Far from Home

For this blog, I had originally wanted to go in a more fun and lighthearted direction. Being currently sick and last minute events have caused my post to take go in a different direction. The beginning of last week was very laid back, nothing more than just a few days of hanging with my friends. Though nothing exciting happened, I always enjoy just hanging with friends at our favorite cafes during the week. I believe most of our conversation was on the topic of Thanksgiving, making plans for celebration. Though we may have to celebrate Thanksgiving a little differently this year, the fall scenery has made up for it. Fall has been extremely beautiful here and has put me in the best of moods. Though I am currently getting back to these great spirits, it has been an anxious few days. By the end of last week till now, a couple incidents have happened back home that has put me on edge. I wouldn’t say I want to leave, it’s just been a few sucky days to be on the other side of the world.

I’ve mentioned on Instagram and in my blog, fall is extremely beautiful here! The weather and trees have slowly changed as is it were a movie. Fall has always been my favorite season, but this has made it officially so!

If any of you know, I am from Ventura County, California. Specifically Camarillo, a smallish city right between Ventura and Thousand Oaks (TO). I’m around eleven miles from TO and Newbury Park. The reason why I’m giving you a geographical description of my home is to understand my worried state. My panic started 12 am Friday morning (my time) while I was up late texting my best friend. I’m pretty sure we were discussing clothing trends , when she randomly sends a text reading “Also there was a mass shooting at Borderline in TO last night. Send some prayers out for the victims 😔🙏🏼”.

The first thing I did was say a prayer, the next thing I did was go into full panic mode. Borderline Bar & Grill is a 18 year and up bar that is located in Thousand Oaks. Since most bars are 21 years and up, everyone I know that turned 18 was sure to head over to Borderline. Starting senior year of high school, all my friends would make it down there on the weekends. Of all the people I know who have gone to this bar, my younger brother is among them. Once his friends and he turned 18, he was there almost every weekend. Though I don’t track my brothers every move, I was aware he hasn’t been going to Borderline much lately; knowing he had gone just this past summer though was enough to worry. Since turning 21, he has broadened his hangout locations. Even so, no one can predict the time or place any of your loved ones are when these tragedies happen. After getting my head in the right spot,I texted my brother as fast as I could. Without wanting to waste time I first sent a short text asking if he was okay. After I sent that, I let him know why I am worried and I would appreciate a quick response. no answer! It was about 6am back home, so there was a chance he was just asleep. I texted my dad next, who I knew would be up getting ready for work. Though he too took awhile to respond, he finally reassured me that my brother was okay. Apologizing for the delay in response, but my brother was out all night so my parents were unsure themselves for a while.

Wearing my first face mask. Similar to weather alerts you get on your phone, we have gotten the same type of warnings for air quality. Yellow dust has been coming mainly from China, and is very unhealthy to breath in. Many of my Korean friends have told me that this is one of their biggest concerns for their future.

Once I got news he was okay i couldn’t hold back anymore and broke down crying, I hadn’t noticed how stressed I was until I heard those words. My family is super close and my bro is one of my best friends. I felt bad to be relieved, but I was. Since then I’ve been getting updates from friends and family. Recently I’ve been informed that one of the victims, I went to high school with. A couple days ago they held a fundraiser for his family and many showed up to contribute. I’m saddened for the family, and appreciate all those who helped out. To be so out of reach from my friends and family definitely has been one of the hardest moments of my life.

The second reason, have been the spreading fires. It was literally the next morning from Borderline tragedy when I woke up to text from my mother about a fire that started in Newbury Park. My family has become pretty used to fires by now, but this one is the closest it has come to my home. My parents sent me photos of the fire from our front yard. As I said, we are pretty used to these fires sadly, but being away from my home has made put into perspective the severity of the fires. I should be grateful I’m not there, but to be so out of reach to provide help and comfort for my loved ones who are in risk of losing their homes is so unsettling. Due to growing up in Southern California, my family doesn’t really panic when there is a fire, but ever since I’ve moved away I definitely view them differently. Knowing there is a harmful natural disaster near them has kept me at a steady level of stress. My parents don’t ever think to update me on the fire, so I’ve been looking on the CA fire website which shows the span of the fire on the map. I wouldn’t use the word happy, but I am relieved that the fire has moved more west from my home. I do pray everyday it is fully contained as soon as possible.

This picture was taken from my front yard. The fire became extremely close to my home, but am ever thankful that all my friends and family has been safe and sound so far.

Over all, I am completely blessed to be here and that my family is safe. All this craziness back home really puts things in perspective. I’ve become aware that  now learned I can’t make promises for my next blog, but I’m gonna be positive and say this next week will be great.

Ellen 

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