This My Tucson, and I Love It


Francisco Acuna

I like to think that I am the poster-child for what the modern day south-western boy is. Tan skin all year round, bilingual, and of
direct Mexican descent. I remember waking up early in the morning as a kid to go on hikes, and being bored as my parents were awed by the beautiful sunrises that I wasn’t old enough to appreciate yet. I am a Tucsonan, born and raised in the Old Pueblo.

Along with the delightful bilingual-ness and dual heritage that this city takes pride in due to it’s colonial beginnings as a colony of Spain then as a state of Mexico, the multi-cultural ways of Tucson don’t stop there…in Tucson it is extremely common to find streets, buildings, and even signs at the grocery store in both English and Spanish. 
In Tucson we boast one of the most, and in my opinion the best, Day of The Dead festivities in the country (and I’ve been to the ones in East Los Angeles). It’s not only in this four-day weekend that one can take note of the Mexican traditions for mourning death. All year long, offerings on street corners can be found in Tucson for those who have passed in open spaces.

Each time I’ve been away from Tucson I always deeply miss the gorgeous jaw-dropping sunsets. Some of my favorite places to sit and think are San Xavier’s courtyard, my roof in the late evening, and A mountain. Though I’m not really a religious person, each time I visit San Xavier, nostalgic memories of my childhood come to mind as I admire the Moorish-arches and contrast of the pure white building against the desert landscape. I remember begging my parents to buy me fry bread with sugar and syrup, but they would always say, “No eating sweets until you’ve eaten a savory breakfast.” The candles my grandmother would light for prayer-intentions come to mind. Simply being at San Xavier makes me appreciate the life I have lived in Tucson with my loved ones.

If the beautiful architecture, and culture of Tucson isn’t enough for you, try the many cuisines we have to offer. From the traditional south-western cuisine known for foods like stuffed bell peppers, rolled tacos, and fry-bread to the multiple regional cuisines of Mexico well-represented here in Tucson (especially the Sonoran cu , to the great street food. There is definitely something for every food lover here.

Last, but certainly not least, Tucson is a great place to live if you wish to explore our southern neighbor country. In only an hour and a half by car I can be in the state of Sonora, Mexico. In only a 45- minute flight I’m in Hermosillo, the capital of Sonora.

With beautiful beaches so close to Tucson in Sonora and California, the heat is hardly an issue. At least we don’t suffer the horrible winters of our cousins on the east coast. You don’t necessarily even need to leave Tucson to escape the heat, just take a weekend camping trip to Mount Lemmon! Though Tucson has been stereotyped as nothing but desert and heat you can still experience the snow without having to endure the painfully long winters. All you have to do is take a short drive to Mount Lemmon. It’s a common family activity on weekends for Tucsonans during the winter or as a summer respite from the torrid weather.

Last but not least, this is my Tucson. The city of my childhood. There’s not a single part of Tucson that I can drive through without some sort of memory coming to my mind. I love Tucson. I know that for my future it is necessary to move on to a more metropolitan city, but Tucson will always be here for me to return to. Many young people say they hate living in Tucson, but to those who say “there’s not enough to do here other than go to the mall.”

I reply,”Then in that case you don’t really live in Tucson. You live in east side.” This is my Tucson and I love it.