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Facing Arizona: Living in Flagstaff has opened my eyes to different cultures

(Thomas Yoxall / Sure Shot Photography)

Editor’s note: Facing Arizona is a series that will appear on and social media  — follow KTAR News on Instagram and Facebook for updates — highlighting unique and everyday people across our state and give you a glimpse into their lives.

My name is Jamie Lee and I am an early childhood education specialist in Flagstaff, Arizona.

I am originally from Ohio. I started out in Peebles and then moved to Fostoria, both of which are tiny towns where everyone knows everybody.

Then I relocated to Flagstaff, where I do not even know my neighbors, let alone the people down the street or across town. It has been a culture shock, to say the least.

My graduating class was 23; here, there are graduating classes of hundreds. My class was close-knit — we knew each other, we were good friends. We knew each other’s problems, and what we were going through, so we had empathy for each other.

My oldest niece attends high school here in Flagstaff, and she doesn’t even know some of the people in her class.

I would say that I miss that sense of community the most. To me, Flagstaff is enormous; comparatively though, people who live in Flagstaff feel it’s a small town.

I do enjoy the diversity that Flagstaff offers; for me, there has been a tremendous amount to experience. The different cultures, races, points of views, things I wouldn’t have the opportunity to discover in a small, Midwest town of 12,000. Here, different mindsets and philosophies coexist without mass hysteria, which I feel is beautiful. I look at Flagstaff as a vast melting pot.

I know in the next five years I’ll move back home. I would enjoy sharing my experiences with everyone, the emotions and that acceptance that I have enjoyed living here in Flagstaff. Most people back home would never have the opportunity to experience that, so If I could share that with them, I would be happy. — Jamie Lee 

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