From Chile to Kinnelon: Ashley’s Story


Photo of Ashley Bohmwald. Photo courtesy of Ashley Bohmwald.

Thump. The sounds of boxes scraping against a wooden floor. The quiet murmurs of people talking in the distance. The hurried, almost frantic energy as people move in a purposeful dance around you. The cool touch of a car’s window against your nose, as you stare back at the receding outline of your old home.

Like so many people at a young age, Ashley Bohmwald left her old childhood home in Chile to move to Kinnelon.

“It was kinda my parents’ choice to move here,” said Bohmwald, sitting in a well-worn plastic chair. From beside her, the flickering glow of a vending machine illuminated rows upon rows of various sports drinks, their flashy logos splashed colorfully across the myriad assortment of bottles and cans.

“…my mom, she worked in a job in Chile… when she got a job offer in New York City, we decided to move.”

Vocational reasons behind moving are not all that unique. According to Colin Holmes, new jobs and job transfers comprised about ten percent of all movers in 2018. Of course, there were additional benefits to moving for Ashley’s family.

“In Chile, school systems and education weren’t great, so we decided to seize the opportunity and come here… We decided to come here in eighth grade because education was poor, and there were just better opportunities here.”

From across the cafeteria, the jarring scrapes of chairs over the linoleum floor echoed throughout the room. Soon enough, the familiar murmurs of conversation rose to a gentle roil, floating around like wisps of cotton.

“Eighth grade is a very transitional phase, as it is for everyone,” Ashley continued. “You’re growing up; so when I look back on certain aspects of my childhood… I thought it was simpler… But if I were to go back to there now, I don’t think it would be better.”

The road rushes by, buildings and trees and fields blurring as you stare out the window. The sun slowly passes overhead, her rosy face smiling before sinking into the horizon.

The car slows, before twisting into a driveway.

Blinking wearily, you push the door open. With just a hint of trepidation, you look up.

From high above, the stars glimmer with a familiar light; each a memory strewn in the canvas of the night.