It’s 92 degrees, but it feels like 112.
I’m listening to Gone by N*Sync on my Walkmen with my new headphones that attach behind my ear and are covered with hot black foam.
I’m daydreaming about the school clothes I’m going to buy in a few weeks for the eighth grade.
I’ve spent years on this porch, in this house, in this city.
But it used to be different.
It used to be a place I came once a year to see family and friends. It used to be a place I thought was too hot, too brown, and too boring to ever call home.
It used to be a place I insisted I wouldn’t end up.
As I sit on the same porch at my grandparents house 9 years later, now listening to some wanna-be hipster music with my much smaller headphones, I am in awe of my change in heart.
It is amazing to me how different places can become so familiar, so comforting.
It is amazing to me how somewhere you were once so unfamiliar with can become your home.
I can’t really imagine a life without living here. I don’t know who I would be, what I would be doing, who I would be with.
I don’t think I want to know.
Because Reno has molded me into the woman I have become, for better or for worse, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
It has taught me who I want to be, and who I don’t want to be—it has taught me who I am.
I know that wherever I would have ended up, everything would have been well, because that’s the way it works. But somehow, I think I landed in the perfect place.
I don’t know if I’ll be here forever, but I do know that I will never forget everything that it has given me.
The culture, the change, the innovation, the spirit.
It gave me my voice, my confidence, and my passion.
It gave me the best relationships I could ever ask for.
The people I have met and will continue to meet during my time here have proven to be some of the best I have been lucky enough to know.
They are genuine, authentic, and welcoming. They have never doubted me, they have pushed me and believed in me.
They have given me the foundation for the rest of my life, and Reno will continue to grow me for as long as I allow it.
And I highly recommend that you take a look at your home, too—and realize the amazing things that it has done for you.
Because a grateful heart is really the only way to live.