The Switch


Ariah Patterson, Contributor

I am not originally from Tucson, Arizona. I moved to Tucson when I was 11 on the verge of turning 12. For me it was somewhat an easy transition at first, but shortly after it became more difficult to adjust to a different way of living. I am originally from San Diego California. I lived in a predominantly white area and the way of living was different from the way it is in Tucson. I would describe the transition from California to Tucson the same way it was for the Roses in the show, Schitt’s Creek.

California is a really popular state. In Courtney Hollister’s essay Why is California the Most Popular State she goes on elaborating on the idea that “California is the place where dreams are made”. California holds a type of social assumption that to be in California is to be successful. Which I can personally understand as to how that sort of personification could have been created when thinking about California. Living there was most definitely like living in a dream but it was also unrealistic. It made me have unrealistic views as to how the real world really is, that it wasn’t “the norm” as some people would say. All of my friends’ parents were doctors or lawyers or in something like computer engineering or even something along the lines. My secluded family was upper middle class. My mother was a private school teacher and my father was an I.T. specialist. I remember when I went to a huge sleepover in the 5th grade with my best friend, Jeneca Kelley. After the sleepover, her mother came to pick us up and when we entered the car we sat there for a moment and she said, “I’m bored, wanna go to Disneyland?” and of course we said yes and so we went back to my place and dropped my bags off and told my mother that we were going to go to Disneyland and my mom said okay sounds fun and handed Jeneca’s mom a hundred dollar bill for us to get some souvenirs and we were off. That to me was normal. I thought everyone had gone to Disneyland at least once or twice in their life and that if they didn’t, it was simply because they didn’t like Disney.

I only learned the value of a dollar when I moved to Tucson. When I moved, it was pretty at first but I think that that’s simply what everyone thinks of a place that they had never been. We stopped by a Walmart and I thought that was cool and there were cactuses and dirt everywhere, but in my mind I just thought we didn’t make it anywhere. Little did I know, that would be the most this place had to offer. Just like in Schitt’s Creek I most definitely stumbled. The show pretty much elaborates on the fact that money doesn’t make a person nor does it buy happiness. I guess one could have called me bougie at the time and maybe my whole family. In the show, Moira and Johnny moved because of the loss of all their money, while we moved because my mother’s father was sick and so she wanted to be near him so that she could take care of him. So we all dropped our lives in sunny Cali to come to the desert. It was an adjustment for everyone really. My mother was used to having an assistant and the children to belong to doctors and lawyers, so when she tried to go back into teaching it was different for her because that’s not how it really is. My mother is most definitely humble, but it was a big change for her so she went back to school to pursue another dream of hers. My father realized he wanted to chase a different dream as well and as for me, well let’s just say it was most definitely not the easiest transaction.

For me I think I would compare myself to Alexis Rose and maybe a bit of David. I think that just like the two, I have grown but at the time I felt like I was better than everyone there. Coming from California the education system was better and so when I came to Tucson I was extremely ahead of all the other kids. Things that they were learning in 6th grade, I had already learned in third so I took it as a joke really. So having straight A’s wasn’t a problem but to me it was shameful cause the type of standards that the middle school students were held to was the absolute bare minimum. So I was doing online schooling for a long period of time because we all thought that our residency in Tucson would be temporary so I wanted to stay on track with the California kids but then our stay ended up being not so temporary, so I went into public schooling full time during freshman year of high school.

There were a lot of underlying messages in the show Schitt’s creek. In the article, “The three subversive messages of ‘Schitt’s Creek,” one of the messages that they say is, “leisure time for all.” They also make a point to say, “Though, if we empathize with the Rose family in Season 1, we’re supposed to view Schitt’s Creek through their eyes as a “dump” and a “hellhole,” as we get to know the town alongside Johnny, Moira, David and Alexis, it becomes apparent that it actually may be the ideal place to live.” I unquestionably think that it was fate that brought me here because I think that I needed to see a different way of living. Now that I live in Arizona I feel like it humbled me a little bit and taught me that I need to work and earn things that I desire rather than just get it whenever I want it. Which is similar to what David had to experience.

While I wouldn’t say Arizona is the ideal place to live, I am glad I moved here because I learned that money doesn’t buy happiness and that It doesn’t take much to make me happy. I think I had to go through a few phases before realizing this. Don’t get me wrong, I still have my bougie ways but that’s what makes me unique. I feel like people who have been born and raised in Arizona need to leave it because being here made me see that Tucson kids don’t really dream big. They haven’t seen the other parts of life, they haven’t seen that there is more than this place. I, on the other hand, will be going to college in Arizona because I like the simplicity.