I come from the small town of Sycamore, Illinois. It’s about an hour and a half west of Chicago, and about 5 minutes from farmland in any given direction. As you pull into the city limits, a sign reads “Sycamore: Where Life Offers More.”

Of course, we have some of the problems of many small towns: there’s hardly anything to do, everyone seems to know everyone, and racial diversity is basically nonexistent. I’m incredibly glad I’m able to go to college and have a new experience.

However, I also feel lucky to go back to Sycamore for every holiday. It’s people there that have helped me get as far as I have.

Coming up soon, I’m flying home for the weekend of “Pumpkin Fest,” a tradition involving pumpkin decorating and baking contests, a carnival, and a parade. Every year on the last Sunday of October, we invite almost one hundred people to our house for food, company, and parade watching. All of the people (and dogs) I love will be there.

For the week leading up to this, downtown Sycamore will be transformed with pumpkin emblazoned flags, lights, decorations in all the shop windows, and the delicious smells from the bakery. All of the many trees will have brightly colored leaves, which will fall to the ground creating a brilliant natural carpet.

This is just one of the things Sycamore offers. Even when it’s not Pumpkin Fest, the cute shops downtown and the kind people on the street make any day better. And don’t get me started on the confectionary.

Sycamore has provided me with a strong foundation for life. I hope to travel and explore the vast world, but I know I will always have a home where “life offers more.”