I Couldn't Wait To Get Out Of My Hometown

I Couldn't Wait To Get Out Of My Hometown, And Now I Can't Wait To Go Back

I was just a small town girl who couldn't wait to see the world.

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For the majority of my life, I have lived in a small town in northern Arizona. As I got older it seemed as if my town got smaller.

All that I could see in the town were negatives. It looked ugly, felt small and filled with terrible people. Yes, I was bullied throughout elementary, middle school and high school, but that is not the story I am here to tell.

Needless to say, I was ready to get the heck out of that town and move on to bigger and better things. I wanted to meet new people to be in new places with bigger opportunities. That is exactly what I did, and I would not change it for the world. I moved to the city of Phoenix to go to college and pursue what I am most passionate about.

For the first year that I was away from home, I wanted to stay away and never go back. I hated going back for Christmas break or visiting at any point. When people would say they were taking a trip to my hometown I would always question "Why would you want to do that? It's so ugly and there's nothing to do there" All I had towards my hometown was negative emotions and maybe even a bit of anger.

After being away for about three years now, my perspective has completely changed. I have nothing but love for my hometown, its beauty, and the sentimental value that it holds. Every time I visit, I stare at the beautiful mountains and stare at the sunsets and visit the local shops as much as humanly possible. Adventuring around my hometown whenever possible has become my new favorite thing to do.

At the end of the day, it is where I am from, where I grew up. Yes, there are bad memories, but there are also so many good ones, like dad racing the train on the way to school, or mom letting us stop for ice cream every Friday after school to celebrate the end of the week or walking around downtown with friends in high school thinking we were cool.

It is the little things that you learn to appreciate. It might take being away from something for you to truly appreciate it. It is true when people say that distance makes the heart grow fonder.

I hated my hometown for the longest time, but now I visit every chance I get. Even if I am no longer living there, it will always hold a piece of my heart.

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​An Open Letter To The People Who Don’t Tip Their Servers

This one's for you.
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Dear Person Who Has No Idea How Much The 0 In The “Tip:" Line Matters,

I want to by asking you a simple question: Why?

Is it because you can't afford it? Is it because you are blind to the fact that the tip you leave is how the waiter/waitress serving you is making their living? Is it because you're just lazy and you “don't feel like it"?

Is it because you think that, while taking care of not only your table but at least three to five others, they took too long bringing you that side of ranch dressing? Or is it just because you're unaware that as a server these people make $2.85 an hour plus TIPS?

The average waiter/waitress is only supposed to be paid $2.13 an hour plus tips according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

That then leaves the waiter/waitress with a paycheck with the numbers **$0.00** and the words “Not a real paycheck." stamped on it. Therefore these men and women completely rely on the tips they make during the week to pay their bills.

So, with that being said, I have a few words for those of you who are ignorant enough to leave without leaving a few dollars in the “tip:" line.

Imagine if you go to work, the night starts off slow, then almost like a bomb went off the entire workplace is chaotic and you can't seem to find a minute to stop and breathe, let alone think about what to do next.

Imagine that you are helping a total of six different groups of people at one time, with each group containing two to 10 people.

Imagine that you are working your ass off to make sure that these customers have the best experience possible. Then you cash them out, you hand them a pen and a receipt, say “Thank you so much! It was a pleasure serving you, have a great day!"

Imagine you walk away to attempt to start one of the 17 other things you need to complete, watch as the group you just thanked leaves, and maybe even wave goodbye.

Imagine you are cleaning up the mess that they have so kindly left behind, you look down at the receipt and realize there's a sad face on the tip line of a $24.83 bill.

Imagine how devastated you feel knowing that you helped these people as much as you could just to have them throw water on the fire you need to complete the night.

Now, realize that whenever you decide not to tip your waitress, this is nine out of 10 times what they go through. I cannot stress enough how important it is for people to realize that this is someone's profession — whether they are a college student, a single mother working their second job of the day, a new dad who needs to pay off the loan he needed to take out to get a safer car for his child, your friend, your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, you.

If you cannot afford to tip, do not come out to eat. If you cannot afford the three alcoholic drinks you gulped down, plus your food and a tip do not come out to eat.

If you cannot afford the $10 wings that become half-off on Tuesdays plus that water you asked for, do not come out to eat.

If you cannot see that the person in front of you is working their best to accommodate you, while trying to do the same for the other five tables around you, do not come out to eat. If you cannot realize that the man or woman in front of you is a real person, with their own personal lives and problems and that maybe these problems have led them to be the reason they are standing in front of you, then do not come out to eat.

As a server myself, it kills me to see the people around me being deprived of the money that they were supposed to earn. It kills me to see the three dollars you left on a $40 bill. It kills me that you cannot stand to put yourself in our shoes — as if you're better than us. I wonder if you realize that you single-handedly ruined part of our nights.

I wonder if maybe one day you will be in our shoes, and I hope to God no one treats you how you have treated us. But if they do, then maybe you'll realize how we felt when you left no tip after we gave you our time.

Cover Image Credit: Hailea Shallock

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I'm 20 Years Old And Still Love Dying Easter Eggs

Who doesn't love this historic tradition?

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Easter has always been an important holiday in my household. It holds both the religious and family aspects. However, there is one tradition that I still hold very close to my heart.

My favorite part about Easter is getting to paint the eggs. Not an Easter has passed that my family hasn't partaken in it. I look forward to it each year, and it wouldn't be Easter without them.

Every year the designs become more and more intricate. The weeks leading up to Easter, I look up different designs on Pinterest in preparation for the "big day". Nothing can make me more excited about this holiday.

Now, that I'm away at college, we have to plan when these traditions will take place. It becomes hard trying to fit in a week's worth of stuff over one weekend, but this will not be missed.

Fitting an entire Easter dinner the night before Easter and dying eggs all in the same day, but it will be done. I love getting to become creative on such a silly thing.

In all the years I've been dying the eggs, I don't think I've ever actually eaten the egg after I've been too afraid to crack into the beautifully decorated egg. Also, hard-boiled eggs are not exactly appetizing to me either.

As I'm getting older, it's even more important that I carry on these traditions. Something so small as dying eggs holds a lot of meaning, and I enjoy having time put aside each year to spend it with my parents.

Going from a little kid who loved to drop the eggs in multiple color dye and drawing crazy pictures, to being in college and still wanting to continue on the tradition.

So yes, I'm 20 and still enjoy partaking in a little kid activity. Through my eyes though, it's so much more. It's carrying on a tradition and getting to spend time with my parents. I couldn't ask for anything better this Easter season.

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