Between homes in different cities

Lupita Galvan, Staff Writter

Sophomore Shilah Chhadua packs her luggage for the third time this month to ride a plane  182 miles from Austin to Dallas, where her biological father lives. Every first, third, and fifth weekend of every month Shilah goes through the process of packing, going through security, waiting for the long process that is claiming her baggage in order to see her biological father  for two days.

“When I was younger I thought it was cool,” said Shilah, looking back and laughing. “I had gotten my own cell phone, and I though I was cool. I felt independent, doing something most kids don’t do.”

Shilah has been traveling back and forth since she was seven. Now, eight years later as a fifteen year old, she has a different opinion. “It’s more of a pain in the butt,” said Shilah with a chuckle.

Ever since her parents divorce, Shilah has been back and forth. Her mom is her permanent guardian, and her blue and white house in Austin is her permanent home. Although Shilah has two homes, her permanent home remains her true home.

When I asked her this she paused and sighed, “If I had it my way, it would stay the same,” said Shilah. “I consider Austin my real home because that is where my school is.”

I value school over anything else and school is going to help my future.

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Shilah Chhadua cleans up after a science experiment. “I consider Austin my real home, because that’s where my school is. So if I went to school in Dallas, that would be my home.” Photo by Maria Jaramillo

Her education is not the only reason why she favors Austin as her home.

“When I’m not here in Austin no one else sleeps in my bed. I’m not having to share it with people. Like I know that other people use the bed I sleep on in Dallas.” 

When it comes to major holidays, Shilah spends one holiday with her mom one year, and the following year she spends it with her dad.

Going between two places throughout the year, Shilah has her favorite place to stay for different holidays. She favors her mom for the holidays in the fall and winter.

“I like Thanksgiving with my mom because we actually eat turkey,” said Shilah, smiling with excitement. “When I’m with my dad I have to eat tofurkey. Christmas I like in Austin because in Christmas we actually celebrate with Santa and all that stuff. While with my dad we don’t really celebrate.”

But she favors her dad’s house for the holidays in the spring and summer.

“I like Spring Break with my dad because we usually go skiing or snowboarding. And Summer is fun with my dad. He’s usually working, so I can go wherever I want to go [in the house,] I do crazy things.”

Although Shilah has favorites for which holidays she likes to spend with who, her Austin home reigns true and feels more like a home.

“In my house in Dallas we are all independent, the house is so big we are usually on our own most of the time,” said Shilah. “In my house in Austin, we all work together.”