Freshman year ended, thankfully. I had gotten through my first year of high school without any major issues. I was going into summer with the mindset that it would be the best one yet—I was with my best friends forever, at the time, and we were going to have a kickass summer. A few weeks into the “best summer yet” my parents dropped a bomb on my sisters and my heads. We were buying, renovating and moving into my grandparent’s house in River Falls, WI, about an hour away. We had lived in our current house, in Minnetonka, for 15 years. My family had moved in to the house three days before I was born, it was the only home I ever had, it was the only place I ever called home. I loved the big house, felt so connected to it, every memory I had was made in that house. I didn’t want to leave it behind and move to a different state.

Despite how my sisters and I felt, our Minnetonka house was put on the market. Before our for sale sign was placed in the front yard, we first had to ‘improve’ the look as the realtor said. My amazing summer turned into hours of decluttering, packing half of our belongings, and dropping them into a storage unit a few miles from home. The house had to appear bigger, according to the “expert” realtor. It was nonstop work, which meant little time for friends—I wasn’t happy to say the least.

it was on the market for four days and it sold, sadly. The neighborhood homes up for sale had been sitting on the market for months, one even over a year. We had to be completely moved out in two short months. Not thinking the house would sell so fast; we hadn’t started remodeling our Wisconsin home, which would take about a year. We had nowhere to live and just two months to find something affordable and big enough for our family of five.

My family moved to a three-bedroom apartment in Bloomington the beginning of my sophomore year. None of our relatives or friends lived near us, which was another challenge. We downsized from 5000 square feet in our Minnetonka home, with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a huge front and back yard, and enough space to never see another family member for days if you really tried, to a three tiny bedroom, 2 tiny bathrooms, 2000 square foot apartment with the kitchen and living room smashed into one small room. It was a stressful year leaving my childhood home behind against my will; I wasn’t delighted about our new smaller house. Not only was the move difficult but my senior sister Louise was also facing some difficult times with illnesses. Our family had so much on our plates; it was the most stressful year of all of our lives.

Despite all of this I still acted as the responsible one, even though I usually bit off more than I could chew. I tried to focus on school, chores, helping my sister. On top of that, I helped with the move and wondered what the next year would hold for me. I didn’t know what school I would be at, but I didn’t want to leave behind my friends and attend a small public school in the middle of nowhere. To stay at BSM, I would have to face at least an hour drive, each way, daily to school. It was a lose-lose situation.

July 1st we moved to River Falls, WI. It was a hot summer, 90 degrees and humid, and during our move in our air conditioning broke. Everyone was moved in except me, my furniture was still in storage; it made me hate the move more than I already did. None of my friends came over; it was too far for them, their parents would not let them drive an hour each way. I felt alone at this ‘home’.

To me it didn’t seem like a home, just something temporary. School was coming up and I was dreading my drive to school. Once winter hit drive times doubled or on some days tripled, the roads were horrible due to the polar vortex and the tremendous amount of snow we received. I missed about 17 days of school and Benilde was not happy, I did my best to show up on time, stay caught up in my junior year of high school, and manage my time. My efforts weren’t enough, Benilde still threatened to fail me in 3 of my 7 classes if I didn’t start arriving on time. Spring came and I was starting to like my house, although everyone I knew thought I should be in a mental hospital for letting those words come out of my house.

Moving from my childhood home was one of the worse things to happen to me—at the time. I thought I would never forgive my parents for doing this to me. Since the move I’ve never been happier, I’ve learned to love where I live even though it’s far. Our house is grandfathered in, meaning it is illegal to have a home so close to the St. Croix River in todays laws. Everyday I wake up to a beautiful view of the river and the sun peaking over the pine trees. This beauty amazes me daily. The summers are spent on the dock fishing, swimming and just laying around. The fall is filled with the most magnificent colors; red, orange, yellow, gold and green. The winters are just as gorgeous seeing the white trees and frozen water, it reminds me of the picture perfect December. It is like walking into a Christmas card. The spring filled with new life of fawns trotting across the lawn, colorful flowers blooming, and the earth starting to warm. Watching the seasons out of my window is amazing.

It was difficult getting to this point, but I wouldn’t change anything about it. Throughout this move I’ve grown up, I’ve learned to accept the things I can’t change, and I now find the beauty in everything around me. With the people you’re near, and the view you look out at everyday, home is where you make it.