Almost 16 years ago I moved from New Jersey to Kansas. As a five-year-old, I had no say, I was just going with the flow. At first, I did not like it, I hated it. Everything was so different to what I knew back home; the music was different, the food was different, the culture was different. Eventually, I embraced it and made friends.
Over the next decade, I grew to know Kansas as my home. New Jersey was just a place where my family was. It was hard to adapt to that, but over time it became my life. I made more friends, who have remained my friends. I adapted to the music, country music is even one of my favorites, and the food was not so bad. Luckily my mom made great pasta.
My senior year of high school I had to prepare for a new life, I decided to move back to New Jersey. I did not know what to expect by moving back. I knew it would be different, but I knew I had to embrace everything that was going to come to my way.
The official move was hard and it was really sad. I was leaving all the people who had become my family behind. However, it was something I had done before, but it was different. I had made lasting connections with the people in my life. Fortunately for me, I was going back to a place where I still had family. They were a great support system in my transition. I was also lucky that I had my friends back in Kansas to support me.
It was also easy for me to accept moving by seeing my friends' lives continue. I did begin to doubt whether or not these friendships would last, but as time went on and I kept trying, I realized that they were not going anywhere. I now just had to embrace that whatever time we had on the phone was going to be great, and that the big moments were the ones that counted.
Three years later, I am still trying to figure out my place here. I have changed a lot living here, I have become more open minded. With each opportunity I try to take it head on and get as much out of it as I can. If I had stayed in Kansas, I would not have had the opportunity to work in diverse communities or work for the number one camp on the East Coast. And I would not trade my jobs for the world.
As I am figuring me out, and my place here, I realize that my life is really just beginning. Just this past week I had my first interview for Montclair's education program and it only made me see how much more I need to learn before I graduate. As I look back over the past three years and see how much I have learned I am blown away.
It is still hard. Kansas will always be another home for me, but I have realized that wherever I am I can have a home, whether that be in New Jersey, in Kansas, or even at camp.