salinas, California. For example, we finally find ourselves back in the continental United States. We are now able to travel back and forth to and from Chicago in the same day. Not that we would ever consider doing that, it is just nice to know that it is an option. In Hawaii, traveling to Chicago for the holidays means setting aside an entire day in the plane. It usually took us a five hour plane ride to end up in Los Angeles, two or three hours on the ground, then another four or five hours to get to Chicago. Now we are more than able to go to Chicago without dreading the plane ride over there. We can also drive to Lake Tahoe for the winter to enjoy the mountainous snow terrain. There are many options available to us now that we live on the mainland.
I have been doing much research on the climate and atmosphere of NAU, Flagstaff. The Rocky Mountains are only a short drive from the campus. If, for some strange reason, I do not want to go to Aspen at all over the winter, I could stay in Flagstaff without being hit by 10-degree weather. Flagstaff offers the climates of Chicago, Hawaii, and Northern California, all rolled into one. I would get the clean, crisp, beautiful air and views of Hawaii, not to mention the family like atmosphere, the option of being able to enjoy the snow, rather than being forced to deal with it all winter long, and the cool, but not freezing weather of Salinas. Flagstaff has all the outdoor activities a person needs, from hiking, all the way up to snowboarding 8,000 ft. above sea level, all in the same season. Therefore, one could never go wrong in living in Northern Arizona.