It’s been a little over a month since my move to North Carolina.

The humidity still takes a little getting used to. It rained all day today. The air felt thick and heavy, and I sat inside my empty apartment, away from the weather.

I will probably wake up to a lot of fog in the morning. There is a subtle sadness to this town. From the old tall trees to abandoned homes on every other corner. The vandalized walls of empty shop houses. You can almost hear its story just by walking the streets. It’s stained with crime and poverty; something I’ve never had the chance to be familiar with. I grew up privileged, and today I am humbled by my surroundings.

I had to write a story last week on the murder charge brought upon a 20-year-old native of this town. 20 is my brother’s age. While I waited for his mugshot to load, my heart couldn’t help but make a nervous flutter. Nervous to see what this boy would look like. The sight was a little uncomfortable. He was covered in tattoos and I couldn’t help but wonder how he got to where he is. At what point did he begin to lose his humanity?

Growth has been one of the biggest challenges for me. Growing up away from home makes it that much harder. While my friends get to keep their rooms and still have home-cooked meals, I decided to catch the soonest plane out of comfort and into the unknown. In my years of being abroad and not having the means of going home that frequently, I’ve learned that nine minutes is all you need to make perfectly soft pasta and that mold can still grow in the refrigerator. Those are just the easier lessons learned.

Then you come to harder things like overdraft fees and 30-minute walks to work.  To sleeping in sleeping bags in airports and even in your own apartment.

I try very hard not to complain because this is what I’ve chosen. I love what I do, that I know. That’s the easy part of the entire equation. I like walking into the newsroom and thinking of stories and even reading about stories from other people. But work is my only driving force out here. I don’t have any friends or a savings account for that matter.

I usually go to bed exhausted and wake up feeling the same way. I worry a lot, about a lot of things. I wonder if life will ever be the way I’ve always wanted it to be.