Thursday, November 13, 2014

Home is...

So far, I've given an overview of my life these past four years in the beach town of Santa Cruz, CA. I am now turning to my southern home, the City of Angels, the bright star of Southern California: Los Angeles. I was born in the San Gabriel Valley and, save the past four years, it is the place I have spent my life. 

I left Santa Cruz six months ago and, to be honest, it's driving me nuts. 

As much as I love being home and near the people and familiarities that remind me that this is in fact home; it hardly feels like it anymore. My mum remarked the other day that I was very emotional lately, undoubtedly thinking that something was going on at work or in my relationship. I couldn't exactly place it then, but I think I'm slowly getting more and more distant from the world. 

For the first seven years of my life I was the only child in a sea of adults and later of young children. Adults with lots of cousins and siblings and family that they have learned to love and live with. I was, and in some ways still am, an outsider to that world. I am still struggling to find my place in my very loud, silly, mixed, and quirky family. The friends who know me well enough or that didn't meet me until college know that I am all of those things in addition to others. In the midst of my family, from whom I inherited a large majority of my temperament, I am quieter and prefer to be alone in all the noise. If you were really lucky, you were around to accompany a quiet me when the world was too loud. Most of the time though, that miracle was granted to my ever-growing collections of books and universes and my puppy. I've grown into my family a lot over that last couple of years, but occasionally I still escape into those worlds, whether on the page or in my mind amidst the stars.

I've discovered that the crystal clear night sky and the calm ocean brimming with life and energy though every sense was where I discovered the home my books and headphones had once provided. It is that sense of belonging that I want to be a constant in my life, no matter the physical manifestation. 

For now I'll just keep swimming

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Life in the Trees - Part 1

Four years ago, I decided that I was going to be furthering my education three hundred and sixty-five miles away from home in Santa Cruz, CA. I was excited, nervous, and itching to smell the ocean everyday. What I didn't know four years ago was that this little beach town was not only going to be my home, but feel like my home. As much as I love the ease and convenience of my hometown in Los Angeles, it hasn't felt like a place I would want to call my home.

I spent four years in that little beach town. I saw the brightness of it on a Saturday morning when locals and students would stroll along the downtown streets with their kids and pets. I witnessed the college town craziness of Halloween on those same streets. I explored the quiet that came with wandering through the trees and seeing the sunlight peek through the redwoods and the fog creep in from over the sea. I even found a few little hidden gems that gave me peace when I was freaking out and stressing after overextending myself.

At the same time, I stood there mourning with my community across all of the UCs this past year when the events in Isla Vista/Santa Barbara occurred. I was there for four years of community advisories during which a Campus Security Officer was found to be planning an assault. Walked the same path where a student barely survived after being shot. I had mutual acquaintances with the student who was remembered on the bridge that he was found under. I saw and felt what these events did to our community and how so many of my friends made sure we all got home safely at night.

Every community has those things that the public rags on them for, but really is just a way for society to dismiss the generation that is becoming fully fleshed out adults. I witnessed the activities that the University does not support every year on April 20th. Saw how such an act of rebellion and culture that was condoned had become a community whose only threat to society was misuse, contamination, and lack of education stemming from an homage to the cultures of the 1970s. Some people said that the liberal culture of UCSC would diminish the value of the degree when I graduate. I couldn't answer that question from the perspective of the outside world, at least not yet. Personally, I think the liberal nature gave me what I needed.

I am a student of Marine Biology, but also of the world around me. I have always been and will forever continue to be a student. Part of Santa Cruz is now a part of me, it's that part that I see when I think about the campus as a whole. It is made up of so many different, often opposing, perspectives which gives a small amount of insight and truth to both sides when looked at and listened to closely. I like to say that I got a degree in Marine Biology but earned a degree's worth of insight into Political Ideologies and Perspectives because of the ways in which the Banana Slug community came together when it so-often remained separated.

Until next time,