December 1, 2008
By Jennifer Yi, Peoria, AZ

Eight, five, three, four, five; eight, five, three, eight, three. These two sets of numbers are similar, yet, so different enough to be able to alter life. These digits could symbolize a number of changes, new beginnings, or closures; however, they were simply zip codes. The first zip code illustrated a place left behind known for the “Cardinals Stadium” and “Glendale Arena”; the second was a new place to call home with a “Lake Pleasant,” “Happy Valley,” and “West Wing.” The state the figures stood for may perhaps be described by the words “desert,” “heat,” “the Grand Canyon,” “the Saguaro.” A journey toward womanhood would be started in the vast lands of Arizona.

A girl, not old enough yet to be called a lady,¬-but old enough to speak for herself-was lying in her bed. The light from the windows shone in the room. It was dim, around dawn. It was early. A big adventure would arise from this day. She spent time sulking and being miserable before reached the destined day. However, if everything went as planned, this new experience would have been avoidable. It was too late now, and the reasons merely became that moving was fate. The light rearranged its position throughout the area that belonged to the girl. More of the yellow from the light appeared in larger quantity throughout the room. It brought a shine and glow to the girl’s face. It signaled her to get ready and out of bed. She did just that, too.
The girl arrived at the dining room. It smelled of new paint that came from the walls and exuded an air of ambiguity because no memories had been made so far. Most places have a history that can be looked back upon; this residence did not have any such past. Overall, the house was empty and the only furniture set up was the couch alongside a few appliances, a table, and beds. Boxes were all around, filled with belongings, unopened, ready to be unpacked. Eight months of construction resulted in this abode which consisted of high pitched ceilings, five bedrooms, three and a half bathrooms, and a den used as an office. The dwelling also contained a spacious kitchen with an island, an elongated entrance, and areas for eating, entertainment, or leisure. This was the new home to the girl and her family.

The girl commenced to sit at the table in the dining room. A woman still with her pajamas on entered.

“Good morning, Mom.”
“Good morning, Jennifer,” replied the woman. “Aren’t you excited that it’s your first day of high school? My first day, I was nervous, but as the day passed on, I wasn’t scared anymore. High school was a good experience for me. I made lifelong friends and memories. I hope high school is as fun for you as it was for me.”
“I hope so too.” said Jennifer. “It’s going to be difficult. I won’t be going to the same high school as my other friends and I’ll have to meet new people while everyone else already knows someone they trust. If we didn’t move, I wouldn’t have to deal with any of this.”
The thought of her old, designated high school brought Jennifer sadness. She was so sure that she was going there with her best friend Alicia. They signed up for all the same classes and promised to experience high school together. So, when Jennifer was told that her family purchased a new house, she was shocked. Her plans were pointless. What she was really afraid of about high school was not making friends. All throughout age six to fourteen, Jennifer had attended the same middle school. She had the same friends since her childhood. Back then, it was not as hard nor as excruciating to get along with others. The kids at that age were innocent and accepted her. Now, she had to endure meeting new peers.
The woman’s lips frowned. It became quiet. “Look, honey,” she declared with a comforting tone, “it may seem like at all ends, high school will never become place you’ll enjoy going to, but you haven’t even endured the first day yet. You’re a smart girl, who is easy to get along with. You will definitely make friends. Don’t worry anymore. It’s time for me to drop you off to school.”

The mother and daughter drove off in silence. It would take twenty minutes to reach the school as it was eight miles away. Between their house and school, stores resided and the landscape was subsumed of mostly cacti or trees. Jennifer sat anxious and edgy. After a while, the car had stopped. They finally reached school.

Jennifer unfastened her seatbelt and unlocked the door to get out. “I’ll see you after school.”
“Have a good day! Think positive.” Jennifer got out of the car and closed the door. She pondered on what her mom last said and laughed satirically. As the car began driving out of the school, Jennifer waved and set off to her first class.
It was easy finding the room of her first period, which was math. There were already students seated. Her teacher sat at his desk and told the others that also had just walked in to take any seat. Jennifer chose a desk in the front of the class on the left. It was closest to the window. A few other students arrived and then the math teacher handed out the syllabus to everyone. The syllabus had the teacher’s contact information, rules to be followed, and an outline of what would be taught throughout the next weeks. The instructor read the syllabus and later passed out papers that the students’ parents would have to fill out. An hour had passed in math and it was already time for her next class, Spanish. Jennifer was a little upset that she did not meet anyone in math. She hoped that this would not reflect the rest of the day. Like her first hour, her second class spent the whole time going through a syllabus. Furthermore, in this class, Jennifer sat next to a girl with curly brown hair past her shoulders, fair skin, blue eyes and they started to talk. They introduced themselves and since the bell had rung for third hour, they did not have much time to chat. It was still gratifying to Jennifer because she met someone new that could be a potential friend.
Language came after Spanish. Once again, the infamous syllabus became possessions of the students and the class period would end going through the information written on the paper. Other students shared that they moved from across the state. Wow, and Jennifer was complaining about moving cities. She began to realize that her situation should not be lamented upon. She was lucky she could still visit her old friends easily. Lunch followed behind language. This was the time friends could sit together and catch up after morning classes and eat. In her classes, she did not worry about choosing a seat since they were assigned, but now she had to choose where to eat. The cafeteria with more than four lines to order food and drinks had tables inside or outside to eat. Jennifer spotted someone she recognized in third period. The table was fairly empty, so she spout out the courage to ask if she could sit with the girl from language.
“Is it okay if I sit here?” asked Jennifer.
The girl replied, “Sure! My name’s Thuy An by the way. Aren’t we in language together?”
“Yeah! Oh and my name’s Jennifer.” Other girls started to gather at the table who were friends of Thuy An. Jennifer talked little during lunch, but inside she was glad that she had met more people.
Lunch ended with a full stomach from eating a pepperoni, greasy pizza and fries. During the summer, Jennifer thought she would not have any friends by at least the first week. She had already met a few she enjoyed talking to. Chemistry, ceramics, and team sports were the last classes of the day. Not much was done in each period besides the teachers telling synopses about their classes. Chemistry was full of upperclassmen. Jennifer kept it a secret that she was a freshman. Ceramics was unlike any other room. Instead of desks, chairs, and carpet, there were tables, stools, and tile. It was a little messy there. Jennifer was not looking forward to team sports because she was not athletic. However, she met Christine who admitted she was not so psyched for the class either. Once team sports was over, it was official; the first day of school was over.
Jennifer sauntered to the front of the school where her mom would pick her up. High school was the opposite of what she imagined and she was glad. Breaking out of her shell felt impossible, but it was possible and she was able to endure it without any problems. Her fear of moving and the effects were conquered.
“Mom was right,” Jennifer said to herself. “School was not that bad. It was actually pretty decent. Maybe like she said, it will become an experience I’ll look back upon.” Just as Jennifer thought this, she saw her mom pull up. She ran to the car, eager to tell her about the first day.

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