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Sun to Snow
“Say your last goodbyes,” Mom said as I finished my breakfast and ran out the door. Why do we have to leave now? I have the perfect life, I just don’t understand! My thoughts keep streaming through my head. I jump into the silver 2003 Ford Explorer that my parents gave me for my sixteenth birthday. I turn on the radio, and I’m off. As I drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, I look out at the beach, and see how perfect it is. I am a total California girl, how can I leave this for winter all year long in Utah? I have never been to Utah, but I have heard that seven out of twelve months of the year is winter. I’m not sure if I can handle Utah winters…I’ve never even seen snow! But, that’s the least of my concerns. It’s late November, and I am in the middle of all of my classes, I am junior class president; I just can’t drop everything and go! I have tried explaining this to my parents, but the guilt just takes over me. Dad has tried to keep us here as long as possible, but he will be left without a job if we don’t go.
As I pull up to the parking lot of West Laguna Hills High, I look down at my phone and see that it’s already 7:30, and I’m late. I grab my stuff and quickly run inside to my first period, Biology. I love this class, and I am always here on time, because I find it so fascinating! “The heart is a very strong muscle, it controls our whole body. When the heart stops, we die.” Ms. Woodland says. Okay, I can’t focus on the heart and its functions right now. I mean, how could I? We are leaving right after school, I am driving my car with Jess, my Mom is driving our Tahoe with Adam and Sam, and Dad is driving in the moving truck with the operator. It will be a long drive, but Mom said we can stop in Vegas and go shopping, and catch up with the boys later.
There are six of us in my family; Sam is the oldest child, he’s a freshman at USC, I am next, Jess is in eighth grade, and Adam is in seventh. I have a lot of fun with Jess, which is exactly why we are riding together. We love to listen to music with the windows down, and let our hair blow in the wind. “Emilee, what is the first function of the heart?” Ms. Woodland asks. Oh boy, um…first function? I should’ve been paying attention. “Emilee?” she repeats, waiting for the answer. “I’m sorry, I wasn’t listening, Ms. Woodland.” I reply. A few kids chuckle, but it’s too early for anyone to be paying attention. “Exactly, pay attention, Emilee.” Ms. Woodland says. And then with that, the bell rings, and I’m off to my second period.
“Hey Em!” I turn around; it’s my best friend, Shay. “Shay! I’ve been looking for you everywhere, where’ve you been?”
“You know me, always skipping first period.”
“I should’ve known!”
“Anyways, so my parents said yes!”
“You can come?”
“Yeah, they said that I can leave the day after Christmas!”
“That’s awesome! I can’t wait!”
“Me neither! Okay, well, I have to go to class, can’t get another tardy!”
“I will! Text me!”
“Okay, I’ll try!”
Shay and I have been trying to convince her parents to let her come and visit us in Utah over Winter Break for months! I can’t believe they said yes! I am really excited! That just made my day so much better.
“Remember that your book reports are due on Monday. Make sure you turn them in on time, they will not be accepted late.” Ms. Smith instructs. I wonder if schools in Utah have to do lame book reports. Thankfully, today is my last day, so I don’t have to do one! Bzzz, my phone vibrates in my lap. It’s Shay, “So excited!” I hit reply, “Me 2!” Shay is a total surfer girl. She is the only girl on West Laguna Hills Surf team, and she loves it. She has long, wavy brown hair that hasn’t been trimmed in years. Shay is very laid back, always in some t-shirt with flip-flops. Shay and I are complete opposites; it’s amazing that we get along so well! I have blond hair, with brown highlights that I get touched up every two months. It takes me about a half hour to choose an outfit, an hour to curl my hair; well, you can already tell how different we are.
“Hey, do you want to head down to the taco shack for lunch?” Shay asks me in the hall. “I wish I could!” I respond.
“Come on, Em! What’s going on?”
“Well, don’t get me wrong, I’d love to come! But, I forgot my money today.”
“So what, are you just going to starve? I don’t think so! Come on, let’s go. It’s on me.”
“Shay, you don’t have to…”
“Yes, I do. Come on! Let’s go!”
