Why I like my hometown more than any other place

Abraham Villarreal
4 min readJun 5
Where you grow up changes in many ways over time, but in some ways it’s always the same.

People like to ask me why I moved back to my hometown. Sometimes I feel bothered when this happens because it’s one of those questions that comes with a suggestion. Sometimes it comes with an answer in a tone of voice or an extra emphasis on the words “why” and “back.”

Most other places have other things that my hometown doesn’t. Bigger stores. Restaurants that dish out more than Mexican food. Choices of where to shop. People that look different than each other. They speak differently from each other.

I like all those things, but I like my hometown better. I was in Austin this week scooting around the city. There’s a lot of walking to do, but getting on those scooters is a bit more thrilling, and you can see more in a place where there is a lot to see.

Buildings that touch the sky. Eateries of all kinds with food that you can’t pronounce. Music coming from every corner. People in suits and people in sandals. There is some of everything in Austin.

I like all of it, but I like my hometown more. When I was growing up in the small town of Douglas, Arizona, the town seemed bigger. The streets longer. It took a while to get to downtown if you were walking, and along the way were familiar faces. You could stop by the arcade store and the card shop. There weren’t too many surprises.

Now, in my forties, the town is different in some ways but not in other ways because no matter how much the winds of change can blow in all directions, some things never change.

Like how older people call you “mijo” in a style that makes it sound like they are related to you and care about you even if you don’t know them. That happens in my hometown. Or the way people drive slowly no matter the speed limit and almost come to a stop when turning a corner. There isn’t much to see, but what there is to see can’t be missed. That happens in my hometown.

In my hometown, you always know when something out of the ordinary is happening and something out of the ordinary recently happened. In a place we hometowners have always cared for called Church Square, two of the four historic churches, standing together for over a century on a single block, burned down on the same day. It was an act of arson.

Abraham Villarreal

People are interesting things. I write about them and what makes them interesting.