As the older sibling it was always my duty to step in and help where I could, but over the years (and as my brothers grew up) the roles switched and I had sort of been in a downward spiral ever since.
I was living in a rundown apartment; the cheapest I could find that wasn't on the news every other day because someone was shot or killed there. I had just lost my dream job. I was living with roomates who just didn't seem to get the situation and my boyfriend was struggling to help me make ends meet on 30 hours a week at $9 an hour.
We were at the end of our rope, having no job prospects and getting behind on bills because of a sheer lack of money.
So, when my Airforce brother called me asking for help, I was about as close to rock bottom as I could ever remember being.
He had been deployed overseas for about three months when he called me. His wife, my sister-in-law, was also in the airforce and struggling to raise their 6-month-old baby. She was tired, not getting any sleep and had just been in a pretty dramatic car accident that left her shaken and down to one gas guzzling vehicle.
Still, I wanted to help, because that's my job as a big sister.
When I told him I would do it, I didn't spare any thought for how we would manage it. My first instinct was to help my brother.
He called me back about an hour later with tickets for myself and my boyfriend set to fly out in two weeks.
In a mad panic, we started packing up our lives. My boyfriend put in his two-weeks notice and luckily for us they offered to keep him on until the absolute last day he could work.
Unfortunately, this left me to pack up our entire lives by myself.
I crammed everything I could into two suitcases, packed as much into a carryon back-pack as I could and sold, stored or gave away everything that was left.
Two days into the packing I was panicking; two weeks was not enough time. The tickets were too expensive to back out of. There wasn't enough room for all the things we needed.
As it turns out, we needed a lot less than we thought we did.
We packed our favorite outfits and gave the others to a local thrift-store. We crammed all of our clothes into zip-lock bags for space. We packed all of our pictures and our toiletries. Our safe boxes and our most sentimental objects. Anything that we couldn't bring we gave to our parents for safekeeping.
After about a week and a half, the reality began to completely sink in: we were completely uprooting ourselves to move across the country. We only knew one person who lived there (my sister-in-law) and we had only met her once for about a week.
To top it off, there were stories on the news about terrorist attacks in nearby airports.
When the day came, my dad drove us to the airport, where we called all our family members to let them know we were boarding.
We took pictures every step of the way, and (thanks to my dad) were able to afford a meal or two in the airports.
After a long series of flights, we were exhausted and unsure of our decision.
Nevertheless, when we set foot in Idaho, we felt as if a huge weight had been lifted.
When I saw the snow, something that is not common in my home state of Louisiana, I felt like I had stepped into a different world.
Now, three weeks into the decision, I am being paid to babysit, my boyfriend is waiting for a call from my brother about a good job, and my sister-in-law has provided us with room and board in return for our help around the house.
It feels like a fresh start and an opportunity to save money for a hopeful future.
Change is not easy, change is very scary, but change is also something humanity has had to deal with for a very long time. It is my hope that this change will help us all set things right.