Aside from the flashing casino rainbow lights that never sleep, the famous 1950 iconic “Welcome to Las Vegas” neon diamond billboard sign located at the south side of Las Vegas Boulevard that lights up as soon as the sun comes down and the moon comes up, the gambling machines that never stop clinging, the eight acre dancing synchronize music water fountains at the Bellagio, or perhaps the most heard slogan “What Happens In Vegas Stays In Vegas.” But through my eyes, I don’t see this typical touristy town that everyone else does; instead what I see is the atypical street that I grew up in.
Hayes Place has existed since the mid 1950’s. It is in a very centric part of town and in the middle of two major crossing intersections—Decatur and Charleston that are filled with pedestrians and honking cars every morning, afternoon, and evening that can always be heard from inside your home. Hayes is surrounded by twenty single-story homes that are either owned or rented out to families of three, four, five, six, seven, or even as high as eight family members, filled with increasingly large green trees that provide all the needed shade during the unbearable 100 degree weather, the messy front yards filled with scattered scooters, bikes, bouncy balls, and dolls. Or the sound of whispers, laughter, loud cries, yelling, singing voices streaming through the long grey vertical sidewalks. Every house on the block has a diverse ethnic background ranging from middle class Hispanics, Caucasians, African Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians displaying their countries’ pride through the Mexican, Cuban, Salvadorian, Colombian, Nigerian, United States, Filipino, and Chinese flags on the right side of their front patios.
Leaving Hayes for the first time in twenty-one years to go abroad to a foreign country made me feel anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t help myself to feel nervous when it came to where I would live for the next ten weeks. Deep down inside I was hoping that my new home would be similar to my childhood street. Luckily, I was surprised to find the similarities between Via Lorenzo de Viterbo and Hayes.
Via Lorenzo is a quiet residential neighborhood surrounded by apartments, houses, and small large businesses located outside the city walls. From the outside, the street is covered with shady green trees, concrete sidewalks, cobble stone roads, and a small park where children, dogs, and parents all gather. The air is filled with cries, screams, joy, barks, screeching mopeds, friendly waves, and smiling Ciao’s. Every day I look out my window and hear these surrounding noises, I am reminded of two important things. One of them is that there is a piece of Hayes in every corner of Via Lorenzo and the other is that Hayes represents who I am and family. Whereas, my new home in Via Lorenzo symbolizes risk and adventure.
*Il mio nome è Selyna Bermudez. Sono una studentessa dell’Università del Nevada, Las Vegas. Il mio indirizzo è il giornalismo con studi sui media e sui servizi umani. Questa estate sto studiando in Italia a Viterbo con USAC. Ho scelto una piccola città, per vivere la tranquillità e le bellezze che offre. Essere una parte di essa mi permetterà di esplorare la mia scrittura e dare voce a ciò che vedo. Sono felice di iniziare questo viaggio straordinario di scrittura!