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My Unique Hometown

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Hometown-[hohm-toun]. Noun. The town or city from which a person lives or was born, from which a person comes, or where a person’s family is from.

Most people can identify their hometown. For example, my friend Sydney says without thinking, “Sandy, Utah.” Or my friend Emily says, “Scott Air Force Base, Illinois.” I used to not be able to name my hometown as easy as them. Thanks to my dad’s government job, we have moved all around the country. I’ve been from the west coast to the east coast then almost back. My dad always tells me I am an All-American girl thanks to the mix of all the different cultures I have incorporated into my lifestyle from living all over the county. The other day my mom asked me what I would consider as my hometown for an application. I looked at her and said, “SanDiegoChicagoIowaCityCincinnatiLebanonTampaSaltLakeCity, United States of America.”My mom just nodded and laughed then wrote down where we are currently living, Salt Lake City.

Although my hometown might seem long and confusing to anyone from the outside looking in, it makes perfect sense to me. I have a mix of all the cultures in my day to day life. It makes a lot more sense if I break down each city.

I was born in San Diego on October 7th. Although I only lived there for my first six months my parents always tell me I am a true California girl. I have the look of blonde hair and freckles. I fall under the typical California stereotypes. I both sing and act, I love vegan food and eat it whenever I can, l love the environment, the beach is one of my favorite places, and I love the outdoors more than anything. In the background of home movies I can hear people yelling “Dude!” which got me saying California lingo as some of my first words.

When I was six months old, my parents and I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio. There we had a huge back yard that helped inspire my love for the outdoors and animals. Deer and small animals would make their home in our backyard. Cincinnati is where I first learned how to speak, so I still have little bits of a Cincinnati accent. When someone says something that I can’t understand or I can’t hear, instead of saying “May you please repeat that,” Sometimes I simply say, “Please?” Also, I don’t say Cincinnat-uh, I say Cincinnat-ee. These things might seem weird to an outside, but to me it makes perfect sense.

Lebanon, Pennsylvania. Or as I like to call it, Middle-of-Amish-County, Pennsylvania. I lived here from the time I was three until I was six. Our house was in the middle of Amish fields stretching out to the mountains at least fifty miles in the distance. We would sometimes have horse and buggies riding past our house early in the morning. In Pennsylvania I really got the small town feel. Our town on Lebanon only had about 100,000, which is quite small for me. Most of the population in the town worked at the Veteran Affairs Hospital with my dad, creating a family-like atmosphere. From Pennsylvania I learned how to live a simple lifestyle with only about ten TV channels, not having any sort of highway running through town creating loud noises, and simply the spirit of the Amish, who don’t use electricity. From Pennsylvania I picked up some weird little accent things. I say my A’s long. Instead of saying “Nev-eda” I say, “Navaada.” Also, I tend to say things out of order, which is a very Pennsylvania thing. Instead of saying, “We will be going soon,” I say, “Soon we will be going.” Pennsylvania really did shape the way I talk and how much I get made fun of today due to my accent.

Florida probably left the biggest impact on me of all of my homes. In Tampa, Florida I got a lot of my personality. Where I lived in Florida people were always teasing around and making fun of their friends, which I do all the time. Also, I got my personal hate for hot, humid weather. I would get days with 98% humidity during the summer. Instead of measuring things by miles, I measure how far away something is by minutes. Tampa contributed to some of my accent too. People tell me I have a slight southern accent when I say some words, but others they can’t hear it at all. I tend to throw in little southern words like “y’all” and “ain’t”. I have a strong southern when I say words like “Carolina”. Florida is where I also gained my love for musicals. We lived less than thirty minutes away from the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center, which hosted at least five touring companies a year. My parents would take me to see all that we could. I instantly fell in love and I still have the love for theatre today. Also, Florida gave me my love for the beach. My friends and I would go there just to hang out or for late night barbeques. Now, whenever I go on vacation, my family tends to go to the beach to get back that Florida mindset.

During the summer before eighth grade I moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. I was instantly hit with the culture shock. Suddenly no one was wearing short shorts or tank tops and there was a church on every corner and they all seemed to look the same. Places in Salt Lake aren’t open on Sunday and no one will even be out on Sunday. The hotel we lived in for the summer while looking for a house had a Book of Mormon in the bedside table, which I had never even heard of before. We were shocked to find out there were only two Catholic churches around our newly bought house, which only has about 1,000 parishioners each. Yes, Utah might have been a culture shock, but I grew to like it. Although there isn’t much diversity here, I have never lived in a place where so many people are the same religion. It’s interesting to listen to them talk about church, mostly because I have never heard of half of the things they’re talking about. Salt Lake City has helped me realize how different kids can act in different parts of the country even if we’re all the same age. People out here seem to have a hard time growing up, not being able to do things that most kids our age can do. People out here seem to support just two football teams and have the biggest rival I have ever seen. To live in Utah, you must either be a University of Utah fan or a Brigham Young University fan. When people ask me which one I’m a fan of, I either say Utah State or Notre Dame, just to freak people out. Utah has helped me develop my love for the mountains. During the winter I spend every Sunday skiing and during the summer I am hiking at least three days a week. My house is less than a mile alway from the mountains, and I currently have a view of them while typing this. Utah, like every place, has contributed to my “All-American accent”, as my parents like to call it. Thanks to Utah I now tend to drop my‘t’s out of my words. Instead of saying “mountain”, I say “mountain”. I also slur all of the middle continents together in a word. These are horrible habits that I hope I will quickly lose if I ever move away from here. Utah has also given me the western spirit. While driving down to Vegas the other weekend, I didn’t do anything but look out the window. I was daydreaming about the different ranches I could build in the middle of Utah, where mountains and green lands stretch as far as the eye can see.
Chicago. Although I’ve never actually lived in Chicago I spend half of each summer there. My mom’s side of the family is from Chicago. I spend half of my summer living with my grandparents, learning Polish or eating Polish food every night. I know my way around their town of St. Charles, so I can go on walks in the park near their house or go ask their neighbors for eggs to make dessert. By the end of the summer I tend to pick up on little Chicago accents such as replacing “the” with “da”.

Like Chicago, I have never actually lived in Iowa. For the half of the summer I’m not in Chicago, I am in the farmlands of Iowa City, Iowa. My dad’s side of the family lives all over Iowa. In Iowa I work on the farm, picking corn or driving the factor around the wheat fields. My cousins and I go cow tipping, go swimming in the creek that runs by their house, or play hide-and-go-seek in the cornfield near my grandparent’s farm. From Iowa I gain the ‘farmer’ spirit that hard work can accomplish anything and I also gain a farmer’s tan.
Last but not least, my hometown does not have a state. I simply say The United States of America. I use Carrie Underwood’s song, “All American Girl” as my theme song. I’ve been to thirty-two of the fifty states and I have loved each one of them. Being an American, I am proud to stand up for my country any day of any week.

Yes, SanDiegoChicagoIowaCityCincinnatiLebanonTampaSaltLakeCity, United States of America might be a long and confusing hometown, but I am proud to call it my hometown that’s almost as unique as I am.





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