Dear I.V.,

I have lived here my all my life. I made the best of friends as well as the worst of enemies. I moved houses around the Valley, but never truly left you. So many memories created in this little town that no one knows about. Wherever I drive, there is always dirt, fields of agriculture, or canals surrounding me. And, how could I forget the unforgettable smell of cows in certain parts of town? Driving beside horses or tractors is normal for us.

Not a lot of people know about your existence despite having the best sweet tea and carne asada fries ever. You are far from the big towns like San Diego or Los Angeles, but you are located alongside the Mexican border. It has its perks, especially if you want authentic tacos. But, the crime rate is not the best, and there is a high percentage of poverty. It is difficult to find employment in times when some families need the money the most. Drug addicts and alcoholics sit alongside street corners begging for money to maintain their addiction. Homeless people occupy the parks that were once populated by children.

There is an attitude I wish you could change. Leaving the Valley should not be viewed as a bad thing. Every person has their own path in life. Some move away from you while others stay, and both options are perfectly fine. I hate how some people who live within you shame one another for their personal choices of school or work. I personally faced this when I decided to move to the big city of Los Angeles right after I graduated high school. My mom constantly is questioned by others because she encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and try to move somewhere new with more opportunities for my major. Everyone expects us to live with you all our lives; however, it is not the same case for everyone.

I still miss you from time to time. Los Angeles does not have a Johnny’s Burritos or a $5 movie theater. You can be boring, but that just forces everyone to be more creative with their time. While I was in high school, my best friends and I would drive to Wal-Mart to buy movie snacks and a new DVD to watch together. To be honest, we still do this whenever we are all home from college. There have been times where I just sit in the car with my friends in the parking lot just to talk about where are lives are and what direction we are all headed in. You have some incredible sunsets that I always stop for a moment to admire. The distant mountain ranges look beautiful alongside the bright sunsets.

I will always remember where I came from. You have shaped me into the person that I am today. I was privileged to live in a border town where I was constantly surrounded by my Mexican culture. Thank you for making my first chapter of my life a crazy, but amazing roller coaster ride.

Love,

Imperial Valley Girl