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What makes Greater Phoenix so great: Oscar Hernandez Ortiz

How old are you? 

24 

How long have you lived in Greater Phoenix? 

15 years

What city do you currently reside in? 

Phoenix 

Did you grow up in Arizona? 

Yes 

Why did you decide to stay in here? 

I became an American here. This is my home and this is where I envision continuing my career and building a family. 

Where are you originally from and why’d you decide to move to Arizona? 

I was raised in Chiapas, Mexico. I grew up close to my grandparents and other relatives while my parents were trying to achieve their goals in the capital of Mexico. Once my parents were better prepared to unite our family, I moved to Mexico City with them when I was around six. This was a huge change for me because in Chiapas, I was accustomed to living close to the ocean, spending time with my grandfather at his ranch and getting groceries with my grandmother at the local outdoor markets.  

When I was nine, my parents sold all their belongings, traveled back to Chiapas to say our final goodbyes and made our way to the United States. Once we arrived in Arizona, I fell in love with the landscape. I had never lived in a desert before so a lot of things were new to me. Once my family began settling in Phoenix, reality as an immigrant in this country started to become clear. Nonetheless, we unapologetically made this city, state and country our new home. In school when I learned about the myth of the phoenix (bird), I thought it was such a fitting name for a city like ours. A city full of people with stories such as the one of my family making the most of our circumstances. 

If you graduated from college, where did you attend and what was your degree? 

I graduated from Arizona State University with my degree in public policy and a minor in justice studies. I recently completed my master’s in education from ASU. 

Where do you currently work and what is your title? 

I am currently a business development intern at GPECPrevious to my current role, I was an elementary educator with Teach for America. 

What do you like to do in Greater Phoenix on the weekends? 

One of my favorite activities in Phoenix is exploring the outdoors. In Phoenix, there are many great places to go hiking. I also really enjoy finding new restaurants, bars and coffee shops. These places become spots to take my friends, or bring my laptop and get some work done. Otherwise, I like to meet up with friends at a park and play soccer. 

What’s your favorite restaurant and why? 

El Charro Hipster Bar and Cafe has quickly become one of my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat and try new drinks. The restaurant is run by an immigrant family that is really sweet and always makes you feel comfortable. The restaurant has a unique aesthetic and is near many other shops to walk around afterwards. 

What’s your go-to staycation spot and why? 

I enjoy looking at Airbnbs around Phoenix. I get to experience living in a different neighborhood than mine. I typically end up finding local places I never knew existed. 

How do you stay “cool” in the Arizona summers? 

My favorite way to stay cool in Arizona is heading to the Slide Rock State Park in Sedona. The water is always cold and the red walls of Sedona make it even more of an exceptional experience. If I need something more relaxing, I like to go Salt River tubing with my friends. The flow of the river is just perfect, and on a lucky day, you get to see wild horses. However, if I want to stay in the city I end up doing a pool party with my family. 

What do you like about our winters and why? 

My favorite winter activity is to head to Flagstaff to go see snow at the Snowbowl or at Flagstaff Snow Park. These places are perfect for sledding or to have snowball battles with your friends. There are many options around Greater Phoenix too. I like going to Glendale Glitters for the decorations and festivities. Downtown Mesa is great for some ice skating, and to check out local restaurants and bars. 

What do you love most about living in Greater Phoenix? 

I love that this is a spot where opportunities continue to be created and people can make a name for themselves in whichever field or talent they have. People are realizing the potential of our community and valuing the gems here. Geographically, we are also in a great spot to travel to neighboring states and Mexico. 

Please include anything else you’d like to share about what makes Greater Phoenix so great. 

People with passion thrive in Greater Phoenix. If you are person that has a vision and wants to make a difference, Greater Phoenix is a perfect place to act on that vision and to leave a legacy.  

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