Nevada; Michigan; Texas; Arizona; Maryland; Illinois. These are all the states I have lived in throughout my 26 years of existence. Each state had its pros and cons, but the overall experience of living around the country has shaped who I am as a person: cynical.
Consider this an unsolicited traveler’s guide to moving around the country.
I was born in Las Vegas — the heathenistic metropolis of Nevada — and lived there for the first three months of my life; I don’t remember much.
Michigan (1993-1996 and 2000-2004)
Michigan is beautiful to live in and the people are pleasant to be around, at least until winter strikes. Much like Illinois, hell freezes over during the winter months as foot after foot of snow piles up. The heater is on full blast and you will be consuming some type of hot beverage. The good thing about being trapped inside during a winter storm as heaps of snow accumulates outside and causes mass power outages is twofold: school might be cancelled tomorrow, and there’s plenty of time to read “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” at dark.
Red. Very red. Extremely red. From the towering mountains, to the stucco exterior and tile roofing on homes, everything seemed red. The people are even red (from the sun — THE SUN). There was an open wash behind our red house where the torrential rains would drain into during monsoon season. Like all naïve children, my younger siblings and I would explore the area despite the constant danger from rattlesnakes and sudden flash floods. None of us died.
Texas (1996-2000 and 2006-2011)
Vast and open, Texas is a massive desert full of football stadiums, reptiles, cowboys and more football stadiums. Cities are spread apart like star clusters and highways stretch onward for what seems like forever. Tornadoes are frequent in number and manure can be smelled nearly everywhere. But the people are courteous — I dare you to find a Texan who won’t address you as ma’am or sir.
Illinois (2011-2012 and 2014 to present)
The weather can suck. The taxes do suck. The traffic is horrendous. The people are desperate to leave. Need I say more?
Summer months are brutally hot and humid, and winter can be freezing and wet. When Maryland really shines is during the spring months when the cherry blossoms start to bloom and display their vivid pink colors. It is quite a site to travel down to Washington D.C. and see the cherry blossom trees aligned in long, pink rows. However, the beauty soon fades upon realizing that poverty is rampant and the homeless are displaced all around the nation’s capital. There’s a sad irony to this dreary observation.
On that note, I hope this served some useful purpose. If not, in the words of Rooster Cogburn from ‘True Grit,’ “I can do nothin' for you, son.”