Seventh grade was the best year. I found amazing friends, and I felt welcomed everywhere. I had finally settled in.
Everything was going great. I had friends, everyone was settled. Our church was great.
And then my parents told me that we might move again.
they didn't want to move us, of course. But it was too expensive in California and it was inevitable. So we decided that it was better to do it sooner rather than later.
Two months into eighth grade, we packed up and moved to Austin, Texas. We all dealt with it in our own ways. I was sad, my brother was angry, and my little siblings didn't make much trouble.
The day that we left was possibly the most emotionally draining of my life. My extended family gathered in our empty kitchen and we all cried as we said goodbye.
For almost a whole year, I was lost. I missed my friends, I missed my family, who all lived in California.
I made almost no effort to connect with new people in Austin. It didn't matter. they would never be as good as what I had before.
And then, something changed.
I'm not sure what happened, but suddenly I had friends and I liked them. I had a church and a family and I had started to build my own life in Texas, which I had never thought I would like, let alone love.
When they do, I tell them this story. Of how I moved, of how I went to so many schools, of how I struggled. Because it has shaped me, good and bad.
I've had lots of people ask me why I'm so close to my family, or why I cling so closely to my friends.