The Places I’ve Been To And The Places I’m At: Reflections

In my last post, I talked quite a bit about the place where I used to live. About what my life was before where I am now.

Time to talk about how far I’ve come.

I’m currently in the middle of reading The Chocolate War which, I’m sure, many of you have heard of (if not, read it, but don’t read it to younger kids/let them read it). The process of moving to a new place, forcing yourself to accept the routines and daily actions that people in that area consider “normal”- that has always been a hard process for many.

I can relate.

When I first moved here away from my childhood home (which I intend to visit in the near future), I was amazed at how much higher the standard of living was. Everyone was friendly to each other, no one had to deal with as many community problems that I had faced, and it was just all new for me.

Where I had lived before, before I had moved away, not everyone had a printer, or sometimes even a computer, in their household. Here, everyone seems to have at least one household computer and one notebook laptop/netbook. Along with this, no one had to worry themselves over their possessions being taken as much as where I used to live. I remembered seeing some bikes left unchained and unguarded near a school, and I thought, “Wow, they don’t have to worry about people picking all five of their locks on their bikes here. Neat!”

That was just the first of the several soliloquies that popped into my head when I first moved here.

As I grew more accustomed to my surroundings, I began to pick up on other significant, tiny differences between my two worlds- my “Old Life”, encompassing my times, memories, and locations past, and my “New Life”, consisting of my current experiences and memories.

Some changes that I had encountered were for the better (in my opinion).

For example, many more of the parents that I have befriended in the New Life care more for the education of their children than did many of the parents in the Old Life. It’s all school, school, school here, and many of the students have high grades.

asianfather

Also, in the Old Life, I often had to deal with the smell of dairy cows and the nuisance of mosquitoes, especially in the summers. Although I adapted to these conditions, I had horrible sinuses, which were soon cleared when I moved to the New Life near the beach. Great, gave you a HUGE tip on where I live now (near a beach).

Finally, in the Old Life, school fights were more liable to break out than here in the New Life, which may be a good thing about the New Life, but is a bad thing about it too (more on this later).

Some things, however, I felt were lacking here compared to the Old Life.

For example, the quality of life here is a bit better than the Old Life. This means that no one expects a thing when some kind of crime or unexpected foul play occurs. More than often, no one knows what to do about it. Where I used to live (especially before I moved for some reason), we had to deal with the problem of graffiti. I remember the graffiti on all of the trash cans, walls on the alleyway behind my house, and even on the back of my parent’s car, which was so dusty that the gang only had to swipe their fingers across to form their tag and didn’t have to use paint at all (thank goodness). As a community, we just dealt with it, and the troubles just made our already closely knit community tighter. We all knew the people to go to in order to stop the fights (for the kids at the time, it was me), and we knew how to respect each other and treat each other with respect. As in “If you mess with my gang, we will ALL mess with yours.” Of course, we all knew how to have fun, but there were unspoken borders that we all somehow knew not to cross.

Many, if not all of the students in the New Life don’t know/have never milked a cow before, or done something exciting outdoors. I, at the least, biked around my neighborhood with some friends or swam at a community pool with my neighbor (and don’t get me started on the magnifying glass incident here.) Because of the increased technology availability here, many kids choose to stay inside and pass their free time through virtual worlds. League of Legends people, you’re some of them.

luluandtwitch

Finally, there is too little “real experiences” or “real drama” in the New Life. By this, I mean that many of the complaints I hear from people here are trivial compared to the things I dealt with in the Old Life. To give you a benchmark, a student in the New Life is complaining about how their printer has just jammed for the umpteenth time and how they are forced to go out to buy a new one. Meanwhile, a student in the Old Life is explaining to their teacher that their printer has been broken for the past month, and their family doesn’t have enough money to buy a new one. Another example is that someone in the New Life pities the people who pick up trash and are forced to do brute work in order to survive. In the Old Life, no one really complains about their jobs; their jobs may be the only thing that keeps their family alive.

When I first moved to the New Life in my youth, I was amazed at how much different everything was. Everyone thought that they could achieve better while I thought that everything was awesome. They hadn’t been through what I had gone through. No tough work, no determination for a better future, no drive to be better except to immediately get out of a sticky situation.

So when I moved to the New Life, I was determined to show everyone the determination, the pride, and the unique place that I held in society. I was determined to break the social mold and daily routines of where I was supposed to move to, go out of my shell, and prove to everyone that I knew in the New Life that they were wrong about me. Some people thought that I was crazy or weird at first, but people began to accept me for who I was, even if I was that weird guy in the corner talking about strawberry season and optimal field placement and irrigation.

It was a tough battle, proving myself different from everyone here while being on good terms with the people here. But hey, we all have to go through battles and wars in our lives (like this one here.)

And through my writing and art, my creativity and inspiration, I can do so.

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