What I’ve Learned from Living in Four Different States

When I was young, my family and I moved around a lot. I was born in California but moved to Oregon when I was in Kindergarten. Then we moved to Massachusetts when I was in third grade and left for Washington when I was 12. When I turned 16, we moved back to California and I’ve lived there since, but when people ask me where I’m from, I can’t really give them an answer.

At the time, while we were in the middle of moving and I had to switch schools for the umpteenth time, I resented it all. I was angry with my parents for making my brothers and me leave all of our friends, and I was angry with our new home for not being as good as our old one. However, as I’ve grown up and gone away to college on the other side of the country, I’ve realized what a blessing it has been to know so many different people from all walks of life and to get to experience so many different cities.

I was born in Palo Alto and spent my first six years in a small town called Burlingame. Believe it or not, I’m still friends with my first-ever friend who I met when I was probably three. I don’t remember much from this town aside from playing in my front yard and inviting people over to use my tree swing, but I will always cherish this town because it was the first place I lived.

When we moved to Oregon, I was in first grade (or late kindergarten, I can’t remember) and by this time I was old enough to make some memories. I lived on a cul-de-sac and knew everyone in my neighborhood, which made it easy to make friends. Since then, I have yet to live in such a tight-knit community and it is something that I will always appreciate. Oregon was also the first place I saw and played in the snow, so it will hold a special place in my heart.

At around age 9, we moved from Oregon to Lexington, Massachusetts, which marked a huge transition in our lives. We were abandoning the West coast for the unfamiliar and cold East coast. All I remember from that move was being extremely jet-lagged all the time and not wanting to go to school. We moved in the middle of the school year, so I felt even more like the odd man out and struggled at first to make friends. A funny anecdote from this trying time was when my teacher called my parents to ask how I was doing because I hadn’t turned in any homework for the past month. It’s hilarious to look back on now, but at the time my parents were so upset with me. But third grade didn’t last for long and Lexington ended up being one of my favorite places to live. I am still good friends with my friends from elementary and middle school, and my mom is still so close to the friends she made. Part of me knows that I decided to go to school on the East coast because I loved it so much when I was living here.

We moved to Seattle, Washington during the summer after 7th grade, and it was a rough move because my parents were in the process of getting a divorce. Although that transition was hard, Seattle ended up being an amazing place to live. We had a house near the lake and our neighborhood was full of kids close to the ages of my brothers and me. I was only at school in Seattle for 8th grade because I went to a boarding high school in California, but I made close friends who I still make an effort to see every year. Living in Seattle taught me a lot about growth, independence, and how to rely on a support system other than your family to be there for you.

Finally, we moved back to California, but instead of living in central California we moved to Southern California. San Diego is unlike any place I have lived thus far; it is truly in a world of its own. That can be a good thing sometimes, but mostly I feel very disconnected from the world. People always tell me how lucky I am to live where they vacation, but in my opinion, San Diego is better as a tourist destination than as a place to live full-time. Nevertheless, I met so many cool and interesting people who make coming home for break so much fun. I still don’t know how to surf, but I’ve learned to take everything with a grain of salt and take time to decompress when I’m at home, which is something people take for granted sometimes.

I’ve loved every place I’ve lived thus far and look forward to experiencing more cities, states, and countries in the future. Moving around so much has made me a pretty adaptable person and I wouldn’t change that for anything.


Cover photo credit: Concept Draw


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