For fifteen years of my life, my home was San Diego. I could not imagine living anywhere else. I was very connected with the community around me. I had attended the same school since kindergarten and had an excellent relationship with all of my teachers who knew me well. I was surrounded with friends that I had known since I was quite young. I was very happy.


Moving to Houston was like coming to a different country. Stepping out of the air-conditioned airport, I was immediately blasted with the air, so hot and thick I was surprised that I was able to draw breath.

Houston was flat. One could look for miles into the distance with their view unobstructed by anything. The palm trees I had become so accustomed to were gone. The vibrant hues of the San Diego sky were replaced with those of a paler color. “Y’all” pervaded every conversation, clearly marking the different area.

My new school’s environment was something I was not used to. My classmates were different than they had been at my former school. Most of them were not serious about school like I was. Cheating was a huge problem, and I was startled by the amount of people who did cheat. Further, like many public high schools, drugs were a definite issue. I remember walking into the bathroom surprised to find it reeking of marijuana. The atmosphere was so different from the sheltered life I had been living in California. I doubted that I would find any friends at all.

For the majority of the time, I kept to myself. I talked to hardly anyone and rarely raised my hand in class like I used to so frequently. I was filled with an overwhelming shyness that I was not used to. Putting myself out there, which had once come so naturally, was now an ordeal. I kept quiet and did not interact very much with those around me.

This got me nowhere. Understandably, people were not interested in the quiet girl in the corner. Being reserved, keeping to myself was easy, but I hardly made any friends. I found that most people won’t come to you; you have to go to them.

However, one day, one girl did approach me. As usual, I was sitting alone at lunch, scribbling on a piece of a paper so it looked like I was doing something, when a girl I had never seen before came up to me.

“Y’always sittin’ alone, and I always sittin’ alone. So we gonna sit togetha,” she said abruptly as she plopped herself down next to me.

This girl and I could not have been more different from each other. We were from different grades, different socioeconomic groups, and different worlds, but from that day on, we sat together at lunch every day.


Looking back on this, I realize how incredibly brave this girl was. She was willing to befriend someone different.  She inspired me to do the same.

I started talking to anyone I could, regardless of who they were. Through these means, I got to know many different people. I had people to talk about homework with and  people to walk to my classes with. Many of these people were like my lunch friend, people I was surprised to find myself talking to. People will surprise you, though. These people were not my lifelong friends, we had hardly anything in common, but they were willing to know me, willing to talk to me. I found this to be enough.

I am guilty of being a fairly judgmental person. I found, however, that you have to be less so if you want to make friends. No one is perfect, everyone has faults; if you look hard enough you can find something to dislike in anyone. Instead of focusing on the weaker points of a person, you have to look for their redeeming qualities and focus on those instead. If the person is worth it, their good qualities can overshadow their bad ones.

I made my closer friends in theatre. Theatre is my passion, so I decided to audition for my school’s drama group at the end of the year. I became happier doing something I loved with people who were equally passionate.

It takes time to become comfortable in a new setting. Moving is not easy, and most people probably do not adjust immediately. I still miss my life in San Diego, and I probably always will. People tell you that things will get better, and you don’t believe them. Things do get better, though. You just have to give yourself and those around you a chance.

Leave a Reply