I do not have the exact numbers for what I am about to say, but 90% of the films and television shows loved by Americans are filmed and/or set in Los Angeles. If you are a fan of the Kardashians, you cannot get through one episode without awe regarding the scenic LA transition shots. You love films as much as me, you can recognize parts of LA where they shot something iconic. Living in LA has also allowed me in on the secret lingo that gets referenced everywhere. Without a doubt, the SNL skit of “The Californians” truly satirizes the LA culture to a T. I’ll attach the youtube link to the scene at the end of the post! Regardless of how recognizable Los Angeles is, the reality of living here gets hidden in the shadows. Walking down the streets opens your eyes to the homelessness. It breaks my heart when I see this people struggling, because no one seems to care about them. Rich people par-use the land without truly using their resources to help their neighbors. I’ll make a post about that eventually. Anyway, I want to dive into my experience regarding my move to LA and how it has shaped me into the individual I always wanted to be.
I came out to LA for a summer program through Temple University. I did not have any plans to stay after the program ended. Initially, I was thinking I would move to LA in a year after the program to go home and maybe work to save money. HOWEVER, living temporarily out here has inspired me to stay. I realized that living in LA is not much different than living in any other city. People go to work everyday. There’s traffic at rush hour. The traffic intensity can make you anxious about planning your commute, but it is just the lay of La La Land. Once you start living here, you learn the routes and start to find easier ways to get around. I love driving through the city streets. I would not get around without Caheunga Boulevard. Driving in Los Angeles definitely requires some warm up time. People drive extremely fast without a care for the others on the roads, most of the time. If you are a good driver who watches your surroundings, you will be fine! Having a car in LA has become less necessary with the rise of rideshare. You can put of getting a car if you truly want to. My coworker told me that Lyft offers monthly passes for your daily commute, which is super cool! The metro system, or the subway system as I am use to calling it, is slowly becoming a good source of transportation as well. You can get around LA if you find the way that fits you! Personally, I love having my own car that gets me around. I do not like worrying about ubering places, because you can wait for a long time, it can be surcharged, or your driver can be creepy. I do not like getting into a stranger’s car, but that is not the mentality to have when you need to use rideshare. I doubt driver’s want their cars looking a mess, because that takes out on their tips and rating.
I gotta get back on track. Apartment shopping in Los Angeles has been a rollercoaster I desperately need to get off of. My parents own apartment buildings, so, growing up around that taught me a lot about renting. Unlike everywhere in the country, LA landlords are not required to provide a fridge, or a stove in some cases. It is very weird viewing an apartment without a refrigerator. It is also weird because renters do not have a need to have a fridge they take place from place. I do not think this is something I will every get use to. I’ll accept it, though. I find myself accepting things that I cannot change and control more and more as the days pass here. People can be nasty like they are literally everywhere else. People in LA are just better at appearing nice. Understanding that the only thing you can only change and control yourself, it gets easier. The concept of letting go is a hard lesson I am learning during my moving process. Letting go of all the attachment to things that no longer serve your success or health being can be hard. I use to think letting go was a negative thing. Often, the image of letting go aways seems awful. There are a lot of tears and fits of frustration. But, letting go is positive! My move to Los Angeles allowed me to let go of my childhood and immaturity in order to become the adult I pictured. It is hard living out here having let go of a lot, because I do miss home. Someone said to me that around the four month mark is when you get homesick. That could not be more factual in my case. It is hard when people tell you they miss you or things may never be the same because you are not around anymore. That is okay! I am a very loving person. I will love everyone the same way whether we get to see each other or have to coordinate a time to facetime. I am at the age to go do my thing. I need to be in Los Angeles, because it bolsters my creativity. The weather makes me a more positive person. Sure, it has not been a walk in a park. Well, it is like a walk in a park where you keep tripping on large tree roots that you did not see coming.
What I learned during my summer here before officially moving to Los Angeles is everyone struggles at one point. There is no success without some struggle. Instead of allowing myself to wallow in the anxiety surrounding my living situation or my job search, I thank my lucky stars that I have walked down this path. I am thankful that I am taking advantage of this opportunity of a lifetime, and the pain from the struggle will not be remembered in the end. I know that I will find a nice apartment to live and a job that I like. Learning to trust the process–a cliche Philly phrase nowadays– is the biggest step I am taking. I definitely will keep writing posts about living in LA, because it is a process.
Here’s 5 things I wish someone told me before I moved to LA:
- The fridge thing I mentioned
- Renters want you to make 2.5-3 times the rent to get approved for the apartment.
- You might not get that great job you apply for, because someone’s nephew’s applied and they will get the job.
- Get a Ralph’s or Vons card. These things not only give you discounts on items in the store, but they allow you to accumulate points that go towards gas. I have a Ralph’s card. When I go to a Shell gas station, I swipe my card and get 30 cents off each gallon of gas. It sounds tiny, but it helps. Instead of paying $3.65 for a gallon, I pay $3.35. Eventually, I can accumulate enough points to get a dollar off each gallon!
- You can exchange plastic, glass, and can containers at recycling centers for cash. I do it sometimes. You will not walk out of there with a lot of money. I did it today, and made $3. It is nothing, but I plan on putting that money towards a saving or investment. You can invest money and make so much more than your investment if you study and play it smart. Or, you can just put it in a jar to save. Who cares. The money is still green.
Here’s 5 of my favorite places to go in LA
- Priscilla’s Cafe. Since it is down the street from Warner Brothers, the creative energy in the place is hypnotic. The coffee is great as well.
- Egyptian Theatre. There are a ton of free screenings, especially around film festival season, that happen here. I went recently to see Dogman.
- Fred 62. This diner is just too cute!
- RFK Memorial.
- Museum of Death.
Here’s that link to the Californians like I promised! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tt-tG6ufH90&list=PLFv4y-PVQCXAzzp181XIut2hCBb5wGwIC
Since Bojack Horseman is my favorite show, I wanted to include a few screengrabs that perfectly depict LA through dialogue.
Season 4 Episode 8 “The Judge”
Season 4 Episode 2 “The Old Sugarman Place”
Honorable mentions I could not find the screen-grabs for:
Season 1 Episode 5 (go to 22:10), Season 5 Episode 8 (go to 4:10), Season 5 Episode 9 (go to 10:30 [this one is my personal favorite LA reference])
Thank you for reading! Moving to LA has had a huge impact on me, and I hope people can read this and relate. It feels comforting to know you aren’t the only one in LA not having everything figured out.