Sunday, Dec. 18, 12:34 p.m., Ponchatoula, Louisiana — Too fast. Everything is moving too fast. I want time to slow down, just for a moment, so that I can have a chance to just think about everything that is happening.
Since the month the hurricane hit, I have lost my house and lived in a hotel, dorm room, and camper. I have enrolled in three different schools, had three different American History teachers, and slept in six different beds. Six different beds.
My friend told me that Christmas is in a week. One week. I laughed because I thought he was joking, speaking crazy talk. That was until I looked at my phone and added 7 to 18. That equals 25, and Christmas is on day 25. Christmas is in one week.
This isn’t like any Christmas I’ve ever had before. There aren’t any decorations. I’m not running around, screaming Christmas carols, and embarrassing my friends. We don’t have any room for a real tree, so instead we have a tiny 17-inch one from Target. We keep it on the table, but I don’t like it because it takes too much room when we are trying to eat.
Maybe it’s different for other displaced families with houses. Maybe it’s just my family. I don’t know. This Christmas isn’t like anything we’ve had before. My dad won’t be home; he’ll be in St. Bernard working. I don’t know where we will be going for Christmas Day, probably only to my grandparents’ house trailer again, to see them and spend time with them.
Then I will come home into my little camper, where there is hardly any evidence of Christmas. I guess it doesn’t matter. Not really. I bought a few little things for my friends for Christmas, but I don’t get to see them often anymore. I have no idea when I will be able to give them their presents.
I hope soon. After all, Christmas is only a week away.
Samantha Perez is a Reporter for Youth Journalism International.