It all started on March 1st, 2007. We packed up our house in a big u-haul truck and left Pennsylvania to go to Big Sky Montana in order to help a group of people who needed homes and jobs. We said our tear-filled goodbyes to the rest of our family and friends and then my parents and I were off on our adventure.
The drive across country was a beautiful one. And when we finally reached Montana my mouth hung open in awe at the gorgeous weather and scenery. The snow-capped Rocky Mountains that shown in the distance behind the endless rolling fields of winter-wheat captivated me. It was breath-taking.
But all that breath-taking beauty wouldn’t be enough to ease the nauseous homesick feeling that ailed me. I discovered a completely new realm of emotions when I walked into my first day at school in the small town of Belt. No one knew me. I knew no one. I was just the new kid. And even though I stood amongst hundreds of people, I felt utterly alone. My life had turned into something that I had never experienced before, something I had never intended it to be. I smiled, laughed, and met new people when I was at school. I came home and apathetically walked around the farm, and talked to my parents. Then at night, I cried myself to sleep like a little child who had lost her blanket. My comfort was gone.
I remember wanting to call my older sister so bad to tell her how much I missed her. I wanted a hug from her, a friend to talk to, but my world was moving on and so were the worlds of the friends back in Pennsylvania. Eventually, the nights I cried became more seldom and I began to adapt. I remember talking to my mom and asking her if it was easier to forget what you left behind than to remember it all and live life missing something you couldn’t get back. It’s a question that I still ponder sometimes.
There was one thing that got me through it all: June 10th, 2007, a date I’ll never forget, the day I got to go home. However, I had adjusted so much that by the time the day arrived, I was sad to leave my new friends. But when I saw my sister’s house for real instead of in my dreams, I realized that I had never stopped missing home.
I had to make a tough decision that summer: go back to Montana, be okay, but miss out on the life I wanted to live here, or, stay in Pennsylvania, live the life I wanted, but leave my parents in Montana. I chose the last one and my parents selflessly allowed me to follow it through.
I look back now at the move to Montana, which turned into a 3-month trip as one of the most important times in my life. I was forced to redefine who I was in a world that I didn’t know and that didn’t know me. I learned that giving up is not an option, but that there is really a light at the end of the tunnel. And especially now that I live 2,000 miles away from my parents, I’m so thankful that I got to spend those three months with them, where we were able to be there for each other when things got hard. I live now knowing that adversity truly makes one stronger, tears do not compromise one’s strength, and life is what one chooses to make it.
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