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Goodbye Detroit, Hello Huntley!

Junior Pooja Mangukiya poses on the deck of her new Talamore house (Courtesy of P. Mangukiya)

She was no stranger to the big move, although the first time wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. Packing up tidbits from her early childhood into suitcases and relocating to a different state had her in tears for two days straight.

Junior Pooja Mangukiya had lived in Detroit, Michigan for the first eight years of her life before moving to Belvidere, Illinois, a move that was especially difficult since she was surrounded by most of her close relatives. The family had decided to come live in the Prairie State in an effort to pursue her father’s dream.

“My father was an engineer, but he had always had a passion for cooking and decided that he wanted to open a restaurant,” Mangukiya said.

With time and older age, Mangukiya realized that it was the right decision for her dad to pursue his passion. So when it came time to move to McHenry County and open up a second restaurant seven years later, Mangukiya offered her dad full support.

Yet while they were lugging suitcases inside their new Talamore home on moving day, she still felt as though part of her was left behind in Belvidere.

“It felt like a chunk of me was missing the day I moved,” Mangukiya said. “[That day] didn’t really feel all that special because in my mind I was still in Belvidere.”

Turns out that the little, missing chunk from Belvidere had followed Mangukiya to Huntley. Though they spent their middle school years in the same town and even shared mutual friends, it wasn’t until they both came to Huntley that they bonded over being the “new kid.”

Junior Cindy Jimenez moved to Huntley in seventh grade. After meeting Mangukiya during second semester last year, Jimenez decided to act as a personal Huntley guide for the newcomer.

“She came here earlier so she had a better idea of the school,” Mangukiya said. “We became really close and I honestly don’t know what I would’ve done without her.”


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