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Moving and my life

October 14, 2010
Kayla Herrera

I am often asked if I would ever go back and change my life.

I can feel myself at 13, missing a home and friends, aching to be in the same familiar place like sitcom after sitcom displayed each night; friendly neighbors remember you as a kid and watch you grow, your friends grew with you from chasing boys to getting asked to prom.

I yearned for this dull lifestyle, for normality and solidity, a Dawson's Creek wannabe. But as an adult, now, I realize without my experiences, I would not be the same person I am today.

I grew up in Houghton in my elementary school years amongst the shores of Lake Superior and the beauty of the natural world.

The worst we ever heard on our news station was maybe a fire in town. I remember feeling as a child that Houghton and Hancock were their own little cities and that the outside world was far away.

Summer days were spent laying out at the Breakers at McLain State Park or traversing the old copper smelter across the street.

When we had first moved to Hancock, we had to live at McLain State Park until we found an apartment to move into; it was the best and most memorable summer of my life.

The years spent in Houghton and Hancock made a deep, irremovable impression on me.

So when we moved away, I felt like I was leaving my whole life behind.

We moved to East Lansing where we stayed at the on-campus apartments for families at Michigan State University.

My mom was a student and my dad worked at General Motors.

My sister and I attended an on-campus elementary school where we were a couple of the few Americans there.

I had good friends from Pakistan, Korea, Nepal, and Zimbabwe.

My sister and I began walking to school for the first time ever and for once we felt independent, and we liked it.

After a year, my dad hated his job so we moved away that summer to Kansas City, Mo., where my dad got a job at Harley Davidson.

I started to become rebellious of the idea of moving and refused to look at houses with my family.

The repetitive routine had worn me out for the last time.

We were staying in a new apartment and attended one of the city schools.

Despite the difference in environment and people, I felt I could really get along well.

I had already made "best friends." Halloween passed and my parents found a house in a small town 20 minutes away. We stayed there for only three months before moving again to this town. I hated Lawson, Mo.

I hated the abundance of aromatic cow pastures, lack of buildings, and lack of trees.

Everything was brown, our house was bare and new, and our road was gravel.

When I attended school, I hated some of the accents people had, the small classrooms, and the smell of the school.

Despite my preteen hatred, I came to adapt to the place. I made friends quickly.

I grew with these people and after years of detestation, I finally came to accept the place as home.

But deep within my heart, I ached to hear those dimwitted seagulls, to smell Lake Superior in the air, to feel the breeze off of the lake.

Missouri was no Michigan, that was for sure.

My junior year of high school, my dad got transferred to Milwaukee, Wis. for his job.

After five years spent in this place, with just a year and a half left of high school, my sister and I somehow became excited to leave.

Before I left, I made amends with enemies. I remember I hated this one teacher and I always cracked on him with friends, but with his hour-long rants in class (instead of teaching) I felt I had actually learned more than I thought in his class, about life than school.

I approached him after class and told him this, and he thanked me for listening, and appreciated my comment.

When we moved to Wisconsin, we had to bunker down in a live-in hotel until we found a house to live in.

I didn't realize how much I missed having a kitchen.

I ate microwavable Thai bowls for dinner and cereal for breakfast and only had snacks for lunch at school.

I went to my first dance alone and curled my own hair in our hotel bathroom.

This wasn't like any hotel, it didn't have a pool area and the beds were uncomfortable.

It was a 15-minute drive to school and I had to take the highway, which was always packed at 8 a.m.

I remember that being the coldest and longest winter I've ever experienced in Wisconsin.

After two weeks of that, we finally found a house and moved in. Now the drive to school was only a leisurely five minutes.

I only went to high school there for a year and a half.

I didn't make many friends, only a couple I still talk to sometimes.

There was a point where I tried to make friends and break through the cliques, but I gave up and started doing my own thing and began looking ahead to college.

I went to the art room during lunch to use any of the materials and worked all hour. I graduated and moved on to better things.

After all of these different experiences, I came to realize that without these, I would not be the same person today.

Because of these, I am an open and outgoing person who can properly and successfully deal with people and situations.

In a way, college was not so hard for me because I was used to meeting new people and being thrust into that uncomfortable situation.

By then, I was a pro.

Moving around was a spring board into my life.

It was this acceptance that everything does happen for a reason, and there was a reason for these happenings that my life is still trying to map out.

But every day, I see a little more of that correlation between moving and my life, and every day I enjoy life more.

Kayla Herrera's e-mail address



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