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Something Personal: Struggles

I don’t usually write things about my life in general beyond photography or traveling or university, but, this is something as close as I can get to talk to you about something personal: struggles. Yes, I’ve gone through a lot of struggling in school, with my family and friends, and even myself. Let’s be honest here: if you do not feel any struggling, then I think that you must be someone else, because nobody is perfect–neither I, nor you the reader, not even the people around you–and struggling for me has become a part of my daily routine.

Struggling from my daily commute, schoolwork, and peer pressure all come to me, especially right now when I discover that one of my best friends has gotten into a relationship without my knowledge. It’s not that I haven’t talked to her in days, it’s how she said it that I felt doubtful about. I’m not mad or jealous or anything to her, it’s to be honest, I’m struggling to be with somebody. I travel at least twice a week from where I live in Novato (shown with a red dot) all the way to San Francisco, and every time I commute, I just do nothing but sit, read, play, or sleep. Pretty much uneventful because my commute is long enough that I could just ride a bus downtown and go back after a few minutes from my university.

Related to the commute struggle is the struggle to find friends who I can just go to, spend time with, and eventually find the someone I want to be with. Given the location I got, plus the disadvantage of a limited transit network (only 2 buses, 1 local and 1 commute, go to my place directly), it’s easy to understand why I struggle a lot from just commuting from the north to the city. I understand that people will tell me to find a new place for myself or rent an apartment closer to university, but, I have my choice and I would like to live with my family, not only because I feel safer, but I feel much more bonded being with them and I can easily run to them when I need them. Another reason is money: recall that I have a vendetta regarding debt (cf. Nightline: The Tuition Files), and it extends to finding a place to rent. Given the limited financial resources my parents get from work, I need to give and take: take only what I need from what my parents give me, and give them good marks by taking the right choices and classes. It is especially more difficult when the only parent I get to see everyday is my father because my mother works five days a week from Tuesday night, only to return home Sunday evening. It really sucks, but, I need to make such sacrifices.

However, those sacrifices turn into struggles for me, not only because I live away from a multicultural city that is packed with activity, but also I’ve chosen a life to travel alone and be smart instead of socializing much. The consequences of living in a far-flung suburb for me are enormous:

  • Supposedly a half-hour to 45-minute drive to my school in San Francisco takes about two hours by bus, forcing me to watch my time to make sure I get the buses on schedule
  • There’s not much activity going on in my neighborhood (except for just one block party per year), making me isolated from the rest of the community as a whole
  • My location, being about 3 miles south of downtown Novato and 5 miles north of downtown San Rafael, requires me to drive or take transit just to go there
  • The nearest gathering place requires me to walk 15 minutes from home over empty, monotonous terrain of cookie-cutter houses and a flat road, something that does not entice me
  • Even though my place is generally peaceful, I believe that my overall look is that my community is lifeless, having no soul of its own because all gathering places are spread out
  • My current location limits me to find friends and find the special someone I want to be with, and being a person without a car, it provides an additional challenge of finding them close to a transit line

I don’t want you to sympathize with me on my situation, but I would like to hear ideas and suggestions to break my barrier of living in a suburb to find the people I want to spend time with, given the conditions I listed above. I feel like I struggle with myself too much, but reality sets in for me, and hopefully, you can help me break the odds and find the persons I want to hang around with.

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