Amado, Arizona. Not many people have even heard of this small town, but it's what I have called home for the last eighteen years of my life. I grew up in the same neighborhood, on the same street, and in the same house for all my life. I have never moved, and I consider myself lucky for that. Ask anyone whom their neighbors are, and I am willing to bet that a majority don't even know their names. Ask me. Jim, Jimmy, and PJ live to the left of us, Judy lives to the right of us, and Pam, Becky, and David live across from us. They have all been there as long as or longer than I have. That's what I love most about Amado, everyone knows everyone else.

About a block away from where I live there is Sopori Elementary School. I attended Sopori from kindergarten to fifth grade, and those were some of the best years of my childhood. I never had to ride a bus, and I was able to walk with my best friend every day. My classes were always so small, so in return, I am still friends with some of the kids from 1st grade. Most of my teachers there still remember who I was, and my first-grade teacher even attended my high school graduation. Not many people can honestly say that they still talk to their elementary educators, but if you grew up in Amado, you do!

One of the best memories I have of Amado is getting all the kids in the neighborhood that we could find, and starting up a huge game of kickball in the street. For hours we'd all play until it got too dark to see. Then we'd all say goodbye and meet back again tomorrow for a rematch. No one ever had any enemies because everyone was friends.

Aside from the small neighborhood, the next best thing about Amado is how secluded it is. Most people would hate having to drive 45 minutes just to get into town, but living out here, it's just normal. There's never any traffic because there is nothing here, just wide-open spaces with beautiful deserts and gorgeous sunsets. If you ever do need any last-minute, little items, there is always the Amado Mini Market. It's like a tiny grocery store right at the bottom of the neighborhood. Before I was born, the parents owned it, and now they have passed it on to their children who now run it. They don't have much, but they have the essentials, bread, butter, eggs, milk, and of course, the best candy!

If you need more than the Mini Market to convince you, there's always the LongHorn Grill, and the Cow Palace, two locally owned and run restaurants. The Cow Palace has been around forever, serving genuine American food. They have your hamburger, fries, steaks, and anything else you could want. However, LongHorn is a kind of different story. While I was growing up, it was closed; abandoned. Nevertheless, just within the last 6 years, it's up and running again. The inside is re-done, and they have added on a new family dining room. Now it's a completely family-oriented place.

Therefore, I love Amado for all the simple things it has to offer. Living here helps me to remember the simple things in life, and why they are so important, small schools, close-knit friends and neighbors, and the wide-open deserts that Arizona is known for. Living here has definitely taught me to appreciate the small things, and to not get so wrapped up in the big city life.