I lived in two different worlds, each with one parent and a bedroom to call my own. My mother always assured me that I had the best of both worlds. I never felt I was missing out on the opportunity of having an amalgamated household like most of my other friends. I never really knew what it was like to live with a father and mother under the same roof. My parents split before my first birthday and kept their distances ever since. I always admired the typical American family that I would see on television sitcoms. Growing up I religiously watched the Brady Bunch, Growing Pains and Family Ties. From our small television screen I thought sheer family perfection was encased with a white picket fence, married parents and siblings bickering obsessively. Those families seemed like they had it all in comparison to myself and the neighbors in our modest apartment complex. But regardless of the apparent differences, my mom always resonated that the arrangements that I had, made all of my other friends seem somewhat underprivileged. Compared to them, I had two homes, two birthdays, two Christmas’ and individual time with each parent. During the school months of September through June, my mother and I battled through California’s notorious parking lot freeways and conquered laundry days before a quick visit to the beach. Making ends meet in a single parent household was difficult but we were a powerful duo. My mother was a super hero flying to and from work, taking me to school, soccer practice and violin lessons. My mother taught me strength and perseverance. As a little girl, nothing was too far beyond my front door. Everything was within my grasp and the world was mine for the taking. At six years old I held the world in my hands for the first time clutching onto my shiny white airline ticket with my pudgy fingers. Charlie Bucket had nothing on me. I was about to embark on a fantastic journey to a whole new world. I was alone with my purple suitcase and my Lisa Frank coloring book, ready to board a plane on my first adventure to South Dakota to visit my dad. From that moment I learned that a single piece of paper could void the gap between the southern oases of California that I grew up in, to the vast pastures of South Dakota. I experienced a new lifestyle and saw rolling hills, beautiful foliage, rows of corn, grasslands with roaming cattle and even buffalo! Together Dad and I weaved through the Badlands, the Black Hills and experienced Mount Rushmore. There was only so much time to expand within my two-month visit; however my Dad always made sure our time together was well spent. We traveled South Dakota from corner to corner, Minnesota and sometimes Nebraska. On the open road Dad taught me the importance of individuality and always impressed upon me that college was the door that would open me up to the world. For seven years living life with my mom and dad separately was routine until my Dad’s untimely death in 2006. I looked forward to packing my bags and holding my own ticket. I felt so self-important and empowered with holding the key to the sky. Traveling back and forth was a lifestyle that I became accustomed to. I learned that life is truly an adventure and a road worth traveling. Thus far I’ve only had a small taste of life in the sky and the road before me and I hunger for more. Now here I stand eager to embark on my next journey; college and all of the prosperous opportunities it holds for me and my future place in the world. I often dream of traveling the world and experiencing all of its beauty and mystery, but instead of an airline ticket in hand, I am driven and determined to be holding my degree.