My North Dakota Story

By Larree Ann Janssen

I shouldn’t be living here. I should be living on a beach in California, enjoying the hot sun. But instead, my parents chose to move me away from my birth town, and move me to a much colder place, North Dakota.

When I was born, my parents had planned to move to the mountains of Idaho and live a life excluded from society. However in a debate between there and Montana, where my mom's parents and dads birth parents lived, they finally came to a conclusion of moving to Montana. I lived there for most of my childhood. Then when I was about 10, my parents sat down Adrian, my half brother, and me and told us that we would be moving to a different state. I expected it to be Idaho or California. But instead, they told me we were moving to the flat landed state called North Dakota.

We moved on August 12, 2008. Our house wasn't ready for us when we arrived, so my dad's adoptive parents had us stay with them until we were able to move in. While we were living with them, I started 5th grade. At our before school meeting in the gym, they introduced all the new students in the different grades. When my name was called, I was bawling my eyes out and i refused to stand up and wave.

Since I was the new kid,I always assumed that no one would have an interest in being my friend. So I went through my elementary years being a bit rebellious. I didn't listen to the teachers and I never really tried at my homework. Students and teachers I started to assume that I would be the bad kid. This didn't help at all when it came to people assuming i was just like my brother.I thought it would be a great idea to be bad. After my 6th grade year problems arose between my half brother and my parents. After my brother was caught stealing and lying, he tried to make things right.

Adrian joined the military the winter of 2009. I questioned for months if it would ever be true that my brother would really be in the Guards and actually stay in it. But in the end my guess was right. I had never been more proud of my brother then the moment at his National Guard graduation when I saw him marching with all the other soldiers. But after that, things only got worse. When my brother returned he thought he was invincible and could rule and control over anyone and anything.

My brother never learned his lesson but I learned mine. I learned to trust few and help only the ones you can trust. Even after being kicked out of the National Guard, Adrian still disrespected people and believed he was best. In all of the mess, I don't think my family knew how much I was affected from the choices that were made. I was always put last and put for blame. In school, people always said lies about me and would say I'm just like my brother. I knew I had to prove them wrong because I knew I was stronger than their words.

After a couple of years struggling to be better, I joined this life changing thing called speech and theater. When I was a 8th grader, a new teacher came to our school and reintroduced speech to our community and took control of our theater program. I had never been in or interested in plays before. But I knew I had to change up my life. I went to the auditions and interest meetings and eventually fell in love with the stage.

I started pretty bad for my first year in theater, but then again, who doesn't? I first qualified in speech my freshman year and after that the only way was up for me. I kept getting better and made all the best choices. I stayed out of trouble and proved to anyone that had ever doubted me wrong. Yeah, sometimes I look back and question what my life would be like if I would have chosen a much different route, but I think in the end I picked the right path.

Now I am on my last year of high school and still working hard at my theater life. I picked up a pretty good talent for photography in the long run also. So I guess in the end, not living on a hot sunny beach in california was for the best. Even if North Dakota is colder than Alaska on some days, it will always be my home.