Column: Following a different path

‘Looking back, I realize moving here was one of the best decisions my parents and I ever made.’

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“Once the house fully disappears, I close my eyes and my heart shatters into a million pieces.” Courtesy of Carol Tujardon.

August 2016

Tears stream down my face as the blue floral house I called home in Galloway, New Jersey for the past 12 years slowly fades out of sight. Once the house fully disappears, I close my eyes and my heart shatters into a million pieces.

I begin to think about the upcoming school year and my heart breaks even more. Instead of starting my first year of high school in New Jersey, I’ll have to go to high school in Lewisville, Texas without any of my friends. I have no one there who knows me.

For the first time in my life, I feel completely alone.



October 2016

Two months pass and I’m slowly adjusting to life in Texas. I still miss the quiet life in New Jersey. I miss waking up, looking through my bedroom window and seeing the playground which was an important part of my youth. I miss secretly picking flowers before heading to school from the garden my mom and I planted when I was 8, saying a quick greeting to the birds that lived on top of our solar panel and seeing my friends every day.

Now, my daily routine has changed. Every day, I wake up to see another apartment adjacent to mine. When I head to my bus stop, instead of seeing my neighbor’s cabin style-house a door away from mine, I see a Target right across from my apartment and various cars driving back and forth. A part of me is used to my new way of life, entering a different atmosphere and building new friendships. The other part of me feels alone, even with the new bonds I’ve created.

But it still isn’t the same. It’s like a piece of me is missing.



May 2017

It’s been almost a year since I moved to Texas, and in a way, I’m happy we moved here. I finally have friends who are dear to me and who are supportive. Unlike the friends I had in New Jersey, the majority of the friends I have here are like the brothers and sisters I never had.

One of the first friendships I begin to form is with a girl named Azjane. This friendship teaches me about the value of friendship: unconditional love.

After building a friendship with her, I created close relationships with others named Jordin and Andre. They are the brothers I never had.

Although I am grateful for the friendships I have here, there is something missing: a best friend. I haven’t talked to Michelle, my childhood best friend, in a year. I will never try to replace her, but I’ve come to accept the fact that she and I are no longer in each other’s lives.



August 2018

At this point in my life, the friendships I’ve built here are stronger than ever, while the other friendships I have are slowly fading away.

Once junior year begins, I don’t have high expectations and all I want is to concentrate on taking care of myself. I want to focus on school, learn about my desired career choice and start my journey in the school’s newspaper.

And then an unexpected occurrence happens when I join newspaper; I start a friendship with Somari. Unlike all my other friends, he’s not like a sibling to me but the best friend I yearn to have. He understands me like no other and I know I can count on him no matter what, especially on rainy days. But even though I have close friends here, it always feels like I’m alone and I have to do things on my own. My new friend begins to change all of that by taking care of me on days when I don’t even know I need someone to do so, even if I don’t want him to.

And every day, I’m grateful to have him in my life.



January 2020

Looking back, I realize moving here was one of the best decisions my parents and I ever made. I have had amazing opportunities to expand my horizons and grow as an individual. By moving here, I became the person I’ve always wanted to become: a strong, independent woman.