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The Story Of My Life This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

By , Ashburn, VA
Eighteen months average. Three months minimum. Three years maximum. My dad serves our country, thus I serve our country. “Moved” is a word used for reviews for literature or a particularly interesting play. I use it as a description of my life. Nowadays, families move about three times in a lifetime, if at all. The Enriquez family is not one of those families. Try not three moves, but five times that. This isn’t a story about hardship, but it isn’t a truly joyful story either. This is a story about tradeoff, a tit for tat, a this for that.

In between roughly five states and across the country, you end up a well-rounded person sooner or later. You also learn some things about yourself and about humanity along the way. Things that other people, people different from you, may not even know exist, much less know anything about. Finding friends and keeping them presents its unique challenges. You never really know where “home” is; not in a traditional sense, anyway. A home is temporary, just as all of your material possessions are temporary. You never quite know what you will have to give up—a piece of furniture, the family pet, friends along the way—anything is up for grabs.

As you may have surmised, I have moved many times—fourteen, so far. I have lived in California, Arizona, Texas, Maryland, and Virginia. Over the course of that time, I have been enrolled in roughly ten different schools; all with different requirements, a different social climate and definitely different people. One school has music with real music teachers, the other school has parent volunteers to teach music. One school has foreign language in seventh grade, the other school only allows eighth graders to take foreign language, and it only offers Spanish and French. One school is filled with surfers, people who never think to wear a coat, much less long pants. Jeans are considered formal attire. At the other school, they know nothing of surfing, and if you are not on the “it” sports team, you can write your ticket to sitting alone at the lunch table. One school has buses, but you wait in the snow for your bus to arrive. Another school has not seen a school bus in over three years. If you want to go on a field trip, you rent the nearest coach and everyone pays his own transportation. One of the schools shelter their students walking them to and from lunch and having them sit in assigned seats. Another school expects respect and has a relatively open campus. The students adapt and behave. The schools and the expectations can vary so greatly that often I feel lost, even though I have been in the same place for a year.

Friends… well, they are hard to come by. True friends, the kind that always have your back and are willing to support you not matter what, those kinds of friends are few and far between. For those kinds of friends you have to have a long connection. It is not unusual for me to be introduced to people that have been friends since kindergarten or second grade. I cannot remember what state I was in while in second grade unless I look at pictures, much less be able to recall the names of the people in my class. Most people that I have come in contact with do not want to make the investment, knowing that I will disappear in a few months or years. I cannot say that I blame them. I only have two really good friends. Even with those kids, I met them only in sixth grade. Neither of those friends live anywhere close to where I am currently. To be honest, I am not even sure that I will ever see them again, but we text and talk. The way that I know I have found a true friend is that they are willing to take a chance on me. They know that they might get hurt because they know that eventually I will go, but they are willing to take the risk to get to know me. True friends also always try to stay in contact. Texting has, of course, made this possible. Phones make things easier, but eventually everyone just gets wrapped up in their own lives. Just like people here do not understand about earthquakes in California, many of my California friends have no idea about blizzards or snow days. They have no idea how to react to my life and eventually they stop trying. Everyone swears they will keep in touch, but many times these are just words meant to make someone feel better, a formality of sorts.

As I said, this is not a story of hardship. I have been in so many different states that I have lost count. I have seen much of the United States and have learned to appreciate travel. I enjoy being such a traveled person because I come out of every experience with new knowledge to take into the future. I have been taught what family truly embodies. While most of you take your family and your parents for granted, I look at mine as a blessing. They are all that I have. They will be there no matter what and when. I have learned this over and over by them trying to help me get adjusted to new places and people and by pointing out the obvious positive things in life that some times are not that obvious to a typical teenager. I have no fear of new places. While some might cringe at the thought of moving across the country or around the world for college, I know that I will be fine. The sky is the limit. I am not afraid to succeed, or to fail for that matter, because I know that I am resilient. I know that I can pick up the pieces and move forward. My whole life I have been picking up pieces here or there. I am a chameleon of sorts, blending into my environment. If it were not for all of our moves, I can say that in some ways, my life would be diminished.



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