Living as a refugee

March 28, 2016
Chaeyoung Kim  Chatsworth High  10th grade

By Chaeyoung Kim
Chatsworth High
10th grade

“Chaeyoung, what do you want to have for dinner?”

I don’t think I have ever hated this question before as much as now.

Because of the recent gas leak that happened just north of my house and school, my family and I, along with the other Porter Ranch residents, had to move out of our own homes and relocate at different hotels far away. My family, in particular, relocated at Hilton hotel in Woodland Hills. And because we are staying at the hotel, we have not been eating home-cooked food for almost two months.

At first it was very exciting to eat outside everyday. However, now that we are eating outside food for every single day, everything just tastes the same, I get dehydrated easily, and my stomach feels sick many times.

My dad has diabetes, and because we have been eating outside a lot, his blood glucose level has been increasing.

Food is not the only inconvenience we face from the relocation. The commute is very long since the hotel I am staying at is approximately 20 minutes away from my school. From my own house, my school is just eight minutes away, but because I am staying at the hotel, it takes 12 more minutes to get to my school.

From our hotel room, which is on the ninth floor, it takes at least 10 more minutes to take the elevator down to the lobby, walk all the way across the lobby to the parking lot elevator, go up the elevator, and go to our car.

I think that my mom is facing a lot more inconveniences than I do. She has to go back home every time and leave my dog there whenever no one is going to be in our hotel room because she is worried that our dog will bark at the sound of people passing by.

My mom also gets very annoyed when we have to consider if we should go back home to get something we need or buy it at the near by store even though we already have it at home. Some of the examples were when we had to go out to buy scissors and tapes, and go back home to print things out.

My mom is suffering from a lot of back pain these days since she has to pack, unpack, and carry luggages and bags with heavy books and computers.

We also have to make sure to go back home and check our mails, put the garbage bins inside the garage, and check if no packages are left outside of our front door because they can be the signs to thieves that no one is at home.

“Refugees” has become the nickname of the relocated Porter Ranch residents. Our rights to live in a safe environment is being abandoned. I really wish I can go back to my own house and live a normal life, not a refugee life.



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