Why November Is (Almost) The Best Month Of The Year

It's Finally November, And I Couldn't Be Happier

There's no time of year better than November...except December.

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Leaves are turning vibrant shades of yellow, orange, red, and brown, pumpkins being deconstructed for pies and treats, crisp air at high school/college football games, friends and family gathering at home to celebrate life… all scenes that are second nature to any New Englander. Well, maybe you do not need to be from these select states to experience the beauty of autumn. Although the scenery is just not the same as a Connecticut fall, Maryland's orange leaves peeked through at the start of November and pleasantly surprised me. Fall is a beautiful month - the change of seasons and natural beauty blossoming in nature is like nothing else - but, that is not what attracts me to this time of year. I am not really a fan of "spooky szn" (or anything Halloween, for that matter), gloomier nights, or even the month of October in its entirety. I have found I have a love for the fall season… after October. I have realized that just means I am in love with the holidays - the day after Halloween marks the first day of the holiday season. So, I guess what I am trying to say here is that I LOVE the holidays… and November marks the beginning of the best time of year.

The moment, and I mean moment Halloween ends and the month turns over to November, the countdown begins. It starts off slow and steady the first few weeks of the month - fall festivities are still completely embraced, and autumn is in full swing. Although in some places the leaves just begin to change color and make way for cold weather, the season is in its prime. Then, almost magically, a few weeks into the month as Thanksgiving approaches, it officially becomes the holiday season. And the moment Thanksgiving is over, Elf is put on, and you prepare to hop into the car at 2 am to pick up your best friends and get your holiday shopping on for Black Friday. Pumpkin spice lattes turn into ingredients bought for pumpkin pie, the holiday ads takeover, the local mall is decorated with a big red bow, people coming home one by one, Christmas classics are pulled out to be watched after Thanksgiving dinner - this whole fall aesthetic flips and the nation prepares to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

As a college Freshman, I will be coming home for the holidays for the first time ever. It becomes an occasion to go home and see friends and family. Once midterms are over and Halloween has been celebrated (multiple nights in a row), November begins and you feel at ease. These first few weeks are holding on to the best parts of fall, and after going home to celebrate this holiday kickoff, the next few weeks are full of Christmas cheer that gets you through the rest of the semester and through finals. Everything, although so overwhelming, becomes a little more bearable.

The best of a New England autumn and an extended holiday season - what's not to like? It's the best of both worlds for a girl who could take or leave Halloween but counts down to the holidays. And whether you love Christmas as much as I do or not, a feeling of togetherness and community graces the month, and the world gets a little happier. We should be grateful we live in a world with Novembers.

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To My Parents, On Their 21st Anniversary

Your incredible relationship doesn't go unnoticed.

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Last weekend, I was hanging out with my family and we began sharing stories about how my grandparents, parents, and aunts and uncles met. Each story had its own special charm, from my parents being the classic high school sweethearts, to my aunt and uncle spotting each other from across a bar and knowing it was going to be something special, to my grandma boldly asking my grandpa to dance. Even though I wasn't there to witness the beginnings of these relationships, I am lucky enough to be able to see the bond between my parents firsthand every day and have learned so much about love and strength from them.

The relationship that my parents have built is so much more than just that of husband and wife. They are also best friends with countless inside jokes, dance partners with the kitchen as their dance floor, travel companions, and the most incredible parents that I could ever ask for. I'm sure that when they started dating in high school all those years ago, my parents couldn't have imagined all the things that they would go through on their journey together, but I'm also sure that they wouldn't trade that journey for the world.

In the 21 years my parents have been married, it's no secret that they've gone through their share of ups, downs, disagreements, and controversy. Some days they are slamming doors, other days they are laughing with each other to the point of tears, and sometimes these things happen within 30 minutes of one another. Although their relationship, like any other relationship, will never be perfect, the way that they come together to support and love one another despite their occasional battles is executed nearly flawlessly.

My parents make little decisions together every day about what show to watch or who's driving my brother to practice, and they've also conquered big decisions together, like figuring out the best way of telling their three young children that their dad had been diagnosed with cancer. Between the difficult task of raising three kids, taking care of one another in their sickest and most vulnerable moments, and working through the day-to-day disagreements, I've been shown that hard times truly can make a relationship stronger, and that even on the worst days, the love that they have for each other can still shine through.

Every love story is special, but in my biased opinion, I am sure that the story that my parents have begun to write and continue to craft together is one of the best. The way that they care about one another so effortlessly doesn't go unnoticed. In a world of divorce and failed relationships, it's definitely a blessing that my siblings and I are given such a great example of how passionate, silly, and meaningful a marriage can and should be. I am so lucky to be able to strive to model my own future relationship after that of my mom and dad, who have emulated their vows of marriage in every way possible.

So, here's to 21 years of marriage, of loud, pointless arguments that usually end in hysterical laughter, of painfully awful singing duets in the car, of getting through the good days and the bad, of building an unbreakable family, of lifelong commitment, and to being two amazing individuals who are even better together.

Mom & Dad,

I love you and happy anniversary!

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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