By Carmen Lee-Bennett

I have always been the type of person that doesn’t like change. Ok. Sometimes I do. It really just depends on how big of a change it is and how much it will affect my life. Well… the news I was given around October 2019 was for a huge change and it will probably be one that will affect my life forever.

Last year at the end of October, my dad came home with news that my family and I may move to America for his job.

I knew it was going to be a hard transition but not ever did I think, “Next year, I am going to move to a completely different country, miles and miles away from home, during a global pandemic and still try to get good grades.”

I’ve always been a hard-worker, being on top of my work as well as being at the top of my classes, but the fact that I still set that expectation for myself today makes everyone think I am crazy!

But enough of this nonsense, let me talk about how it was.

Where it all started

It was the end of October in the year 2019. I remember watching TV and my dad asking if my sister and I could have his attention for a minute. My mom and dad sat down next to my sister and I on the sofa and told us about his opportunity to get a job in America. To be honest, I was trying not to get too excited as my dad said he may not get the job, however inside, I was ecstatic! 

Visiting

A few months later- in February 2020- I was on the first plane to go to America and visit (yes, there were two planes we had to go on, one being nine hours, and one being two!). I can’t explain how much excitement I had inside me (even though there was a little kid in the seat in front of me as well as two babies crying for the nine hours I was on the plane). I felt so unbelievably grateful for having this opportunity to move to America, even though at the time, I didn’t know if it was going to happen or not.

When I arrived, the whole area was full of snow–it was a winter wonderland in which I have never experienced before! In England, it snowed twice in my whole life (and the snow lasted around two days. However, for everyone, it was still just as exciting as it was when I saw the snow in Buffalo).

COVID-19 hits

A few months after my family and I visited our future home for the first time, COVID-19 occured. At the time, it seemed like nothing but an event that resulted in my school and I staying home and doing school online, but after a few months, it seemed much worse. My dad had to move to America before me, my sister, and my mom. This was because it was the best thing to do if COVID was to grow… and it did. For a few months, my mom, sister, and I were stuck in England while my dad was in America. It was a hard few months. Every night, we used to FaceTime my dad and wish we could go on a plane and fly to America to be reunited, but it was months until that happened. For the duration of my time in England, I did online school and fantasized about America. Until finally, in July, we found a very confusing and difficult way to get to our new home and see our dad after being months apart.

Dominican Republic

It was challenging as travel restrictions were changing every day. However, we found a way to 

get to America, but first, we had to quarantine. The place we spent the two weeks of our quarantine was Dominican Republic–not too bad! 

After a week in Dominican, my dad surprised us and came for the next week! The whole experience was amazing and it definitely felt like more of a holiday rather than a place to quarantine (however just a few days before we were going to leave, a hurricane hit… but that’s a story for another time).

Finally arriving

After two weeks of quarantining, we finally arrived at our new home! I was so happy to finally be in my new house and not too mad that I had to stay inside it and not be allowed out for a few weeks (due to COVID-19). All of our furniture was still at our old house and in storage and we were struggling to sell our house due to COVID-19 restrictions, so as I am writing this, (in December) we still have no furniture from England! 

But it was September and before I knew it, I was starting school! It was a little odd though because school was online via google meet and zoom.

Challenges

I have experienced many challenges here in America, and struggling to make friends has been one of them. Obviously I moved from England–a place in which I spent my whole life in–which means I have quite a strong English accent. Whenever I talk, I always have to be prepared to say it again… and maybe another time too! To be completely honest, I am not really fussed about it because I know it can be hard to understand other people’s accent. Although, sometimes it can be a little frustrating–and especially with masks for COVID-19, even less people can understand what I say! 

Every day I find new challenges (for example how the school systems are completely different!) not only with moving from England to America, but also challenges due to COVID-19 as well. I guess you can say my life has been crazy due to COVID-19, but nevertheless, I am still so grateful for this opportunity!

I hope that later on in the year, I’ll be able to look back on my experiences 2020 gave me and laugh, knowing that even though some experiences have been tough, I was so lucky to be there and experience them!

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