I moved to Los Angeles three months ago.
The first month was a blur. I signed my lease, unloaded the few belongings I brought with me, and headed off to IKEA and Target in search of – everything. It was a dream come true, really, to walk into Target and actually need everything I bought. I left with two carts spilling over with kitchen supplies, bedding, towels, household items like trash cans and detergent… The next few days were a lot of the same – trips to IKEA, Target, and Homegoods and putting together lots of furniture.
I assembled my entire bed frame with a butterknife because I couldn’t find a screwdriver at any of the three Targets I searched and me being who I am, I couldn’t wait one extra day to go somewhere else that would have a screwdriver. Patience isn’t my strong suit. I have since acquired several screwdrivers and it made putting things a lot easier.
The first several weeks was spent setting up my apartment, finding my way around my neighborhood, and adjusting to the time difference. Spring semester started as well, another round of Zoom classes, and I had to learn on my feet how to juggle my east coast job with my new west coast life. L.A. was still in the midst of a COVID surge and so I spent most of my time in my apartment. Not much was open to explore, but I did make it to the beach, if to just walk along it. The ocean and I go way back and I love living so close to it now.
I learned that 55 degrees in Los Angeles is absolutely frigid. I had visions of shorts and t-shirts, long sleeve t-shirt at most, but in reality, I was bundling up to walk Knox or run errands. As someone who hates being cold, I was not ready for the chill factor. There have been several windy days (Santa Ana winds are no joke) and the occasional rainy day as well. I don’t mind them. It’s kind of nice and unlike in North Carolina, they don’t last days upon days upon days. But for the most part, California weather is as advertised: sunny and perfect.
One of the first things I did once I felt settled enough was go in search of a gym.
It wasn’t easy.
Several gyms I contacted weren’t taking new members because of pandemic restrictions. They were limited to outdoor space and small class sizes and needed to service their existing members first. Made sense. I was going to cycle classes a couple of times a week in Chapel Hill so I decided to try out a few studios. The first one didn’t work out, so I gave Cyclebar Culver City a try. I fell in love with it. The owner and instructor both were so kind and I loved the class. I joined and have my booty on a bike at least four times a week. It’s turned into a great way to meet new people.
I’ve also made it a point to try to go to a different part of L.A. every weekend. My quick thoughts that will be expanded upon in future posts:
- Manhattan Beach – Obsessed. I’m about 10 minutes from the pier, less if I hit the lights right. Cute shops, great places to eat, love walking along the Strand.
- Venice Beach – Grungy and artsy. I felt like I needed a shower when I left and yet I also loved it.
- Los Feliz – I love it. I want to live there. Griffith Park has become one of my favorite places.
- Silver Lake/Echo Park – Unimpressed. The Silver Lake flea market wasn’t my style. Echo Park is pretty, but it was dirty and meh.
- Downtown Los Angeles – Gross. Awful. Hated it. I wanted to love it. Truly. But – gross. I’ll venture down from time to time because there are some good spots, but yeah, no.
- Playa Vista/Westchester – This is where my campus is. It’s a cute little area, quaint. No real complaints, but not a whole lot to do. Hoping it picks up when we’re back on campus.
- Santa Monica – Big fan for the most part. It’s got its less than stellar spots, but I really like it overall.
There is still so much to explore, but I’m making headway. I’m hoping to make it up to Malibu soon, Studio City, Calabasa… Everywhere.
As the days tick by, I’m getting more and more DMs on Instagram. Facebook messages. Texts. They all say something like this:
Los Angeles seems to suit you.
And you know what?
I didn’t like Chapel Hill all that much, something I feel like I can say now that I no longer live there. People love Chapel Hill the way I love Knoxville. It’s their college town, their place. I just never fell for the quaint little town, despite my best efforts. I didn’t fit there, couldn’t seem to get a foot in the door of the community no matter how hard I tried. I had my gym friends and my work friends, but that was about it. It was too small, too quaint, too quiet.
L.A. feels oddly like home.
Oddly because I’ve only been here three months. How can a place that I’ve only had an address in for three months feel so much like home? I haven’t even changed my license over yet (you try getting a California DMV appointment during a pandemic). I don’t know how, but it does.
Los Angeles feels like home.
I feel more myself here. It’s like my soul sighed a big huff of relief and said ‘we’re finally where we’re supposed to be.’
That’s not to say it’s been all smooth sailing. I’ve had days when I’ve felt lonely, days when I wonder what in the hell I’m doing, how on earth I’m going to make all of “this” work. I’ve had a couple of health things pop up that meant having to find a new PCP in a hurry and hi, health anxiety over here. I’m not my best self in those moments.
But in spite of the doubts that creep in, Los Angeles still feels like home.
I don’t know what the future holds or how it’s all going to shake out. Three months from now I might have a change of heart. Or I might be even more in love with it. I might still be trying to find my community or I might be madly in love.
There’s possibility here. And I think that might be why I love L.A.