Bright lights, busy streets, and a fast pace are all things you would not normally think of when you think of the American West. Well, all of these words describe San Jose, CA to the tee. When I think of the West, I picture lots of dirt, abandoned businesses and cars on main roads, and old plastic bags drifting through the wind. Though that is probably what most of us think of, it is not always the case.
Stuck in traffic every day
Where she wants to be
Growing up in a city like San Jose was the best. I woke up to the bright sky peaking through the blinds in my room in the summer and spring, or the sound of rain during the winter. It was never too hot or too cold, it was perfection. Walking to the cherry tree on the corner of Rocky Mountain Drive with my grandfather; running through the sprinklers on those hot afternoons with my cousins; and having lunch outside of our classrooms when the weather was nice is what makes up some of my most precious childhood memories.
As I grew up, I started realizing how much San Jose meant to me. Sure I knew I liked where I lived as a kid, but I never took much time to soak all of it in. I became a teenager and along with that came hope, disappointment, happiness, sadness, and big dreams with even bigger doubts. One day I loved my city, the other I wanted to run as fast as I could until I reached a new destination. I realized things that as a kid I didn’t. I started becoming angry when I found myself sitting through hours of traffic every day. I started becoming angry when the sun peaking through my blinds woke me up every Saturday morning. I started becoming angry when the rain would ruin my hair and makeup. I started becoming angry when I found myself almost hating that place.
Though it seemed like San Jose had become almost a burden every day, it would only take one day, one moment, to completely erase my negative thoughts of that place. One city light, one city art mural, one smile from a stranger walking the same streets as me, one moment, that’s all it would take.
They say you never know how much home means to you until you are not there anymore. After high school, I decided to move away from my parents, my siblings, my friends, and my city. I moved to Yuma, Arizona, where most would describe as boring, deserted, and hot. I described it as my escape. The first couple of weeks were great. No traffic, no rain, no crowded streets. I thought to myself, “I can definitely get used to this.” There was no more rain, no more traffic, and no more of that fast pace. My days seemed longer, I got to places quicker, and instead of worrying about the rain messing my makeup up, it was the sweat that ran down my freckled face.
Though Arizona is great, I can’t help but miss the traffic, the lights, the rain, the everything. Going home to visit reassured me that I am a big city kind of gal. Scratch that, I am a San Jose, CA kind of gal. I missed the moments of reflection when my car stood still for minutes due to traffic, I missed the lights, I missed the sun peaking through my window, and I missed the rain. No matter where life takes me, I will forever be connected to the place that made me who I am. San Jose is my city, it is my home.
Biography of Diana San Juan
I am 18 years old and I am a California native. Born and raised in San Jose, CA, I have lived my whole life in the West. I come from a huge, tight knit family; I am the fifth out of thirty-two grandchildren, and counting, and that is just my mother’s side of the family. Though I loved living in San Jose, I thought it would be interesting to experience a completely different side of the West. To my parents’ dismay I moved to Yuma after high school. It was the only place far away from San Jose where I had family so it was the only place my parents would be okay with me moving to. I applied to AWC months before graduating, next thing I knew, it was August 10th and I was driving my Saturn Ion all the way down to Yuma, AZ. As soon as I moved here I realized my life here would be completely different. Though I moved in with my aunt and uncle and wasn’t completely on my own, I said goodbye to my life in San Jose. I have lived here for several months now and as of now, I will be going back to California in May. My plans are to go to San Jose State University where they have a very good Journalism program. Then, I will move to San Francisco, CA, a place much closer to home, to continue my career as a Journalist.