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New Zealand

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New Zealand. It was sort of my family’s new beginning. In fact, when I look back at it, it was my new beginning. An exciting new chapter in our lives full of opportunity and great experiences. I had never seen my parents so enthralled in an idea. They felt that leaving for New Zealand and leaving everyone behind was the best thing for us. Naturally, being the naive eleven year old that I was, I had a very different point of view. To me, moving was the end of all things. Truth be told I was a very shy kid back then and change was just detrimental to me. I had never moved before, I had never even given the concept thought and then there it was being thrust upon me. I was going to leave behind all of my friends, my house, my pet bird, everything I loved was being taken away. Who was to blame? My parents.

I could have sworn I was on another planet. There were strange people with strange accents and lingo and I felt completely lost. Almost immediately I began to hide—from everything. I became even quieter than I was and I had a dark outlook on everything. In truth, I lost hope. Things spiraled downward from there. I specifically remember running out of the house after a fight with my mom screaming, “I hate you! I hate you!” I didn’t look back. What was I to do? I was forced to live in a horrible place, ripped away from everything I loved and I blamed everything and everyone for my situation. I have to be thankful though, because not long afterward I learned the greatest lesson of my life.

I’m a strong believer in that people usually do not change until they have to. I know this from experience. I was at the breaking point and it was at that crucial moment I had to make a decision. I didn’t truly consciously make the decision it just happened. It was like a switch flipped in my brain and everything changed. One day, I woke up, and I was happy. Not only that, but I understood. I was the source of my problems and no one was to blame except myself. I finally had the knowledge that happiness was within me and that I could be my own person. The thing that shook me to the core most, that still reverberates through my soul, is that I can be whatever I want to be no matter what.

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