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  • I hated living in the desert. The brown, the dust, the heat, the dryness, the rocks. The cacti. People came from all over the world just to marvel at the pale, merciless, spiny things. But I just wanted water.

    And then, I left. I started to remember different things: purple mountains in every direction, cotton-candy sunsets, nights warm enough for shorts and a t-shirt. At first, it was as a trade-off-- I lost a few perks, but hey, at least I could breathe outside!

    Then, I started to miss the things I thought I hated. I got colds from air too humid. I craved the crunch of gravel under my feet. I bought a pair of sunglasses just because their tint made the world look like Tempe at about 5:30 p.m. on a summer evening-- right before a haboob strikes. And as much as I loved the rain every day, it didn't smell at all like I remembered.

    After a few months, I came back. I might not stay here forever, but I'm happy here for now. After all, where else can you drive an hour, climb a mountain, and see pine trees on your right and saguaros on your left? Where else can you find a prickly pear cactus poking its way out of a foot of snow? Arizona's not too bad, after all.
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