What is your life like?
Well, currently I’m visiting Ann Arbor. But I live in Palmdale, California, with my dad, my stepmom, [my] two stepsisters and my brother. I moved at the beginning of June. As much as I love Ann Arbor and I love my school, Community, I didn’t have a good home. And my dad retired recently from the Air Force, so I could live with him. That was the main reason why I didn’t live with him before; he was stationed all over the place. So he brought up, ‘Oh, well why don’t you just come to live with me in California?’ Yeah, that’s kind of how it started.
What do you miss about Community and Ann Arbor?
I miss everything. I miss my teachers at Community. I miss them so much. I miss having a forum. I miss going to Kerrytown for lunch, getting sweetwaters every day [and] downtown. There’s none of that in my town, in Palmdale. Everything felt so much more personal at Community [and] because everything’s online, I haven’t been able to form any sort of relationship with my teachers and even my fellow students.
What has been the hardest part of moving?
Just the isolation. I know a lot of people are going through that with quarantine, obviously, but I’ve been in complete isolation because I haven’t been able to meet anybody because of [COVID-19]. I live in [Los Angeles] County, so everything’s been on complete lockdown for a very long time. I’m a very social person, so I don’t like being by myself, but I’ve kind of been forced to.
How does it make you feel to be back?
It feels so good. It felt really good to see my family and friends. I missed the cold weather; I used to hate it. But after months of 100-degree weather and the wildfires, you miss having four seasons. We almost had to evacuate [because of the wildfires], and I have asthma, so I had to be careful. The air would be super smoky and gray, and I would walk outside and my car would be covered in ash. It was really bad. I couldn’t go outside for a while.
What has been good about moving?
Well, it’s been really good to spend so much time with my dad because usually I only see him [for] a week or two at a time, two or three times a year. Three times [was] a lot. So now I’m with him all the time which has been really cool. And I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with my dogs. I have three dogs in California, and that’s definitely been nice; I’ve always wanted a dog, and I didn’t have any here, so now it’s an overload. Also, I’ve had a lot of time to focus on myself and school. I don’t really have any other distractions.
What do you wish you could have told yourself before you moved?
I would tell myself to take the time to enjoy everything I have. And tell people that I love them and that I care about them. Because when you go four months without seeing anybody, you really realize, ‘Oh, dang, I miss this person more than I thought I would.’ So I would tell myself to go and tell everyone that I love them. And enjoy all the things that are available here. Like all the things to do outdoors here in Ann Arbor. I totally took that for granted, because there’s not much to do in Palmdale unless you want to drive out to LA. There’s so much to do here. So I would tell myself to go to the Arb more, and go to the [Argo] Cascades, enjoy the Huron River, go downtown and eat at all the different restaurants. There are such cool restaurants here. [I also would tell myself to] just appreciate my friends. Try not to be on your phone when you’re with them because you can be on your phone all you want when you’re by yourself.
What helps you feel better in Palmdale?
Being physically active. I’ve found that I like super intense cardio like sprinting and stuff like that. Because you get so tired where you don’t have the capacity to think about, your anxieties and your fears and all the things you have to do. The only thing you’re thinking about is. ‘Oh my god, I can barely breathe right now.’ I also really like reading. It helps me relate to people. I just finished “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou; I totally recommend it. “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates is also really good.
What is your plan for the future?
It’s still kind of up in the air, but I think I may return back to Ann Arbor for my senior year, which is really exciting. And then there’s college. I’m really excited about college: super, super excited. I’ve been working hard this year with my classes for that reason. I would really love to be some type of medical doctor. I’m not sure what specialty or any of that yet, but I’ve been talking to a couple of people that work at the [University of Michigan], and I’m seriously considering medical school.