Which is where I grew up
It's a pretty awesome state, and they definitely know how to do summer right. (I never appreciated that much until I moved to Virginia, land of no swimming pools.)
I was born in Phoenix, then lived in Tempe until I was about 7, and finally, I lived in Mesa until 2008, which is when we moved to Virginia.
THINGS THAT ARE AWESOME ABOUT ARIZONA:
You can do anything in a couple of hours. No seriously. Want to go skiing? Head to Flagstaff. Need some good vanilla? No problem! Mexico's only 3 hours away. If you leave at breakfast, you can be at the beach (aka California) by lunch. Arizona also has great hiking trails and the most gorgeous sunsets ever.
Gardening in Arizona is awesome. You can grow anything, virtually all year round. I never paid for an orange in my life until I left Arizona. Citrus groves are everywhere, and in the summer, it's cornfields and monsoons. In Arizona, my garden included apple trees, peach trees, almond trees, citrus trees, broccoli, lettuce, corn, tomatoes, watermelon, onions, cucumbers, squash, herbs, grapes, and whatever else struck my fancy. Pop a seed in the ground, BOOM. You have lunch.
The Mountains in Arizona rock. Rock climbing, rappelling, spelunking, cave diving... it's all there. I'm sure there are cool places like that around here, but we haven't found any yet.
Family. The majority of our family (both sides!) lives in Arizona. There are cousins upon cousins, and so many birthday parties it'll make your head spin. Of course, living near your family can also drive you crazy, but they're your family, so you just deal with it anyways. Luckily, there's this thing called the internet, so I get to check up on people via blogs and instagram. (Dear family, please join Instagram, just for me)
Food. Remember how Mexico is *right there*? Mexican food in Arizona is the bomb. Need a taco at 3 am? No problemo, something will be open. (And taco bell does not count) Plus, there's always a new neighborhood Mexican dive opening up, so you get to try lots of great food for just a couple of bucks. Also, I miss buying fresh tortilla's from my neighbors and the tamale man in the Walmart parking lot. Those tamales are LEGIT.
And also Drinks. Did you know that there are gas stations that do not have fountain drinks? I didn't. Not until 2008, when I moved to Virginia. Also: not all restaurants carry all the drink products, and McDonald's drinks were never more than $1. UNTIL I MOVED HERE. I remember the first time I went through the drive thru to get a drink (because there were no gas stations, and I was still desperately searching for a FOUNTAIN drink... cans and bottled pop do not taste the same) and the wanted almost THREE DOLLARS for a stupid drink! It's now a non-issue of course, because I don't drink soda anymore, but seriously, Arizona has got the fountain drink market covered.
POOLS and water related activities in Arizona are the best. Even the "lame" pools are better than the best pools out here. Every neighborhood has a splash pad, and you can go swimming almost year round. I haven't been to a pool once this summer... because there ISN'T ONE TO GO TO. (Oh, I'm sorry, there is one I could go to, but it's tiny, and costs a ridiculous amount of money.) Arizona has definitely made me a pool snob. I'm also pretty sure that Taylor doesn't even know how to properly swim, and she's SIX... and a HALF. I'm so embarrassed.
The other thing that AZ is good at is the roads. They have beautiful freeways and roads and it's laid out so nicely. It's practically impossible to get lost! But the freeways, they're so nice and WIDE and even the worst traffic isn't all that bad. (Try being stuck on the DC beltloop for a couple of hours with children. OY VEY)
I'm sure there are plenty of other things I'm forgetting, but this will have to suffice for now. Seriously though, Arizona is awesome.
P.S. I can also properly pronounce the following words: tortilla, quesadilla, saguaro, tomatillo, chollo, ocotillo, gila, Phoenician, javelina, yucca, mesquite, mongollon, San Xavier, Tlaquepaque, and etc.