During April vacation in 2014, my mom and I visited Las Vegas. It was my first time leaving the east coast, and I was quite excited. I was overwhelmed by all of the lights, the myriad of people, and the expanse of land surrounding the city on all sides that was so barren, and disconcerting for me to see. Looking back on it now, I remember the city fondly, from the impromptu wedding in the middle of the hotel/casino at which I stayed, to the inebriated, smoking women, stumbling down the street at 11 o'clock at night.
Coming from a small town in New Hampshire, there were many things about Las Vegas that made an impact on my life. However, the experience that made the largest impact came about in the most unlikely fashion. At least, it seemed that way to me at the time. This experience didn't occur at my hotel, or on the famous Las Vegas strip with all of its flashy colors and overwhelmingly large amounts of people; it didn't even occur at the dingy drive-through taco restaurant that I visited. The experience in Las Vegas that significantly impacted my life happened in a grocery store.
About two days into our trip, after seeing the exorbitant prices at the buffet in our hotel, my mom decided that we were going to find a grocery store and keep food in our hotel room, sufficiently ending our need to buy our meals at the hotel. We jumped into the rental car and typed two words into the GPS. Grocery store. Having no idea where any grocery stores were, or what chains were present in Nevada, we placed our trust in the small, slightly broken, navigation device. It brought us to a somewhat small grocery store located in a strip mall, somewhere in the middle of residential Las Vegas. It had looked pretty ordinary from the outside, with the standard promotional signs in its windows, boxes stacked outside the door, and shopping carts in the middle of parking spaces, but once my mom and I entered the store, I was shocked. Everything was in Spanish, from the labels to the lady at the checkout counter. This in itself is not so shocking, or impactful. To a twelve-year-old white girl from a predominantly English-speaking, white state, it was incredible. I saw fruits and vegetables of every different shape, size, and color that I had never even heard the names of before. That was what was so impactful about Las Vegas, the diversity.
Although I chose to tell about my experience in the grocery store, a memory that stands out among the rest, the entire city, every aspect of it, is diverse. The mass amount of diversity and culture present in that city was something new, and different. Something I hadn't experienced in such intensity before that vacation. Visiting Las Vegas, and seeing its culture and diversity, peaked an interest in international communities, and their cultures, for which I will be forever grateful.