We head out to the parking lot to Shay’s convertible. Shay turns on the music, and we blast off, wind blowing through our hair. Once we arrived at the taco shack, we ordered our food, and walked out on the pier. “I’m going to miss this place,” I told Shay. “You can come back and visit anytime, and you know that.” Shay responds.
“I know, but what am I going to do without you?”
“Em, you know you can call me anytime, and we can talk. Plus, I’ll be there in a month to come visit. Don’t worry; you are going to be fine. Utah is a great place, you’ll love it!”
“I know, it’s just hard leaving this.” I look around, smelling the salt in the air.
“I know, Emilee. I’m going to miss you.” Shay gives me a hug. We walk back to the taco shack and pick up our food. The taste of the tacos makes everything better. I think I might be okay, after all.
Shay and I arrived back at school just in time for fifth period, which we have together. Spanish is a really fun class, our teacher is awesome! Shay and I sit right next to each other, and today we just talked. Spanish flew by really quickly, and then, that was it. I was done with my very last day at West Laguna Hills High. Shay walked with me to my locker, and helped me carry my things to my car. “I’m going to miss you!” she says. “I know, I will miss you, too!” Shay and I hug each other, and then I get into my car, “I’ll call you on the drive, it’s going to take two days to get there,” I say. “Okay, drive safe! And tell your family hi for me.”
“See you, Shay!”
“Bye, Em! See you in a few weeks!”
As I drive off, I look back one more time at my school. That was so much fun, I think to myself about West Laguna Hills High, and then I was off.
“Emilee, make sure that you and Jess don’t have too much fun back there,” my mom says on the phone. “Okay, we’ll calm down,” I reply. Jess and I laugh. We were playing sweet and sour with the window down and the music cranked. Here we are, about an hour outside of Laguna Hills, stuck in the usual L.A. traffic. I don’t mind it; I want to be here as long as possible. “Look, there’s Disneyland!” says Jess. I loved Disneyland. In fact, I had to quit my job there two weeks ago because of the move. I knew that I would be back, though. Finally, after about an hour of bumper to bumper traffic, we begin to move. “Jess, it’s time to roll up our windows,” I say. We started driving at full speed, and the wind was becoming to distracting for me. Goodbye, California!
“Here we are, Las Vegas!” I say to Jess. “Are you ready for some shopping?” Jess asks. “Of course, you can never shop too much,” I respond to my little sister. Mom takes the exit to the Las Vegas Outlet mall, and we follow her. “Okay girls, we aren’t shopping for California weather. You need to be on the look out for any cute winter clothes that you can find!” Mom says. Okay, winter clothes, let’s see. What do I have that is considered winter clothes? Well, I have two pairs of designer jeans, and three sweaters; that’s about it. Well, we better get looking!
Jess and I get back in the car with bags and bags of “winter” clothes. “I think we’re all set,” I say to Jess. “Yeah, I am broke. Hopefully I can find some families in Utah that are looking for a babysitter!” Jess says. “I’m sure you will!” I say. We follow Mom’s car to the Monte Carlo hotel, where we are spending the night.
“Okay girls, rise and shine!” Dad says to us as he opens the curtains to our hotel room. I roll over and look at the clock; it’s 6:30 am. “Why are we leaving so early, Dad?” I ask. “We’re trying to get there before dinner tonight, come on, let’s go,” Dad replies. Jess and I get out of bed, brush our teeth, and put on some sweats. It’s our last day on the road, so I guess we can’t complain.
Welcome to Utah, the sign reads. “This isn’t quite the Utah that I was thinking of,” I say to Jess. “This is St. George, Utah, Em. We are moving to Salt Lake City, it’s much farther North,” Jess says. She studied up on Utah a little while ago in her US Geography class. We follow Mom to the gas station, and we all fill up our cars. Then we went to McDonald’s for a quick bite to eat, and we were back on the road.
“Here we are,” Mom says on the phone. “Wow, look at those mountains! They are huge!” I say to Mom. “Yes, they are. Okay, follow me through these next two exits, and we’re heading to our house,” Mom says. Mom and Dad have both been to our new house, but none of the kids have. I followed Mom very closely as Jess was searching for a new radio station. We turned into a neighborhood, turn right a few times and Mom stopped on the curb. “Well, this is it,” I say to Jess. “Not bad,” she says back. I have a feeling that moving to Utah might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me.