In case you are wondering, 94501 is the zip code for Alameda. This not-too-big, not-too-small island is located across San Francisco and adjacent to Oakland.
Nothing seems very interesting about Alameda, but this is a place I call home.
In 2005, our family moved from Hong Kong to the United States. Things were so different – our neighbors, the surroundings, the food, the language, and the culture. Our first apartment was in the west end of Alameda. Ten years ago, the West End did not have a Target or In-and-Out. There was literally nothing to do. Everyday, I walked to Chipman Middle School (which does not exist anymore) from home in the morning and walked through the blocks in the afternoon at 3pm, carrying my colorful rainbow backpack I bought with me from H.K. I remember there was a time when a girl made fun of me because of how “fobby” I looked or how broken my English was. I remember how lonely I was and all those feelings that I was too afraid to tell anyone. Those were the dark ages, but I went through it. I became stronger, closer to God, closer to my family, and I know better about myself.
Couple years after, we moved to the east end of Alameda, which seemed to be more fun and looked nicer (in generally, lol). The East End kids went to Alameda High School. We were kind of proud that we got to eat out for lunch on Part Street. Back then, no one would talk about keeping a diet nor cared that KFC is fattening. High school was all about having fun, taking APs, figuring out college stuff, and trying to think big. During college years, I came back to Alameda every weekend because there was nothing better than being around close friends and family (and of course, for doing laundry too…)
Then, South Shore was renamed to “Alameda Towne Centre,” but everyone continued to call that place South Shore. South Shore was South Shore, why were they trying to make it sound so fancy and all? Lolz. Remember the time when there was only Big 5 and Albertson? Now we have Ulta, a woman fitness place, a huge Safeway, a lot of more restaurants, Daiso….etc. The city finally made good use of that piece of land.
And slowly, the feeling of loneliness went away because I made friends from school and church. I felt connected, and I felt great being part of the community. After all, this place really became and felt like home.
As Alameda develops and continues to be a great place to live in, I seek for ways to improve myself, and learn how to be a better person. I witnessed the changes Alameda went through in the past 10 years. Alameda witnessed the years I went from being a student to a worker. I am so thankful that we landed in Alameda – this slow and peaceful place, it acted as a secure base for us to adapt to this culture gradually and naturally. Now we can say we are fully grounded and we belong here.