Growing up in Philadelphia, I got used to the city life and living on the east coast. I got used to Dunkin Donuts coffee and waking up on a Thursday morning to realize we have a snow day, and late-night WAWA runs. Growing up on the East Coast, I knew nothing more than that lifestyle until my world changed before my eyes at 13 years old. My mother got sick with Stage 4 appendiceal cancer. I lived with my mom and my younger sister of 8, and when my mother grew ill I immediately had to take on the role of the mother. I would clean, care for my sister, and make dinner for us. Money became tight, and discount grocery stores and EBT stamps became our norm. In December of 2014, my mother passed away. Within a matter of 5 months, I was picked up with my younger sister and moved across the country to Southern California. I had visited California once before moving there-San Deigo. I saw Cali as a dream state. That was where all the celebrities were and where everyone was rich and had everything they ever wanted. We hopped off the plane and I was greeted by my father and a new stepmom which I had never seen before. Anxious and scared, we were driven to our new house. Everything seemed so perfect, yet so unbelievably different from Philadelphia. There were no homeless people, no graffiti, no trash. I was so used to walking in the city going to the corner store or walking to school. Here in SoCal, there wasn’t such thing as buses or corner stores. It didn’t seem like this was the place I had to call home. I started school the next month and automatically realized that Southern California was just like it was in the movies. Mean Girls was a reality. Everyone walked in a triangle, everyone came to school in their Rolls Royce cars and their venti vanilla lattes. Every guy was a surfer and would bring his board in his pick up truck so he could leave for the beach right after school. Me, dressed in baggy clothes, basketball shorts, and basketball slides, I was looked at like a clown. I would see people look at me as I walked by, and call me a “stud” or wonder why I dressed the way I did. In Philadelphia, dressing like a tomboy or dressing in baggy comfy clothes was normal. Everyone at my school was now wearing Brandymelville crop tops and distressed Levi shorts that they paid 70$ for at a “flea market”. It didn’t seem right to me. I tried to make friends. I would introduce myself, ask them some questions, start a conversation and I was immediately turned down as if I was the ugly duckling. For weeks during lunch I sat by my lonesome in the hallway, listening to music waiting for the lunch bell to ring so I could go to class and not get humiliated for looking alone. Finally, I met a friend in Spanish class. Her name was Jade. She, too, wasn’t from California and had just recently moved. While she wasn’t from the east coast, she realized how different southern California was. She, too, felt alone as if no one seemed to want to be her friend. We immediately hit it off and became best friends. Looking back on this time, I wonder where I could have gone differently or why things played out like they did. I realized that living in one isolated community for so long, the things you do that are so normal to you and everyone else might be completely odd to another community. It took me a while to get used to the way people spoke, which was much different than Philly. It allowed me to realize that I understand why it’s so easy for people to cling and surround themselves with people that carry common norms or ways because it is a good feeling to feel accepted. Although, after living in Southern Cali for 5 years, I now have a better understanding of cultural diversity, and how to accept that. I am now a very outgoing person, and I look forward to meeting people who are different than me so I can gain better insights. Also, due to the level of compassion and care that I provided for my mother when she was ill, shaped me to go into Emergency Medicine so I can carry that care with others. I am thankful for the storm I was faced with at such a young age, as it has shaped me and motivated me.
-Life in Philly. What did I do for fun, what was normal for me, what was unique to Philly
-My mother getting ill gained a level of human compassion and care. matured fast
-My mother passed away, and my sister and I had to move to Cali without knowing anyone and my anxiousness that was accompanied by this
-I was shamed and looked at weird for the way I dressed and the way I talked. Everything seemed so foreign and I was left alone. describe some scenarios and what was so different
-I met a friend who also wasn’t from California that understood my sadness. We became friends. Describe how we got out of our shell
-what I learned. how I am outgoing now, I like to challenge my beliefs, I want to go into emergency medicine, why I moved to SF (wanted a new change), how did it make me become a better person