My Phoenix Story | This Could Be Phoenix - Part 4
archive,paged,category,category-my-phoenix-story,category-80,paged-4,category-paged-4,bridge-core-2.9.6,qode-page-transition-enabled,ajax_leftright,page_not_loaded,,qode-theme-ver-28.0,qode-theme-bridge,disabled_footer_bottom,qode_header_in_grid,wpb-js-composer js-comp-ver-6.7.0,vc_responsive

My Phoenix Story

Finding your place is no easy task. It doesn’t happen suddenly. Instead it’s a process you’re hardly aware of until one day you know where you’re supposed to be. I was 8 years old when my parents broke the news that we were moving from our California town of Lompoc to a place called Phoenix, Arizona. “It’s in the desert, but your grandmother is there,” my mother said while my father mentioned cheaper property taxes and land values. No concept of what a desert town looked like, I imagined it would be like the movie Aladdin—complete with roaming camels, tents and dust storms.

I read in a book once that every city has its own word. A word thats describes the spirit of the city and the people living in it. LA is "Succeed," New York is "Achieve," and Rome is "Sex." I think that all of these are pretty perfect words for those cities, so it got me thinking: What is Phoenix's word? And if a city's word can be different for every person living in it, what is my own personal word in Phoenix? You see, I grew up here and wouldn't have been able to tell you its word 10 years ago. In fact, I don't think it really had one other than maybe "Sprawl." I couldn't wait to get out of here when it came time to go to college. I had my sights set on Los Angeles (word for me: "Opportunity"), dreaming of being an actress. I enjoyed a couple of great years immersed in theatre, but when it came down to it, I loved being on stage but I did not love the business of acting.

Before moving to Phoenix, I thought the city was a maze of strip malls and freeways. But since moving here, I've learned about and experienced the city's rich history, bikeable neighborhoods, and welcoming community. Every morning, I wake up and make a French Press while looking out over historic 1934-era Encanto Park. This park in the heart of Phoenix is incredible. It features tennis courts, basketball courts, soccer fields, playgrounds, lagoons, picnic areas, pedal boat rentals, golf courses, walking paths, an amusement park, and if you're lucky, you can even find some Live Action Role Play (complete with costumes!) I love living in the Encanto area because it is so vibrant - I've never seen a park get so much use! People from every different kind of background gather for family time, fitness, and fun, and I get to watch it out of my window. The neighborhood is also perfect for me because it is filled with lovely historic homes, and the owners have a real sense of pride about getting to own a piece of Phoenix history. Of course, probably the biggest perk for me is that the bike lane is right out my front door. I'm a three mile commute to my work at the State Archives, and haven't driven my car to work since last April!

I hated Phoenix. Actually the word "hate" would be putting it mildly. From the heat to suburbia I couldn’t escape. I grew up in South Phoenix and went to Greenway High School on the west side. My childhood was filled with dreams of leaving this place and living anywhere but here. With a mother working for the airlines by the time I was 13 that dream became reality quickly. I spent my young adulthood hopping free flights and discovering the world. This Arizona native immediately fell in love with the forever green and sprinkling with rain, northwest. I had family in Seattle and it always felt right that I would leave the desert I loathed and runaway to my Washington, my mecca.

I have been on the move since I left Portland, Oregon nearly 10 years ago, looking for the perfect city. I made it to New York City and thought I had found it, but after a few years it felt like there had to be more. So I moved myself to a few cities in China then later to Mongolia, ending back in the states in the one-and-only, Detroit. I made a few, short-lived pit stops along the way in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Washington D.C. With every new city and every new community I visited it always seemed as though there was a stream of likeness that ran through the people the environment and the infrastructure. One could pick out the unique characteristics, both organic and earned, that gave each city and each community their own identity. The buildings, the shops, the art and the parks all reflected an energy of the people and the culture which had proliferated the spaces.