Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Arizona Observations

In the midst of my griping and subsequent stewing over having an awful spring break, I remembered the premise of this blog: to point out and discuss what I see. So I figured that while it's still fresh in my mind, I should put down some things I noticed and learned about Arizona, specifically the Phoenix metro area.
  • For a place in the middle of the desert, it's pretty beautiful! Cacti and other plants you won't see in Michigan are everpresent; even the sides of the highways/freeways are pretty scenic. Mountains surround you because you're in a valley, and some of them are even purple!
  • There are a lot of restaurants in the area. So if you can afford it, you never have to cook if you don't want to.
  • There are a lot of gyms/fitness centers there as well. People in Arizona may eat out a lot, but they must not keep it on for long. They seem to have a more active lifestyle and go outside more than people in Michigan. The pleasant weather is probably a reason for this.
  • Shopping centers and grocery stores are also pretty ubiquitous in the area.
  • Citrus is everywhere! A lot of people have their own orange or lemon trees in their yards, which is awesome if you love free produce and citrus is your favorite kind of fruit (like me).
  • Schools, especially elementary and middle schools, are everywhere. I take it that that there are a lot of teens, 20- and 30-somethings in the area who are having kids.
  • Arizona has the most children in the system (foster care/CPS/juvenile detention/etc.) than any other state in the nation. My stepmom told me this. She used to work for the Arizona department of corrections, and J lives with my dad and stepmom now, so she knows quite a bit about it. I guess even though a lot of people are having kids, apparently not all of them are able or care enough to take care of them. Consequently there's a huge demand for social workers there. Due to the shortage of them, the social workers are spread too thin and the job is so demanding and stressful that the turnover is really high.
  • Baseball is a big deal in Arizona, or something. Apparently the Diamondbacks are hosting the World Baseball Classic this year, or whatever. I really couldn't care less about sports so I don't know the specifics.
  • There aren't that many black people in the area, and those who live there are kind of spread out. Other than at church and maybe ASU, you won't see a large concentration of us in one place.
  • Conversely, as to be expected in this southwestern state there are a lot of Mexicans/Latin Americans/Hispanics/however such individuals choose to define themselves in the Phoenix metro area. Restaurants, shops, and stands run by them are prevalent, as is written Spanish language.
Perhaps the routine of the average white middle class resident there is shop, eat out, work out, go to work, work out, eat out, shop, and have babies? Granted, my observations are limited because I mostly stayed in the suburbs (Mesa, Gilbert, Tempe, Chandler) and didn't spend time in Phoenix, where I assume most of the action happens. But there you have it.

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