Give Me Back My Hometown

Give Me Back My Hometown

For many people who once lived in a small town they know the feeling when they’re home doesn’t feel like a home anymore.
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Like many people in my hometown, I’ve been here since a young age. Three-years-old to be exact. My parents who came from Hawaii were to be based in Seattle. So why of all places did they choose Gig Harbor? Well, at that time it was a small town that was isolated from the big city. My parents wanted my brother and me to grow up in a safe environment that wasn’t too rural but wasn’t in the heart and soul of the rat race that the city brought. But lately, when I go home to visit I don’t find that welcoming hometown feeling that I once had. In fact, I feel like a stranger in a strange land. For many people who once lived in a small town, they know the feeling when their home doesn’t feel like home anymore. Here’s why I wish my original hometown went back to normal.

It’s too crowded.
The one nice thing about my town was that it was quiet and pretty small. The majority of everyone knew everyone and it was a blessing and a curse when you wanted to do errands. You were guaranteed to run into at least three people you knew. Nowadays when you go anywhere you’re lucky if you see one person whose name you might not know but you’ve at least seen their face at some school function.

Your name doesn’t really mean anything anymore.
When I left for school, my friends and I were very well known in town. My friends were all-state athletes who went to big name schools. We were all head of ASB who planned every function, and we were all involved in other activities that had us working with the community. Now when I go home and meet some uppity family, I have to reference my brother and then they’ll show some decency to give me the time of day. It’s crazy how all that can change within four years.

Mom and Pop places are hard to come by.
Something else that gave my town its charm was the local businesses that provided what we needed for necessities. Whether it was hole in the wall bakeries, cute little cafes, or even local appliance companies; these businesses are at a bare minimum. Now what we have is the commercialized businesses and the chain restaurants that occupy our buildings and strip malls.

It’s just too built up.
There is constantly construction and a new building that’s to be completed with at least four new stores. For the first time, there is actual traffic too. Not the kind of traffic that happened right after school got out because the buses were constantly stopping. But the sort of traffic that happens when you have so many new people moving into town. Traffic that is absolute nonsense and makes you think twice if it’s really worth doing your errands today, in fear of becoming aggravated at the idiot who is going too slow in front of you.

It’s sad to me that home hardly feels like home anymore. It’s a place that I spent a wonderful childhood in and now it’s sad to see what has come of it. So no, I don’t need all of these new chain stores and restaurants. I’m fine going over the bridge and paying the toll to do so. All I want is my cute little hometown back. The one that shaped my friends and me into the people we’ve become. The one where I could smile at the elderly couple from across the street, and not because I knew them personally, but because they’re the same couple I pass every morning when I’m walking around the harbor.

Cover Image Credit: The Gourmet Burger Shop

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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Everyone Should Experience Working In Fast Food Or Retail

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it.

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I know these jobs aren't glamorous. In fact, most days I looked forward to clocking out before I had even clocked in. I always secretly rolled my eyes when an angry customer droned on and on about how entitled he or she was. Though I can name a lot of bad things that happened on the job, it wasn't all horrible. As I reflect on my time working in fast food, I realize how much having that job really taught me and how grateful I am to have had that experience. I really think everyone should work in fast food or retail at some point, and here's why:

You make some great friends from work. I get it, sometimes your co-workers are royal jerks or flat out creeps. You see your name on the schedule next to theirs and immediately try switching with someone else. I've been there. However, I have worked with some amazing people as well.

Every time I worked with one girl in particular, we laughed for entire shifts. One night, we were singing the national anthem at the top of our lungs without realizing a customer had come in (to our surprise, she applauded our terrible screaming). Another coworker and I turned up the radio on full blast when business was slow and had dance battles. We made the most of our shifts, and I still talk to some of these people today.

You learn how to deal with difficult people. It's the age-old story: the uppity customer thinks twelve dollars for a meal combo is outrageous and Where is your manager?!

My friend and I were once called stupid and a customer said he would never come back to our restaurant to eat ever again. At the moment, we were scared out of our minds because we were both pretty new to the job. As time passed, we became more patient and tolerant and knew what triggered these particular customers. Dealing with these adversities definitely helps in the long run, particularly when it comes to doing group work with people who seem unbearable.

Your people skills increase by a landslide. I had always thought that I was great with people before I had a job. However, when I found myself in situations where I had to talk to strangers, I would grow nervous and stumble across my words from time to time. Working in an environment where communicating with others is a driving force helped me not only with improving my public speaking, but also made me more outgoing. In situations where I once backed into the corner to avoid having to talk to someone, I now take charge and initiate a conversation.

You establish a connection with regular customers. My favorite customer was named Jack. He was the sweetest old man who came in every Wednesday and Friday and bought food for himself and his wife. I quickly memorized his order, which impressed him. We shared pleasantries every time he came in, and my coworkers and I looked forward to seeing him.

Establishing a relationship with people who come in a lot helps immensely when it comes to working. It also provides a sense of accomplishment when you memorize an order. Not to mention, the customers start to like you and typically leave a generous tip!

You have stories to tell for a lifetime! Sometimes bad things happen at work. Once I was holding a hot pan and burned my arm— I still have the burn mark on my arm to prove it. My point is, it sucked at the moment, but now I look back and laugh.

One time I asked my coworker how to make soup and she replied, "Slowly, but beautifully." It was so nonchalant that I cracked up for hours. There was also a time when a customer asked me for outlandish toppings and condiments that we didn't offer. The craziest story, though, was the drug deal that went down in our public restrooms. My coworker and I obviously could not leave our station and follow these people into the bathroom, so we were pretty much defenseless. Nobody got hurt or anything, so it made for a great story.

Working in fast food was definitely not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but I'm so glad I did it. It made me more independent and outgoing and gave me memories I'll never forget.

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