Whenever I have a conversation with someone I've just met, they invariably ask me about my place of origin (as the lady who lives directly above me did today). I usually either tell people I'm from the Central Valley or from the Fresno area. They often times tell me that it's a nice place and seem taken aback when I inform them that it isn't (for those of you who also hail from the Valley and wish to argue this point, I would remind you that the Valley is hot, barren, and smells like cow). I once heard a phrase that I like to use when speaking about the Valley: it's a nice place to be from. I am proud of the fact that I come from the place that essentially feeds the world, or at least a large part of it. But I can be just as proud by living in the state that essentially feeds the world while avoiding the heat and the cows.