Uprooted

By , clarkston, MI

“We are moving to Michigan” is something I never thought I would hear coming out of my mother’s canal. Being a fifth grader, I had been practically living a perfect life; the only thing that concerned me was how well I performed in school and sports. I attended an elite private school, had amazing friends who encouraged me in my religion, had personal relationships with all of my teachers, and played on the best soccer club in my city. Maybe, I was being a self-absorbed ten-year-old, only thinking about my wants, but I was totally caught off guard when my mother broke the news to me.


All of my siblings were at an away game which left my mother and I home alone in the ginormous house. I was standing in her office, to the left of the desk, which was meant to be the dining room. She was sitting straight up in her chair because she has always been conscientious about her posture. Now, I cannot recall the exact words she said to me. Everything in that moment seemed like a total blur, but it went along these lines, “Tim (which happens to be my stepfather) has been trying to get a job transfer to Cleveland for the past two years now. But, there are none available. So… once you finish fifth grade, we will be moving to Michigan.” “Wait, whaaa?” was the only response that could come out of my mouth. She repeated herself, “The end of this school year we will be moving to Michigan.” At that time my heart sank into its chest. Thoughts like why now, came to my head, right when I would be entering “big kid school,” why does stuff like this always have to happen to me? I felt like I was being kicked in the groin by a sumo wrestler. The only question I had for myself was “Why was I so astonished when I heard those very words coming from my mother’s mouth?” After all, my mother and stepfather had been married for nearly five years and still remained living in different states.


After a few months of adapting to the new idea of moving away from everything I grew up knowing, my mother and I took a road trip to the new area that we would be living in. On our two-day outing, we took a tour of my soon to be new school, took placement tests, and I shadowed somebody for the rest of the school day. Unbeknownst to me, the girl that I shadowed became one of my closest friends at that school, along with another new student that was also entering sixth grade.


My best friend, Audra, and I told each other absolutely everything; what we ate for dinner last night, how we did in our last soccer game, and all the reasons why I despised my Narcissus-like sister. The only secret that I kept from her is my upcoming move. Now, as a very young adolescent, two hundred miles seemed like Timbuktu. Fast forward five years, I have come to the conclusion how premature my brain was compared to now. Man, I was such brainless a child. With barely two months remaining of school left, I decided to tell Audra the secret that I had been hiding for months. I recall that I was sitting on the ground next to Mrs. Hoffman’s door, my fifth-grade teacher. Each day we would wait until the last possible second to enter the classroom before the final bell would ring. As normal, we would talk about soccer, our latest meal, how well we thought we did on our last vocabulary test and the reasons why I despised my older sister. Out of nowhere, I had the realization of how soon I would be leaving. The thought of having her hear about the move from anybody but me ate away at my psyche.  “I’m moving to Michigan” I blurted out. She scoffed at me, responding with, “Yeah, okay” in a sarcastic tone. I repeated myself, in a much softer tone, “ I’m moving to Michigan, this summer.” She knew instantly that I was not joking by how much my voice shook while I was talking. You could see her facial expression change in an instant and distressed look consumed her. The tears that came down her face could have filled a small ocean.


The summer of 2012 was filled with dozens of hours of listening to rock and roll music with my mother, as we traveled back and forth, in our 2006 Ford Escape from Bay Village, Ohio to Clarkston, Michigan. Although I very much enjoyed picking out the real estate for my new home, I still had many tearful thoughts thinking that I had to leave the home that my deceased master carpenter father had rebuilt for our family twenty six-years ago. It was the home that each of my siblings was brought to after being born and the household that I was brought to from China. As I think to myself now, I find it unusual how attached humans can get to materialistic objects. I now realize that the entities that each person possess does not matter in the long run. Packing everything that my family had accumulated from thirty two-years of living in the same household took months! We could pack only so much in a certain period of time because we had lived much busier lifestyles back then. Trying to balance church, school, dozens of weekly soccer games, family gatherings and more made our calendar chaotic.


The final car ride from Ohio to Michigan was the most silent car ride I have been in: three and a half hours of no music or conversations just silence. To me, the mute car ride was full of agony due to the fact that I was being uprooted from my beloved hometown. I already missed my perfectly imperfect paradise.Out of my five siblings (not including stepbrother or sisters), I was the only one living in Michigan. The others were either finishing high school in Ohio or attending college in northern Florida. I have never been “the only child.” It seemed extremely unusual because I was used to living in a noisy household with all five of my other siblings, plus all of the guests who would constantly be over at our home. Back then living in a fifty-two hundred square foot home with only my mother and stepfather seemed exceptionally lonely, and at times, it still is. The only person I would talk to was my mother when I was out of school because I had not yet made friends in my new school and neighborhood. The days seemed dreary even on the sunniest day.


Like all siblings, we constantly bickered and fought non-stop, but on occasion, it would come to a point where we would shun each other for a period of time. After the move, my siblings and I were separated by hundreds of miles, making each moment we were together very special. At the time, when we lived with each other, we did not appreciate each other; many times we did not care about each other’s thoughts or feelings. But now, my siblings and I are extremely close to each other. We always enjoy each other’s company and can spend hours talking about everything; from our new favorite song to more sophisticated topics including, politics and our future plans, despite our eleven year age gap. If it had not been for the move, I strongly believe that we would not have such a close relationship as we do now. For the past couple of years, I cherish each moment when I am with my siblings because I never know when we will see each other next. Along with the closer bond my siblings and I have, my friendships that remain in Ohio have blossomed. Each summer, I spend many months living in Ohio staying at each of my friend’s homes. It has become a ritual over the past five years. 


As a young adolescent, I thought change was absolutely horrible. I did not understand why life had to have unexpected twists and turns that I would never have imaged. Now, as I am morphing into a young adult I am finally to understand why morose changes can be made into a positive situation. If it was not for this relocation, I would not have become so close to my family and friends. I also would not be as naive; thinking that you would not have to go through life without any tribulations.






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