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*Just Jade*

Personal Reflection Essay

Rod, Steven, and I playing in the rain


                                    have always been a very independent person.  Coming from a large family, I was
                                    number four, out of five children. I learned my title in the pack early on.  I
                                    was the “Independent One.”  Whether it was nature or nurture I’m
                                    not sure.  
                                    Moving to Edmond, Oklahoma was a huge step for everyone.  I was in shock
                                    at first.  We were used to Paris, TX, a small town with a population of only 25,000.  Things were different in the city.  I
                                    watched as my older sister, who was a junior in high school, instantly had her curfew pushed back 30 more minutes just from
                                    the move.  My parents were pretty strict in Paris, would things change here?  I was hopeful.
                                    Time passed and 7th grade year soon turned into my junior year in high school.  I waited, very impatiently, for my curfew to change from 11:00pm to 11:30. 
                                    Every night at dinner during the first week of school, I gazed around the dinner table hoping to spark the all-important
                                    conversation.  I was deterred several times by one of my sisters, who was now
                                    in college.  Apparently, the college life suited her well, for that was all she
                                    talked about.  I was deterred but also determined. 
                                    Finally, a few weeks into school, I was leaving to join my friends at the movies when my mom yelled,  “Be home at 11:30.”  From then on I came home at
               I soon got tired of my curfew.  11:30 wasn’t as late as I once remember it to be when I was in 7th
                                    grade.  I knew what was ahead of me, senior year curfew would move up to 12:00am.  I thought back to when my sister griped about her 12:00am curfew.  I could not figure out why she was so unhappy with it, but now I knew. 
                                    My mother always ended their argument with ”12:00am is the beginning of tomorrow. 
                                    See you tomorrow.”
                                    Where had my sister gone wrong?  I had to figure it out.  A few days later, it happened.  It was a perfect plan and I
                                    knew it.  A short but parent free summer trip. 
                                    I concurred with my friends and after weeks of debating and weighing our limited options, we decided on taking a trip
                                    to Turner Falls, now for the hard part.  My older, college happy, sister came
                                    in very handy.  She would speak to mom and dad on my behalf.  Once she opened their minds up a little, I would swoop in for the kill. 
                                    My sister made me wait a few weeks before I started talking about the trip.  I
                                    was hard but she assured me that it would be best.  Finally, after weeks of anticipation,
                                    all of the friends, except one, were aloud to go on the trip.  I knew I had accomplished
                                    the impossible.  All of my siblings were astonished, which brought on the “I
                                    didn’t get to do that when I was her age,” speech.
                                    In the days approaching the trip that was all I could think about, but me being ever the procrastinator I didn’t
                                    prepare until the night before.  I had gotten off of work around ten o’clock and decided to take a trip to Wal-Mart
                                    to see if I could find a bathing suit, since I had not purchased a new one in two years.  After I picked one out I went
                                    in search of snacks to take.  
                                    The morning of the trip I woke up at 4:15am and was at my friend Rod’s house at five.  Not only was I going on a trip without any parents, I was going with all boys.   As we were leaving
                                    Rod’s house his mother preformed a Persian ritual for safe travel.  She circled the Koran over both our heads as
                                    she recited something in Farsi then poured out a bowl of water that had special herbs in it.  I guess she was nervous
                                    because I was the one driving.   We then went to pick up our friend Steven, who really didn’t enjoy getting
                                    up early, but we promised him McDonald’s for breakfast to get him to agree.  On the way to Turner Falls we listened
                                    to Disney songs, because we all love them and know all the words.  Rod was seated in the front and was my navigator and
                                    we arrived without a hitch.
                                    That was the moment.  I could hear the freedom bells ringing as I sang
                                    along to a song from “The Lion King.”  “The Independent One,”
                                    was finally free.  Of course, my parents did help navigate some of my decisions
                                    during my senior year but for the most part I had freedom and no curfew.  I remind
                                    my younger brother, when I drive those two miles to my parent’s house to visit, that he owes me big.  He will be a senior next year.
Rod and Steven both left for college but we still keep in touch.  I am going to visit both of them this summer, but I will always remember my first trip as one of the best experiences of my life.  Sleeping in a tent, eating S’mores and listening to Elton John sing the song of my independence and freedom.