This week’s mini-memoir was written by my friend, Tricia!
When I was 12 years old, I moved from my hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, to Albuquerque, New Mexico. My mom packed up everything in our tiny pink stucco house, and we moved in with my grandparents in Albuquerque while my mom got her masters in education.
I’d been to Albuquerque many times to visit my grandparents, aunts, and cousins. To me, Albuquerque was a vacation—a place where we went to the balloon fiesta, ate sopapillas (delicious deep-fried pillows of dough) with honey for lunch, and visited my favorite Native American jewelry store. It was not a place where I lived, where I went to school.
I knew no one.
I remember my first day at school like a movie. I wore my favorite sneakers and my favorite long grey skirt that tied in the front. I also had to wear a collared shirt because Hoover had a dress code. I walked up to the large, concrete front of the building where all the students congregated. Huge backpacks hung off of tiny shoulders, weighed down by large keychain collections—the kind that said things like, “I’m awesome and you’re a bitch” with a shiny yellow smiley face.
A girl walking by with a friend stopped and walked toward me.
“Hey,” the girl said.
“Hi!” I said back. I was so happy that someone had talked to me.
“Are you new here?” she asked.
“Yes,” I said. “I just moved here.”
“So you don’t know anyone?” she asked. “You don’t have any friends?”
“No,” I said, kind of embarrassed but still trying to smile.
I was sure that this was the moment that she’d invite me to hang out with her and her friend. My mind flashed with a picture of the three of us strolling down the hallway of the school, linking arms. Other students would look at us with jealousy. I couldn’t believe my good luck.
“Oh,” she said. “That sucks.”
She turned around and walked away, rejoining with the girl she’d left behind and walking to the entrance at the other side of the school.
I watched as my first chance at a friend walked away, and students began swirling around me, pushing through the crowd to get to their lockers.
I couldn’t believe someone could be so mean, even if it was middle school.
My first few months were hard, but eventually things got a lot easier. It took a while, but I made two of my best friends to this day at Hoover Middle School.
When I left Albuquerque at 22 and moved to New York City, I thought back to how hard it was to adjust to somewhere completely new. I thought that the reason moving had been so hard in 7th grade was because, hello, it’s seventh grade, and I was a shy, nervous, extremely self-conscious 12-year-old. But moving to New York sometimes made me feel like I was right back at Hoover, standing outside the school while everyone else pushed past me, surrounded by their hoards of long-standing friends. Now, two years later, I have many friends that I adore, a great apartment, and an awesome job. I wouldn’t have achieved any of it without the initial struggle.
Moving is never easy. If you’ve just moved somewhere, don’t stress and understand that friends will come. If you know someone who just moved, invite them out for coffee or a drink! You will brighten their day, and in turn yours as well.