I genuinely like the people in Arizona- friendly bunch. But one thing that has always made me laugh is people's perceptions of "far". I've heard (from people who live in Mesa), "We're moving to Gilbert to be closer to family." Really? Wow. How close do you need to be. When my parents lived in Mesa, and Mark and I were in Tempe people would say, "Oh too bad you don't live closer." I thought it was an appropriate amount of distance. (So you should hear the sighs I get when people find out my parents are in Texas now.) Last night at Mark's work holiday party I sat across from a lady who has serious roots in Arizona. Generations of people live here. And when I asked her, "Did your kids all marry people from here as well?" She said, "No. One is from Glendale." Oh yeah, he might as well be from another country.
But one good thing about people's serious commitment to living with three square miles of their family, is that they feel bad for you when they hear you don't have a lot of extended family in the area. I get invited to multiple family celebrations each holiday, even by strangers sometimes.