I moved from Gig Harbor to Tacoma in order to attend Pacific Lutheran University, and it was a big change. The bigger change, however, was the loss of community I experienced.
A trip to the grocery store in Gig Harbor usually involved running into at least once friend or neighbor; in Tacoma, the only constant at the store is a security guard at the entrance.
For some, Gig Harbor’s small size is a reason to leave, but to me, it’s a reason to stay. I miss the involvement in community events that everyone attends and talks about the week afterward.
Most of all, I miss the people. Despite social, racial or economic differences, everyone gets along. That friendly spirit is lost in big towns.
In Tacoma, there is a sense of keeping to oneself. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule, but the warmth and friendliness of Gig Harbor is hard to find elsewhere.
When I come home to visit, people still know my name, even though I have been away for more than a year. Next year I will be studying abroad in Trinidad, and I hope I am able to bring the harbor’s welcoming spirit to the Caribbean island.
Being a Gig Harbor resident away from home means caring for others, helping out and trying to make a difference. It means spreading the small-town spirit and encouraging a sense of togetherness. The feeling of community is what keeps me coming back, no matter how far I travel.