Over the last couple of months, I have documented my experiences, both in my visits back to San Diego and my life in Leeds, on a point and shoot 35mm film camera that I picked up in a thrift store (a highly recommended thing to do). Following are some of the images I’ve taken, plus some from my Polaroid, as a bit of comparison between the two worlds.
In September of 2016, I left the town I had known my entire life and moved across the Atlantic Ocean, a full 6,000 miles away, to the town of Leeds in West Yorkshire, in the United Kingdom.
It had been a long road, almost nine month since I had gotten word that, upon completion of my high school diploma, I would have an unconditional acceptance to my first choice school, Leeds Beckett University. With the announcement of Brexit shortly after my acceptance, the process of receiving a study visa in order to legally live in another country, and leaving all my comforts behind, it’s a wonder I didn’t back out straight away. But I realized, to grow past what I was capable in San Diego, I knew I had to have this dramatic of a change in my life.
Since moving, I have experienced heartbreak, true friendship, elation, devastation, and a kind of culture shock that I wouldn’t exactly call unpleasant. I have grown as a person and as an artist, and I am becoming more and more independent. I feel more distant from my hometown than ever; I have witnessed, as an outsider, the change that the San Diego scene I used to call myself a member of has been subject to, and it has brought about a whole new perspective on everything I used to hold dear to myself. I cannot call San Diego home any longer, and yet, I have not found enough solace in my new city to call Leeds that either. I have become transient, and it was the best choice I have ever made for myself.
Piece by Francesca Tirpak