This will be part one of three parts. Many years ago, I was at a retreat and the priest was a priest who was in Guatamala for many years and had actually adopted boys from there and he had lived in the states in between sometimes and at this time was put back in the states. I asked him where he likes it best, the states or working missions. He looked at me and said, very thoughtful "I like it best wherever I am." Wow, what a humble priest! This is not the answer I expected. So wherever I am, I try to "like it best."
As a child, growing up, our family moved 5 times to California and back to MN. (one of those times I was a baby, so I guess that does not count) One of those moves was also from Northern CA to Southern CA and then back to MN. I spent every year of my high school in a different school. (we always went to public schools) My Kindergarden year and my 5th grade year were in Anaheim and Santa Rosa, CA. My mom is from CA and my dad is from MN. I guess we moved when she got homesick.
Now, as a 10th grader living in MN, yes, I did want to move. (who wouldn't want to live in sunny CA?) But I grew up (mostly) in a small town, everyone knew everyone. For the last 5 years I had the same friends and was almost allowed to date!! (I had to be 16) Boys were waiting.
Well, we moved to Santa Rosa, in northern CA, we had an aunt and uncle there and 2 cousins so that was nice. However, there were so many kids in the schools that no one knew I was new. I was used to our small town, where everyone flocks to the new kid (especially me) to get to know them. My junior year was my hardest of all. I was in drama, but that still did not help. Kids already had their friends. I ended up getting a job (at good old Burger King) and worked there every day almost and went to school. I literally had NO friends.
On a side note, my mom had a baby in February of that year, so that was a highlight. I loved helping my mom with the little ones. (he just turned 22 now!)
My dad ended up finding a job in Long Beach (Southern CA) and would drive down there every week and stay with my Grandma. I think it was like 12 hours, not sure on that though. So when school got out, we moved down to Riverside, in Southern CA. Now we were closer to more aunts and uncles and my grandma. This time I decided to be the one to make friends. I did not get a job and I made friends and fell in love with my Algebra teacher. I loved school that year. There were gangs everywhere, but I learned to stay away. There were the Crips and the Cholos and Cholas. The Cholos and Cholas were the mexican gangs, male and female. The males wore really, really white tennis shoes, black pants and a really, really white t-shirt under a really, really white dress shirt only buttoned at the top and they wore hair nets. Well, we rode home on the bus with these kids and one time I sat behind one of the Cholos, he was a 9th or 10th grader, younger than me, his cholas friends looked at me, glared at me really, as if I was going to steal him away or something. I asked him "Why do you wear a hair net?" They all looked at me like how dare me talk to them and ask them such a question. I then said "I'm from MN, people don't dress like that there, I was just wondering why you do it?" The girls still glaring at me, I saw him almost in a sigh of relief, he just answered me. "I wear it so when I get out of the shower, my hair will stay exactly the same." "Oh, ok, thanks!" We never spoke again, but I always wondered why, still, since no one would see his hair being exactly the same because the hair net was on....
We had grad night at Disneyland, 11pm until 6am! It was a blast! I remember Wang Chung was there and my husband still teases me about them being my favorite group, which they were not, they were just there! Also Glass Tiger and some other singer I cannot remember who! It was a great way to end our time in CA, because my family had the moving van there when I got home. I remember laying on a pile of blankets trying to sleep while everyone moved things into the truck. That was the last move. My parents have been here for 20 years now. (almost 21)
I did not have a great high school life, but that's ok, I can talk to anyone at anytime, anywhere. I am not shy. Having to make my own friends, and having to always meet new people, has, I hope helped me somehow.
Lord, help me to be thankful for past experiences good and bad, because I know You only bring good out of those if I let You.