The following online journal entries are from January 1999.
They are taken from older version of my website.
"With the start of the new year, I started a new chapter in my life. After living in Maryland and the Washington, DC metropolitan area for twenty-eight years, I decided to make a change, to head for a different horizon, to embark on a great adventure. On January 5, 1999, I boarded a plane for San Francisco. In a matter of hours, I was on different soil and on a new path. Many of the entries from January to March are drawn from my written journal. I hope the best for my journey and I hope you find some pleasure and some power in reading about my travails. Cheers."
--from my last website, 1999
Tuesday. 5:20 PM. Happy new year! It has been almost a month since I last wrote. Where am I? I'm in the Denver International Airport. I'm waiting for my flight out to San Francisco. Well, all those days planning have finally paid off. I'm on my way. I have done so much in the last few weeks. It's crazy. Absolutely crazy.
Thursday. 2:30 PM. I am sitting outside on the porch/deck of Beth's house -- Beth is the woman Sarah's staying with. It's a big house in Pacifica, CA -- south of SF.
I've been here for less than 48 hours. How am I? Okay. A bit stressed out. Tired -- still a little jet lagged. I'm feeling really out-of-place, out-of-sync. I don't know anyone. I don't know any places. I feel really isolated.
I got really depressed yesterday evening. I was tired and really disheartened. I'm homeless. It's really hard to realize that. I don't have a place of my own. I don't have any of my real belongings. I don't have any friends or support system.
I don't know. I'm looking as best as I can to find some temporary housing. I'd love to get a sublet of some sort. That way I could find a job and have a relatively stable place to live.
It is really hard for Sarah and I to be both completely unsettled. She really cannot provide for me the support we need to be happy and relaxed. I wish we both could be settled. Then we can enjoy this time together. But, we're doing our best.
I felt pretty lousy last night. I am really worried. I don't want to stress out too much. But, it is scary as hell. I need to meet people. I really don't know anyone. And I'm discovering that I truly am a social person. I really like being around people. And I really need my friends. I don't know. I hate saying that.
I really am trying to manifest the things I truly need. And I hope that there is enough magic and luck to give me what I need.
Sunday. 12:25 PM. I am sitting in Sarah's room. The house folks are having a house meeting. I am really not a member of the household so I am staying out of it.
I am a bit tired. My allergies are not the best here in this house. So, I like being out. But, it is really inconvenient to go to the city from here. We have to drive.
I am trying to pin down some sort of housing arrangement. I really don't want to live here anymore -- it really isn't my place. It really is just alien to me sometimes.
I've been here only five days now. And it's tough. It would be a lot easier if I were staying with someone or someplace stable in their housing situation. It is really hard not to have an address. It is really hard not having a phone number.
I've gone out with Sarah to the city these past couple of days. On Friday night, we went to the End Up. It was okay. There were some pretty cool people there. The music was okay. I liked the layout of the club. Saturday night, we went to the Castro to The Cafe. The Cafe was a bit smaller. It was okay, too. I still feel really out of place. I still feel like I am the exception and no where close to the rule.
The diversity, as in the racial mix and the gender mix, is a lot higher than DC. But, the people are still pretty much the same in dress, in body type, and in sensibility. I really need to find a place that caters to my kind of crowd. I want to find some nice, cool, mature, punkish people.
I think I like SF. It is really too early to tell. I've only been here a few days. And the shock of moving really hasn't quite set in. I cried a little this morning. One of my housing possibilities fell through. But, I just have to remember that all of this change and this growth takes time. I have to keep reminding myself of that.
Friday. 12:57 PM. I have fallen behind on my journaling as of late. I have just been really preoccupied with the transition to San Francisco. Things are decent but not truly settled. Everyday, I try to get out into the city. It doesn't leave me much time to do much of anything else. And when I come back to the house in Pacifica, I'm just too tired. I have written a few bits of journal entries. But, now that I have some time and access to the house's computer, I'm going to try to catch up. The speed of typing my thoughts will help a lot.
I have been here ten days. It seems like I've been here a month. I'm not sure what is causing the strange sense of time dilation. Maybe it is because I try to fill my day with as much as possible. I don't want to think about the fact that I don't have a place to live or a room of my own or a job to go to.
A large part of me still feels like I'm on vacation. I'm on some sort of extended holiday on the West coast. It is a strange sense of inbetweeness. Sometimes I find myself thinking that any day now I will be flying back to Maryland. My suitcases are still neatly packed. Very little of their contents have been disturbed. What clothes I wear, I wash after a few days and put them neatly back into place. It's not that I long to go back home, to give up on this place. It's just a strange sense of pretend -- a fantasy that my one-way ticket was actually, mistakenly two-way.
This past weekend was very difficult for me. Friday night and Saturday night, Sarah took me out to a couple of clubs in the city. They were okay. I had a pretty good time but still didn't see much of myself reflected in the community that I encountered. The diversity of SF is definitely greater than that of DC. There are more women in the scene. There are more people of color, especially Asians and Latinos. There is a big leather community here, too. But, even with all of the different people, I was still singled out as being markedly different. I was the Asian guy with the blue hair. I still got looks from people. I guess I was really expecting a bit more right away. I was hoping that SF would be the panacea of all my social life difficulties. I think there is still a great diversity and a great possibility. But I need to remember that there will always be a "mainstream" and a "status quo."
I went to visit Berkeley. It's a nice area. It's got a really alternative, flower-power kind of feel to it. Sarah took me there and we walked around a bit. I found a really neat tattoo parlor. It seemed cool. I really do very much. I hadn't settled into the area yet. I just wanted to see what was there. I'll go back later to actually take it all in. We also walked around the University of California at Berkeley's campus a bit. It was cool. Very quiet without students.
Friday. 2:45 PM. Sunday was a really difficult day for me. Something just turned wrong inside me and I got really depressed. I think being stuck in Pacifica really got to me. Then I got a short email from Stephanie telling me that Ceti had been moved to Krissi's house cause he was meowing and crying a lot. She said that he was missing me. That pushed me over the edge. I feel really bad for him. I feel like I've abandoned him. I miss him a lot. I miss my cat.
I cried a lot that night. I just couldn't hold it back. It was a good release but it was scary. I wasn't in a good place. I needed to feel like things were going to work out. I was finally feeling the trauma of the move.
What an incredible adventure I've started in my life. I keep thinking how different things are now. I am not the same person I was six months ago, a year ago, five years ago. I don't think I could ever have done this any sooner than I did. It was the right time and I know it.
Sunday I went to the beach here in Pacifica. It was really great. I had a really good time. It was deeply peaceful. I really liked seeing the water, the waves, the sand, and feeling the wind. It was also really fun to watch the surfers -- especially the cute surfer boys. Some of them were really amazing. A couple of skaters were in the parking lot, too. Overall, it was good to be out of the house, to be amongst people, and to be in the sunshine and the clean air.
© 2001 Edmond Y. Chang. All original material. All rights reserved.
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