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Thank you, Turlock
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When I walked into the offices of the Turlock Journal I was expecting a hectic newsroom with people yelling across the office, papers flying, phone cords wrapping around computers as some frantic writer tries to write down notes from a phone interview that took six weeks to get. Much to my surprise, I was greeted with a friendly face, a quaint office and warm smiles from each one of my co workers. Honestly, it felt like home. Sure, it was a home I’ve only lived in for two days but sometimes things just feel right.

 But before I go on an intrinsic rant on how cozy the Center Street office is or how it’s an honor to be working here, I’d like to introduce myself to those who will hopefully be reading my  work in the near future to come.

 So, to my fellow Turlockers, (I was told I can’t use Turlockian) my name is Jaydeep Bhatia and I am the newest reporter here at your beloved Turlock Journal. Although I’d like to say I’m a homegrown product, I’m not. I was born in the town of Martinez in the Bay Area.

From there, my family moved to Pittsburg, where I spent 12 years of my life. At the age of 12, my family purchased a gas station on Lander Avenue in a small unheard town of Turlock and we made the decision to pack our bags and come on over.

I still remember the powerful sights and especially powerful scents (we did not have very many dairies in Pittsburg) of this small Valley town. Coming from the Bay, it was a bit of culture shock, to say the least. Pittsburg was an urban industrial city where the only almonds I saw were in the aisles of the local supermarket. I would have never imagined that one day I’d be driving right through where those exact almonds came from.

When I moved to Turlock, there really wasn’t much. Literally. The location of my current home was a squared off dirt plot.

But as I grew up, so did the town. Giant dirt development sites became thriving neighborhoods, Monte Vista Crossings became the east side hang out spot, but most importantly, I became who I am today.

People say that growing up in a city shapes you. But in many of those sorts of relationships, only one character remains dynamic. For me however, both I and the city of Turlock grew up at the same time.

Sure, I was not born here, nor do I have a long lineage of Turlockers in my family, but I can say that I am a true product of this town. The product of an excellent education system, a caring community and a sort of benevolence that is hard to find in other places.

So, for those friends, teachers and community members who have helped me go from a chubby 12 year old who couldn’t believe that tractors were allowed to drive on roads, to a community and agriculture reporter at a professional newspaper, I just want to say thank you. Now, it’s my turn to return the favor.