My move to California didn’t only entail emotional changes but unexpectedly, physical changes too. My body was so used to the tropics that when I moved here, I didn’t realize it was all a sudden change for my body that it will take quite a bit for me to adapt. For one, I used to roam around in the Philippines always worrying about my skin because of the sun, however when I got here, I thought I had nothing to worry about so I felt freer walking around. As a result, I got sunburnt, and brown. Not tan. Brown.
The skin is just the least of my concerns. Five days ago, I learned that I actually had cold sore. It was my first time ever to get one. When a friend asked me how I got one, I answered that I was made out with this guy a couple of nights ago. Truth be told, it was because of the change of weather. I went around the pier for a couple of days and didn’t put on any lip balm because I thought I didn’t have to and a couple or three days after, I got a cold sore. Right now, my lips, which I were so proud of because I never had to put on lipstick, is now darkening. I’m not sure if it’s because of the cold sore or weather too but it looks terrible as if I had been smoking for years.
I know that this is just the least of my problems but still this is all new to me and I take it with a heavy heart. I mean, who wants a cold sore, dark lips and sunburnt skin?? I sound so vain right now and I’m normally not.
So I finally arrived and staying somewhere in East Bay in my aunt and uncle’s house. I am now living with my aunt and uncle and my cousin’s family. My cousin has two kids, a ten-year old and a girl who’s turning six next Saturday. It would have been awesome but I found it quite difficult to talk to these kids. I mean, the youngest in particular, talks like she’s an adult and always crosses her arms when speaking to somebody. I know they probably don’t remember me and given that I’m not that friendly either doesn’t really help the fact that I’m already dreading living with them. My aunt and uncle are awesome, so are my cousin and cousin-in-law. It’s just the kids that I’m worried about especially as I am sleeping in their room.
A friend told me that he and four more other people are renting a house around 10 minutes from school. So I’m kind of evaluating my choices –
Staying with Aunt and Uncle
- free accommodations
- free food, utilities and internet
- in-house laundry
- with familiar people
- the park is right in front of the house
- so is the library
- less freedom
- hard to get around
- limited late nights as most of my classmates will probably be in SF and events will happen in SF but since I have to take the Bart… oh well
- have to get along with American kids (I am already finding this quite hard in my first night because they are just different. I find it weird enough that I’m talking to them in English when they have Filipino parents.)
- have to walk to bus stop, then take the bus to the Bart station, Bart station for 40 minutes then walk again to school
- crime rates increased and my aunt said that I have to be really really careful as there are loads of crimes happening especially with the recession
Rent an Apartment
- closer to school – just ten minutes
- living with friends = fun
- have classmates/batchmates with me so I can consult stuff with them and go to parties with them
- in SF so meet-up places MIGHT be easier to get to
- convenient, freedom
- don’t have to relate to kids, only with international students like me
- will be way more expensive for me – rent + utilities; might cost me $1000 per month
- the place is unfurnished so I have to buy my own bed, desk etc.
- going to live with 5 guys (who are my classmates anyway)
So now I am really torn. I’m quite concerned with the expenses. Everything just feels surreal to me. It would be great if you could let me know your thoughts on the matter as I really need several opinions right now.
I have started packing my stuff. I haven’t packed my clothes yet but my books, shoes, bags and sunglasses are already in the box. Just four days left and I’ll be boarding a plane to Taipei, then from Taipei to San Francisco.
I’m probably more sad than worried in leaving and living in a new place. For one, I’m not even sure if I should stay with my relatives or just rent a room with someone. I’m not sure if my relatives would want me to live with them, or if it’s okay. On the other hand, I’m also sad because I will be leaving a great country, won’t see it for a year, and I’m also leaving all of the amazing people I dearly love here.
I have been meeting up with friends left and right, and it’s been amazing. I guess you never really truly appreciate people until you realize they’re going to leave for a while, or for a long time. On the other hand, I’ll actually feel how it is to leave people who love you. I realized as I was listening to John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane (that song is pretty much stuck in my head right now), that I will actually feel how it is to leave people, and all this time, it feels a lot like I’m always the one being left and now that it’s my turn, it feels suddenly new. I mean, I never really left anyone I love before unless I had to – like it would be for our own good, or cheated on me, or betrayed me. Now that I’m about to do it, should I feel excited? The thing is, I guess in this case, I will always know that I have people to go back to. It’s not like I’m leaving them for good. I’m actually very grateful that I am loved by all these people.
By the way, John Denver’s Leaving on a Jet Plane is amazing. I mean, it got through me. Or I’m just being emotional.