Wednesday, October 21, 2009
San Francisco was the first American city my father landed in from China in the late 1970s. After swimming from mainland China to Hong Kong, he earned enough money to make it to the United States; he came here on a mission to provide a better life for his growing family. San Francisco was just one piece of the journey, but it was the first place where he was able to experience American life, albeit in Chinatown.
I could have been born in San Francisco, but I wasn’t. After my father left San Francisco, he traveled around the United States a little more until he found a place to call home: Virginia. I was born there in Virginia, but perhaps my pull to move to San Francisco had always been in my blood. When I initially decided to move to San Francisco, I was drawn more by a promised job than anything else—my father had a friend here who was willing to give me a job straight after university. Although that offer ended up falling through, I still felt determined to move to San Francisco after graduation. At that point in time, I thought of San Francisco as just a different place to wait out the years—but, as time has shown me, the city has definitely been more than that.
What I’ve discovered over the course of these past two years is a lot, including most importantly, my passion for writing. I guess you can say I had my own kind of “coming out” in the sense that I let my hidden passion for writing become part of my public, professional life. I had buried my love for writing over the years—throughout school, I thought that people would look down on me when I said I wanted to be an artist or a writer. So I covered up these thoughts of mine and went on studying other subjects in order to feel accepted by others.
I stopped writing creatively for a long time until I moved out to San Francisco. Here, somehow, I have found myself drawn to writing more than anywhere else I’ve been—in the past two years since living in San Francisco, I have written three novels and am currently working on my fourth. Some of these novels were completed during the month of November, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which I have to thank for helping me find my passion once again.
Although I have yet to officially publish my novels, just being in San Francisco has helped me re-awaken that looming giant within me. The city, the area, screams of the artistic vibe that infuses into my soul and mind. Everywhere I turn, there’s something to appreciate, something to perhaps tack onto a future storyline.
Living in San Francisco has also heightened my sense of culture and diversity by enjoying the different foods and languages that surround me on a daily basis. I have met some amazing people here from all walks of life whom I would have never met if I hadn’t moved here. Perhaps my journey to San Francisco has been more or less similar to my father’s: trying to find a better life for myself and my future.