People always ask what brought us to Florida, frankly I have always told them what I thought the reason was; that my dad had always wanted to live here. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I questioned how he could be enjoying Florida; he worked every day except Sunday. It was ironic, he couldn’t enjoy the warm weather he used to talk about, or the pool he had specifically put in our house. It took a mandatory trip back to where we came from for me to realize that the ultimate vision was wider than a simple dream to come to Florida.
We had to renew our visas to keep our stay in Florida, which sounded exciting initially, going back to England to see the place I used to call home, and felt homesick about. You would expect that in six and a half years more would have changed. We went on an eight hour plane ride to experience a time warp. The situation was altogether peculiar, we stayed with my aunt in the house she’s lived in for decades, and nothing had changed except ourselves. I was a giant in this house, towering over my aunt, feeling caged in a room the size I used to live in, sitting close to my mum like a packed sardine on the floor next to the radiator.
We were staying for two weeks, in case the embassy took a while to make their decision or to send our passports out. The two weeks felt like two months, the days were long because I missed Florida, what I hadn’t even recognized as my new home. I honestly couldn’t imagine the lifestyle I would have had if we hadn’t moved.One of my uncles was surprised when he saw me, he said to me “I expected you to be so overweight, you were always a chubby little girl!” which I didn’t take the wrong way, it was humorous but sparked an epiphany; without volleyball or football (soccer), I would be that overweight girl in England, inactive and eating chocolates frequently. It disgusted me, the unhealthy lifestyle I could have had, and I noticed myself making comparisons to the life I live, which is luxurious to the one I could have had. The roads were dirtier, the traffic was much more hazardous, the people were ruder and the friends I had in my local town, Hounslow, had only opportunities to drink alcohol and party every night, not to enhance their futures like I have.
Being in England as a forced vacation made me miss and appreciate my friends, my family, my boyfriend, my teachers, my education and all the opportunities I had taken and would not have had if we had not moved. This time warp trip made me realize why my dad pushed me to join the volleyball team, why he spent a ridiculous amount of money the previous years on a private education, why he used to work fourteen hour days and why he prepped for the Visa interview, and was calm and responded with our futures in his mind when he was questioned for hours to earn the Visa for our family.
Now when people ask me what brought us to Florida, I can tell them it was my dad’s vision of the future he wanted for my brothers and myself and that the opportunities here have and continue to open doors for our family.
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