My trip around the world: No place like home

A photo from the early 2000s, Lilly swims under water in Puerto Rico.

photo courtesy of Dennis Player

A photo from the early 2000’s, Lilly swims under water in Puerto Rico.

by Lilly Player, Reporter

Since I was little, my family has moved from state to state. My father is an airline pilot, and each time he moves up or changes jobs, he has to live near the base of the airline.  I’ve had a constant cycle of packing up my bedroom, unpacking, and then re-packing it. While many people are envious of my travels, it gets tiring. Each place I move to there is a fear of “How long are we staying?” “Will I make friends?”  “What should I un-pack?” Every place has taught me something valuable, given me memories to last a lifetime, and changed the way I think.

Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands- I lived in Grand Cayman as a young child due to my dad being a pilot for Cayman Airways. I lived by a family-owned resort and spent my childhood painting t-shirts and swimming in pools, as well as oceans. I was pretty young when I lived here, so most of the lessons I learned were focused on my behaviour and tantrums. 

San Juan, Puerto Rico- I lived in Puerto Rico for one year, and I attended an all Spanish private Catholic school. In the mornings we would pray the rosary and say the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish, and we wore scratchy uniforms. I remember loving the outdoor cafeteria because they had slushies and doughnuts, and high school kids would dance and sing to the High School Musical 2 soundtrack. While in San Juan I learned fluent Spanish and how hard it is to be away from family.

The Caribbean- I lived on a 72-foot sailboat for six months, sailing around the Caribbean and stopping at each island. My mom made me keep a journal where I logged what we did each day on each island, and I taped a shell or a flower, or some artifact from each item into the journal, as well as a taped photo from that island. I would do research and write about the history of each island. Then we would take the dingy to shore and explore, eating amazing food and spending too much money at the markets. We would anchor far out at sea and jump in to cool off, swimming around and paddle boarding. This was an experience I will hold with me forever. It was here that I learned to always wear sunscreen. Always.

Waupaca, Wisconsin- I was in Waupaca, Wisconsin for 6th grade. I made friends and lived in a beautiful house on the lake right next to a mini-golf course. It was here that I also faced some struggles with family and felt the loss of friends when I had to move away. I got to experience football games, Wisconsin pride, and developed a newfound love for cheese. In Waupaca I learned that not everyone is going to want to be your friend, and that’s okay because there are still plenty of people who do.

Brooklyn, New York- New York was by far my favorite. At first I felt out of place, being one of three white students at a predominantly black school, with no close friends and a huge cultural difference. After a while of sitting with girls I never talked to, I met my best friend, Stephanie. We started hanging out every day going to bakeries, Brooklyn Bridge Park and on adventures to Coney Island for the weekend. Living in Brooklyn meant I either walked everywhere or took the train. I came to learn which trains I could rely on to be on time and which ones to never take. One of the hardest things about moving is becoming attached to people and having to leave them. On the day I moved Stephanie stood with me and cried, and my world felt incomplete and dull without my best friend to be there with me. While in New York I went to a film school with a staff that was also predominantly black. It was a big culture shock for me, because I came from Linganore. In Brooklyn I learned about different cultures and got to learn about the greatness of diverse schools.

Miami Beach, Florida- Living in Miami Beach was pretty fun, except for on days when it was unbearably hot. After school I would ride my bike home and go to the beach, or to the Pier. On weekends my mom and I would have brunch and drive to Virginia Key, a wildlife park/beach. I rode my bike everywhere, and would oftentimes bring my dogs with me. My school was outdoors, and I had to walk outside to get to different buildings and the office. We wore uniforms, and everyone there looked like they just left a magazine shoot. I also felt pretty out of place, as most of the student body was Hispanic, including the staff. One thing I miss is swimming with the manatees at the beach and running on the boardwalk in the afternoons, where you can smell the ocean and feel the cool breeze.

In South Beach Miami, I saw some drug trafficking and prostitution. I learned that you need to carry pepper spray at night and not to feed the stray cats (a lot of them have rabies).

Frederick, Maryland- No matter where I’ve moved to, I always come back home to Maryland. My dad, Dennis Player, graduated from Linganore in 1991, and all of his family is here. Growing up on my grandparents’ farm, I’ve learned to appreciate how hard farmers work for the produce we consume. I would run barefoot in horse fields and race my cousins on the four wheelers. No matter where I end up, I miss my home state and the farm, as well as all the tractors and animals. In Frederick I learned what it means to have a home, even after being a nomad, and how amazing it feels to return back to home.