I believe in Las Vegas.
I didn’t always believe in this city. I moved from Germany to Las Vegas when I was 10 years old. Germany wasn’t my home; it was my sixth residence. My dad was in the Air Force and we moved often. But my father retired after 25 years of service in the middle of the desert: Las Vegas, Nevada. I was less than thrilled.
For the first couple years, I was absolutely miserable. Every time I went outside, I dwelled on the fact that Las Vegas was (and still is) incredibly hot. I commented about how unattractive the buildings were, about how ugly The Strip was, and about the constant cloud of pollution covering the downtown area. I didn’t have many friends – probably because all I could talk about was how much I hated Las Vegas.
But as I entered high school, something changed. I began listening to better music, I made more friends than I ever had in middle school, and I slowly became more comfortable in my own skin. I found Buddhism. I went places with my parents and my friends that were completely different than anything I had ever seen. I saw the Hoover Dam. I visited The Strip countless times. And on each separate outing, I found something that wasn’t so bad about Las Vegas.
The buildings weren’t so awful at night; the neon had a special glow that excited something inside me and made me happy to be alive. I loved the sound of coins clinking into the pans of slot machines in the old casinos. I could always find a restaurant or grocery store open at any hour of the day. Any sort of food or clothing or souvenir or piece of technology was available in the vast array of shops and stores.
To this day, The Strip is only beautiful if I look at it at night. The neon and the flashing lights make me content to be in Las Vegas. I drive down The Strip with my friends at nights on the weekends and we listen to music. We look at all the flashing signs and the neon and we are happy to be alive.
Finding myself and being comfortable with myself changed my outlook on life. I became more positive and was able to find the advantages to living in a huge, chaotic town, and I realized that Las Vegas really is a beautiful city. I believe in Las Vegas.
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