There is something about the mountains that makes me feel safe. They are the picture frame that surrounds that perfect blue as well as the huge thunderheads that grace the skies. The canvas plays host to surreal painted sunsets, filled with every color from chartreuse to soft pink rose to the deep, almost black, indigo of night.

I moved to this city when I was four years old. I came from the green of Colorado to a desert that was very alien to me. The first thing I noticed was the weather. At first, I found the temperatures, even in winter, to be on the more uncomfortable side of hot. However, after a few years went by I could hardly dream of, or want, a summer that did not reach at least 105 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tucson was the stage on which I grew up. It is a part of my character, heart, and soul. When I was young, summer was the time to play in the streets and explore the desert that surrounded my house. My friends and I would climb in a Palo Verde tree. It was our natural fort. Even in the heat of the day, we would play in this green tree. Here we felt as if we ruled the world, or at least part of it. Our small kingdom was in calling distance of my parents. If any threatening animals approached, mostly ground squirrels and the occasional house cat, we were safe while still having an adventure in the wild of the desert.

I always felt safe in my city. Tucson is a big city with a small town feel. There is a security that comes with the absence of highway travel to get to your destination. I like to think that Tucson is not just the sum of its parts, a city in a state. Tucson is a good place to grow up, raise a family, and grow old. To the untrained eye, my city may seem unvaried, but this city is a place filled with new experiences and an introduction into a new way of life.

My city plays host to a wonderful culture. The native Indian tribes and Hispanic immigrants have given Tucson a one of a kind flavor. One can hardly go anywhere in the city without noticing their influence. Whether it is a roadside vender selling red chili wreaths or Native American blankets, or the many ethnic restaurants that offer a taste of these precious cultures.

When I was young, I could only think of the day when I would leave Tucson. However, Tucson has made me the person that I am. Had I grown up in another city, even one in Arizona, I would be a different person. Tucson is in my blood. I can hardly imagine ever leaving. This is the place I will always call home no matter where I live. My heart and soul belong here. Tucson is everything I would want in a place to live. This is why Tucson in my home.