by jahairy v., Age 15 , Grade 10, Thomas Jefferson High school
Imagine having to throw your life away and start a new one without warning. I was living in California, I always had this image where after middle school I would go to the highschool both my sisters went to. I was in this leadership class when I was in the 8th grade, I was running for president because it was something I’ve been wanting to do since the day I first applied to be in that class. One day my teacher, Ms. Davis-fox, finally gave me the news, she wanted me to be the class president. I was filled with so much joy and excitement that as she was speaking, everything felt like it was going in slow motion. I was so incredibly proud of myself and I couldn’t wait to get home to tell my sister Ely plus my brother Angel, but then call my other sister to tell her the news too. My sister Angie lived in Texas, so only one of my sisters including my brother lived in California with me.
When we were dismissed, I rushed home. When I walked inside my house I noticed there were tons of boxes everywhere , I just figured my mom was going to put more stuff into storage, so I ignored it and ran into her room. I told her the news, but I didn’t get the reaction I expected. While I was telling her the news she had this look on her face like she wanted to interrupt or something, but she seemed hesitant. When I finished telling her I just stood there waiting for a response. It felt like I had been standing there for hours, but it was only a couple seconds. When she finally spoke, that was when I felt like my heart was being torn out my chest. She said we were moving, and not somewhere close, but to Iowa. What even is Iowa compared to California. I was so incredibly confused that I even looked around hoping this was some sort of joke, but as I looked around I saw some of her stuff packed in boxes. It was all so sudden, I felt nauseous and I felt like I was going to collapse. All I could do was wonder to myself, why out of the places in the world, all the places in California, why on earth were we moving to Iowa.
I didn’t say anything , I was speechless and I remember running into my sisters room. At the time she was feeding my niece , Leylani, she stopped and just looked at me without saying a word. She knew, she was just as upset as I was. She didn’t know whether or not my mom was being serious. I asked her if she was coming to Iowa with us, but she quickly said that if we were actually going to move she wasn’t going anywhere. She said she would stay with her boyfriend and daughter in California. Which broke my heart because I already had one sister far away, and now her too? I didn’t want to be away from my niece either. I completely lost it and began to cry, I had a full fledged panic attack. In that moment I was filled with so much fury, a part of me wanted to yell, but I felt like I couldn’t speak, as if when my heart was ripped out, so were my vocal chords. It may sound overdramatic but It's a hard emotion to express. I was truly heartbroken. When I asked her for her perspective she always said to me she was angry with my mom because she was so close to finishing school, my mom wasn’t patient enough to wait. She had no time to make up her mind. She was just upset, which is a very obvious emotion due to the fact that we were moving.
The next day, I didn’t even want to break the news to my friends, especially my best friend. I knew that once I told them, it was really going to happen. I was really going to leave California, and move to Iowa for a “better life”. I didn’t want to talk to my mom when she dropped me off at school, but I couldn’t just ignore her and be rude so it was only small talk. I got to school with my eyes extremely red and puffy. All my friends had asked me if I was okay, I told them I was fine but in reality.. I was devastated. The first person I had the strength to tell was my leadership teacher, Ms. Davis-Fox. When I told her, I remember her giving me a hug, she told me I better make the best of the time I had left there, I had to be strong. I didn’t even need to tell anymore people, someone had overheard my conversation with Ms. Davis-Fox and the news spread all throughout my class. My best friend Yessenia walked up to me in tears and that's when she began counting down the days. We hung out almost every day, we tried to make the best of the time I had left.
I can't explain the feeling I had every night. It was like every night my thoughts would get louder and louder and it reminded me that I wouldn’t be as important to my friends in California anymore. I remember begging my mom to let me stay with my sister, but she always refused and said the same thing.
“There's not enough money for you to stay with her.”
She repeated that so much to me that it has been permanently implanted into my brain. It wasn’t fair. At the time I envied everyone who had the chance to finish school in California. I did get to spend more time with my friends before I left, but what hurt me was the fact that once I moved I wouldn’t talk to half of them anymore. There was one night, one of the most cliche nights of all. The night before I left, I was still rushing to finish my packing. My friend Isabel, one of my closests friends I’ve ever had, she wanted to say bye to me one last time. Around 9pm , she stopped by my house to give me a hug, as we hugged tears were rushing down my eyes like a waterfall. I noticed I wasn’t the only one sobbing, she was crying too. It started to rain, which made the both of us laugh because we felt like we were in some sort of movie. Her mom was looking at us like we were crazy, but we just ignored it. When she drove off, I had this heavy feeling in my chest because the next day, I wouldn’t be at school.. I’d be on a plane, on my way to Texas to be with my sister. It was hard for me to accept the fact that I was going to be moving somewhere far away. I refused to believe I was actually going to be gone, but when the day came, I was filled with sadness and anger.
April 9th, 2016 was the day I left California. I woke up that day and I cried as I said bye to my niece and my sister including my brother. My mom drove me to the airport and stayed with me until I got on my plane. My mom was staying in California for a while longer then she was going to leave and go to Iowa. She wanted to be settled in enough for us to go. She asked me how I was doing, I lied to her saying I was fine. She had this look on her face as if she knew I wasn't. When I gave her a hug and got onto my plane, my throat was aching because I wanted to cry. I didn't want to show her how much pain I was in by leaving. I was alone but there was a flight attendant watching me, I remember they asked me if I wanted anything to drink, I nodded my head simply because I felt like I couldn’t speak. When I felt the plane getting off the ground I remember completely losing it, It felt like I no longer had control over my body. The whole way there I didn’t speak to anyone, it all felt like a blur.
