Finding Home | Teen Ink

Finding Home

December 10, 2018
By Anonymous

“I have officially decided that I hate New Orleans!”, I announced to my mother as we moved boxes in the August heat. My outburst was somewhat petulant, but in my defense, I was hot, I was sweating, and I wanted to go home. I was able to quickly remedy the hot and sweaty parts of the situation by going back inside and sitting in front of the air conditioner. Going home, however, was not as easy of a fix because my home was 1,100 miles away.

I was born and raised in northern Virginia, right outside of Washington D.C., and I thought I would live there until I went to college. Virginia was my home, and I never expected that to change. In the spring of 2014, my family experienced a tragedy that changed the course of our lives. In the aftermath of the tragedy, my parents decided that the best thing for our family was to move to my mom’s hometown of New Orleans.

A mere three months after my parents made the decision to move, I found myself moving boxes into our new house. My announcement to my mother that I hated New Orleans was partially motivated by how hot it was, but it was mostly due to the fact that I felt like my entire life had been turned upside down. I was 1,100 miles away from everyone and everything I had ever known, and I was terrified. To make matters worse, I was starting high school in two weeks. Beginning high school is a scary experience on its own, but I was also dealing with being in a new city without any friends or familiar places. I truly felt like my life had gone up in flames.

I spent my first few months in New Orleans desperately wanting to go home to Virginia; I missed everything about my old life. But after a few months of missing home, I realized that I had a choice. I could continue dwelling on how much I missed my old home, or I could start trying to build a new home right here. I chose the latter.

The thing about New Orleans is that it is pretty hard to feel lonely here. People will open their hearts and lives to you no matter where you come from. As soon as I stopped fixating on how much I missed Virginia, I was able to begin accepting the love that people were already giving me. I joined some clubs at school, which gave me the chance to make friends and devote my time to things I am passionate about. My neighbor taught me how to cook some awesome New Orleans food, and I found a wonderful community of fellow cooks and neighbors. Overall, I seized every possible opportunity to better myself and to rebuild my life. It took years for the pain of leaving my old home to subside. But even in the midst of that pain, I never stopped trying to make a new home for myself.

4 years after my initial announcement that I hated New Orleans, I stand by my opinion that it is far too hot here. But I have stopped wanting to go home. Because of my resilience in creating a new home for myself and the love and acceptance that people have shown to me, home is right here.

The author's comments:

On finding your place.

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