An open letter to the place I call home on the 20th anniversary of living here.
For 20 years, you welcomed me into your arms. When we first met, I was three weeks old. I don't remember my first impression of you, but it must have been pretty good if I'm still here today. My first memory I have of you was when my mom pulled out of our driveway and I said exclaimed "I wish we lived in Connecticut!" unaware that my hometown, Madison, was in fact in Connecticut. I was never really great of geography, but your teachers taught me it's okay to not be good at everything, that is impossible to be good at everything.
For 20 years, I've explored your lands. For such a small state, every town is different, yet, every town feels like home. At Christmas, the towns' streets, filled with lights and decorations, filled me with a joy I could never explain. I would beam with happiness as we drove through these streets. During the fall, your trees become like a Picasso painting, where every leaf, ranging from a dark green to a golden orange, come together to reveal a beautiful masterpiece. And in the summer, we would swim in the Sound, and play in your sand. Your beauty stems from every inch of the state. From the calm, peaceful Long Island Sound, to ski mountains. From the state forests, to the state lakes, there's endless opportunity and endless beauty to be discovered. Your beauty is so special.
For 20 years, you have shown me what it meant to be a community. We gather together to celebrate victories and mourn tragedies. When Sandy Hook occurred, it shook up everyone. We felt for the families' and teachers pain. When UConn's men's and women's basketball teams won both their championships in 2014, from all over the country Connecticut natives screamed for joy. We feel a sense of pride when we say were from Connecticut because we understand that it is rare a whole state rallies behind each other in hardships and good times. We all support each other, regardless of opinions. It's special when a group of strangers can be each others' hype men.
For 20 years, every time we went on vacation, I was always somewhat relieved when I saw a "Welcome to Connecticut" sign, or when the plane landed and the pilot welcomed us to Bradley International Airport. We loved going away, but we were always so ready to be back home in Connecticut.
For (almost) 20 years I called your public school system my home. Your schools provided me with more than just a general education on math and English, but cultivated a thriving citizen who was ready to tackle whatever life threw at her. The teachers she had cared more about a student's well-being than teaching to a test. They encouraged their students to participate in classes and didn't judge if you got the answer wrong. Instead, they learned from the students what they needed to change in the way they teach than force kids to learn a specific way. I came back to Connecticut after spending 2 years at a private college in Massachusetts, not just because I missed being in the home I grew up in, but because I regard the entirety of Connecticut my home. When I was at school in Massachusetts, I met dozens of kids from Connecticut (it was a small school). We had this special bond that kids from Massachusetts and other states didn't have. We would joke about things going on in our state, because it felt good to talk to people who understood what goes on in a small state. We would talk about our "slang" (if there really is slang) and smile when people didn't know what a package store was, or what it meant to go to a tag sale. We got excited when someone had a (203) or (860) area code. These little things are what made our bond special.
For 20 years, I called you my home. Maybe I will live here for another 20, maybe I won't. I need to see where life takes me. But, no matter what happens, you will forever be my home. Thank you, Connecticut.
A Nutmegger (though no one in CT actually calls themselves this)