In a town far, far away tucked into the mountains and carved into a valley lies a town called Walla Walla. It’s a place so nice they named it twice. Here you will find many people stomping on grapes and an abundance of smiles. The town is known for it’s friendliness, wine, and onions. I know the town for the way it completely changed my life.
So the story begins, I had moved from one small town to the next over my 18 years but when we stopped in Walla Walla something gave and we settled down. I came from a previous small town where there wasn’t much to do besides talk and making friends was based on your bad decisions. This place was dreary, a three-minute drive and you had gone completely through the town. College was never talked about or even considered an option but I had dreams that my parents could not fathom. So we set our sights to town with more opportunity.
Although we couldn’t afford much Walla Walla became our home. I enter the Walla Walla High School as a freshman and my life did a 360. I formed bonds with my teachers like I had never imagined, my support system grew by 110 percent. Along with that I was exposed to college prep classes and in them my friends actually had initiative which inspired me to excel. I got involved in my grades and made life long friends that have given me some of the best guidance I never thought I needed. Going to the high school alone changed my dream of going to college into a realistic goal.
Outside of school my life was blossoming. I began doing things I had never done before. My friends took me out constantly to go hiking or swimming in the rivers. They broke me out of my shell and showed me true friendship. If I was upset or having troubles they were always there to talk it out and support me. This really helped me begin to truly find myself. During this time, I also started working and I’ve had two great jobs here, a barista at a local coffee place and a candy girl at our trade mark candy store called Bright’s. I have worked all four years of my high school career and I wouldn’t change a thing. Through my working experience I learned responsibility, how to balance a busy schedule and the pay off of hard work. Working where I have has been an incredible experience because everyone sees the importance of shining positivity onto each other in these environments. Walla Walla is really just a big support system, no matter where you go someone is always willing to help.
My parents’ life’s also had dramatic changes. My mom moved into a higher position at work and my stepdad completed schooling and got a job at our local St. Mary’s hospital. Our income dramatically went up and noticeably lessened some stress on my parents which really made life at home a lot better. I also have two siblings but they are so young (5 & 7 years old) they weren’t affected much by this process besides the fact that their room doubled in size.
Meanwhile, I had fallen in love with Walla Walla because it had brought so many great things and opportunities into my life. Still the best hadn’t happened yet, I also met my best friend. His name is Mitchell and he changed my life forever. Coincidentally he is also now my boyfriend of 3 years. Mitch was my one true friend from the start. He showed me the ropes and made all of his friend’s mine. He also had a mind unlike mine at that time, he believed any dream was possible and that fear was a choice. This began to rub off on me and completely changed the way I approached my goals and challenges. He also saw the absolute best in me and up until that point I never felt like anyone else really had. Mitch inspired me to only go up and to never look back.
I wouldn’t trade my experience of living in a small town for anything because without it I know I wouldn’t be as confident, strong and purely happy as I am. My town made me into someone I love and has brought some of the most special people and lessons into my life. Walla Walla swallowed me up and showed me the things I needed. I have been loved, let down, surprised, embarrassed, pushed to my limits and completely mind blown in my short four years here. It isn’t just my home but where I became “me”. I will never stop coming back for visits and I will never stop cherishing the moments I was given. I will constantly love Walla Walla, Washington.