As many of my friends know, I was never a fan of my small town. I felt trapped in a place with people that had lived there their whole lives and had no intention of leaving anytime soon. While they were perfectly content living the same life as their parents, in the same town as their parents, I was anxious to get out and explore the world. However, what I didn't expect, and what I don't necessarily want to admit, is that I miss the quaint quirks of my home.
1. Football Games
In small towns, football isn't just a sport. It's a way of life. People of all ages make their way over to the football field to support the high school team (a team that most of them were on when they were younger). There's a certain camaraderie at the games. A certain understanding that our allegiance to the team won't falter -- even if they lose every single game of the season. It doesn't matter who you are when you enter the stadium. For three hours, you're one entity cheering for the boys covered in the "Friday Night Lights."
2. The One Chain Restaurant Everybody Eats At Every Week
Half apps was the weekly ritual in my small town. However, it was never about the food (because, let's be honest, nobody likes bland mozzarella sticks and boneless wings that feel like a cinderblock when you bite into them). It was about having your friends all in one place at the same time. It was about sitting down after a long week of school and catching up with the people that make you the happiest. And, OK, half-priced appetizers aren't such a bad deal either.
3. The Teacher That Believed in You When You Didn't Believe in Yourself
I wasn't a great student in high school. I procrastinated and made excuses and generally just didn't care. I never would have made it through high school if it weren't for my choir teacher (Hey, Ms. Hayes). The teachers that make a difference -- the teachers that you remember long after you've walked across the stage in your cap and gown - are the ones that never give up on you. It doesn't matter how many times you've screwed up. They see your potential and they do everything they can to make sure that you see it, too.
4. Town Traditions
Whether it be parades, festivals, or barbecues, small-towns always seem to have something going on during the holidays. As a high schooler, it was nice to know that my weekends had some sort of schedule. My small town of Anoka, Minnesota, was the "Halloween Capital of the World" (seriously -- go look it up). We had haunted houses and parades and pumpkin themed football games (because there's nothing better than a themed football game), and we would get dressed up and trick-or-treat around our neighborhood. The fall festivities were always something that we looked forward to, and when everyone's favorite fall drink came out, we waited with anticipation because we knew that our town traditions were soon to follow.
5. The People
This one was the most surprising to me - especially because I was a liberal feminist surrounded by conservative high school students who indirectly tweeted about their problems with someone at least once a week. However, at the end of the day, I met some of my best friends in my small town. And as I make this transition from high school to college, from Anoka to Seattle, I wish I could have deep conversations with the people around me. Until then, I'll just have to settle with slowly finding the people that make Seattle my new home.