When I got to Texas I felt a bit better only because I knew I’d be seeing my sister. We hugged and she asked how I was, I lied and told her I was okay. I didn’t want her to feel that I didn’t want to be there with her. We got in the car and drove to her house. A part of me felt in some way relieved. I had a chance to start all over again, sure it was also something that was going to be tough but some people actually wish they had the chance to move and start over. I decided to focus on the pros than the cons. The cons were only making me feel even worse about the situation. Every single night I would lie awake and reminisce on all the time I had in California. I began to realize that I would be missing every single activity 8th graders had because they were going to go to highschool. I started to feel sad because of how much I was missing It's like everything I waited for, was being taken away from me.
I was in Texas for almost four months. My mom was already settled in enough, so on August 1st she came to Texas and then took me back with her to Iowa with her boyfriend. At the time my brother was in California with his dad because he wanted to spend more time with him before school was going to start. I remember feeling uneasy when we got to Iowa . Before getting to the house, we stopped by to see my cousins. I felt out of place because I had barely even talked to them online. The more time we spent there, the less anxious I was. They actually invited me over to the park with them the next day which made me feel a bit better.
When I finally made it home, I had this strong urge to cry because although I was living there, it didn’t feel like home to me. As soon as I walked in, I felt like a tourist visiting a complete new state. I wandered around then made my way up the stairs, I found my room. The first time I ever had my own room. I set my things down and was using my moms phone to facetime my Best friend. I tried to make it seem like I was having a good time just so I didn’t make her sad. Adjusting to a completely different place was extremely difficult. A part of me wanted to believe it was only temporary. That I’d be moving back in no time. I knew if I convinced myself to think that way, it would only hurt me more when I realized that in reality, we weren’t going to move back.
You may be wondering why my mom wanted to move so far away in the first place. Well the reason was, it was starting to get too expensive out there in California. She thought moving and starting fresh would be good for my brother and I, plus we had more family here than we did in California. I’m not gonna lie, I have been living in Iowa for almost two years and I still haven’t really adapted to everything. Everything is just so different. Sometimes it feels like everything is still moving too fast. It started taking a lot out of me the more I missed my friends birthdays, or my nieces birthday. The more time I spent at home, the lonelier I felt. I began to overthink everything, that’s when I realized once school started I’d be a loner because everyone had their own group. I began to feel like an outcast, why would people want to expand their friend group for a new student, it's all I would tell myself.
Summer was coming to an end, which deeply frightened me. I absolutely did not want to start my freshman year as the new kid with no friends. My cousin was actually going to be sophomore but obviously he wasn’t going to be in any of my classes so it wouldn’t work out. I was terrified, I remember not being able to sleep that night. I woke up way earlier than I was supposed to and couldn’t fall back asleep because of all the nerves. I ended up falling asleep again, which actually caused me to be a bit late. I remember my first day like it was yesterday. One of the worst days in my opinion. When I walked in all eyes were on me, I felt like I was going to vomit. I had to introduce myself, but since I have such a “unique name” it made people laugh, I knew they were laughing at me which made me want to go home. The day felt like it was going by so slow. Every couple minutes I remember checking the time. Soon when lunch came, I didn’t eat, I didn’t want to eat alone so I just remember waiting outside my next hours classroom. Plus I didn’t really have an appetite. I truly didn’t make any friends that day. I felt like I was in some sort of movie, where it wouldn’t end well for me. Later throughout my freshman year I did end up making friends, which was the best feeling in the world. The fact that somebody would give a chance on the new kid made me happy. One big reason that kept me going was that I wasn’t always going to be the new kid. The fact that I came from California intrigued people, that's how most conversations were started anyways.
The more time I spent in Iowa the more comfortable I began to feel. Sure there was always going to be nights where I’d be homesick. I’m sure that's normal. Especially for someone who moved 1,845 miles away from where they were born. I started to meet one of the most greatest people , which made me feel so much better about moving. Time flew by so fast, I felt like I actually belonged. It's such a heartwarming feeling especially when you once felt like an outcast. It's funny because I always talk about all the good in California, but it was a bad place for my mental health. A lot has happened there too, so moving and having a fresh start was pretty amazing.At the time of course I wasn’t going to feel that way. If I could back in time and change something, I’d would change the way I acted towards my mom, I had image of her that made me feel like she was just trying to ruin my life, you know those teenager vibes. I soon came to a realization that she really did just want a better life for me. I didn’t once stop to think about what she was leaving behind, what she was sacrificing for me. I wasn’t patient enough to let her show me how much this would help my family and I. This whole experience has made me grow as a person. Of course every day I miss California, my nieces, my sisters, plus my friends, but sometimes change is good, sometimes we need change to grow better as a person. You can’t go into something and think the worst, especially if you haven’t gave it a chance. Sure we never know what can happen in the future, but since this experience, I have become stronger, and also I’ve had more of an open mind about new things.