Oh, the places you’ll go

Experiencing different cultures across America difficult, but beneficial

Five states. From sunshine to chilled air. From living by the ocean to living in the literal heart of winter. A constant pulling from one place to another, one new face to another. This was how I spent my childhood: moving.

I have lived everywhere: California, Ohio, Georgia, Wisconsin, and now Texas. All of these places, while different, have impacted and surprised me.

I never thought that I could jump out of a two-story window and have snow catch my fall, but I learned while in Wisconsin that there is always enough snow. 

I never imagined that I would be sitting in 106-degree weather, but that is what moving to Texas gets you.

Moving so much has shown me many positives and negatives that come with living in new places.

One positive thing that has come from my move is that I have friends all over the country. I feel like I find at least one person no matter where I move that I continue to keep in touch with.

 Having to make new friends frequently has helped me become more open and outgoing when I need to be. I know how to talk to new people, and that is a skill that can be useful in many areas of my life.

Another positive that I have noticed from moving so much is that I have experienced so many different things already. I know some people who have never left their home state, and to think I have lived in five different states at 17 years old is crazy. 

Like different countries, different states have different cultures. It has been interesting to see the shift in how people act and communicate, even though they are all Americans. 

I don’t remember California or Ohio, but Georgia, Wisconsin, and Texas all have distinct cultures.

In Georgia, the schools stuck out to me when I moved there. It was very old-fashioned and different from my previous school. The teachers were strict and there was no talking at lunch tables.

In Wisconsin, the culture surrounding food and football was a huge part of everyone’s lives. It’s true that people from Wisconsin love their cheeses, as well as fish fries on Fridays. They also love the Packers and will make fun of the Vikings at any opportunity.

In Texas, what stuck out to me most was Southern hospitality. Everyone here is extremely nice and welcoming. When you walk into a restaurant, you don’t feel like you are a burden to the staff.

By being thrown into so many different cultures, I have grown to appreciate the unique characteristics of different groups. I enjoy finding the differences and similarities in places I go.

One last positive thing that has come from all the times I’ve moved is that I look forward to new experiences and am not afraid to try new things. Because I have had to put myself out there to meet new people, I find that now I am excited about new situations, and I like to push myself out of my comfort zone.

While there are many positives that come with moving, I also have learned that there are negatives as well.

One negative thing that goes hand-in-hand with moving is that I always had to start over.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to meet new people and go to new places, but having to continue to go to new schools is scary, especially since most of the time I never knew anyone.

Another negative thing about moving is the weather. When I moved from Georgia to Wisconsin, in the middle of winter, it was a shock. Having to adjust to temperatures that are different than what I was used to was difficult. (I also hate the cold, so maybe that is just a negative thing about moving to Wisconsin).

The most prominent disadvantage of moving is having to say goodbye to the people. When I left Wisconsin, even though I was excited about a new chapter in my life, I was heartbroken about leaving my friends behind. Even though moving away from them is hard, it showed which friendships were real and even thrive though we are miles apart.

Moving, or trying anything new, can be scary and exciting. Leaving things behind can be hard, but the reward is worth it.

I think everyone should do something that is out of their comfort zone, though maybe not as extreme as moving, but trying new things makes life fun and exciting and opens so many doors.