Since I've made the move to LA, several people have told me it takes at least a year or two of living here to fall in love with the city. Well I'm just about to roll up on the one year mark and I'm certainly not completely woo-ed yet but I'd say I'm getting there. For the past year I've basically been consumed by missing home, adjusting, observing the distinctions between the rivalry cities and also building my new found independence... putting together my first apartment, paying my own rent, buying my own groceries, basically being a self-sufficient broke 20 something in a new terrain. My only form of mobility for most of my life relied on the great and holy MTA system and now I actually pump my own gas and drive on freeways, that happens!... so I am seriously just starting to get used to all of this.
I'd describe my adjustment to LA like taking a lion from the wild and trying to turn it into a house cat. Some of the side effects of growing up in Brooklyn,NY are a layer of self defense and chronic bitchface, and both are things I don't necessarily need here. But lets get into some pros and cons of this journey.
PRO: I can afford to live!!!! While rent in NY is quadrupling and every square inch of Brooklyn and Manhattan is being turned into overpriced condos, rent in LA is actually affordable and you get more bang for your buck. Having your own place without any roommates is actually possible.
CON: I've become used to culture, activity, spontaneity just slapping me in the face once I leave my door in NY. Here, it seems the culture and colorful experiences has to be more hunted down and sought after. Because LA and all it's neighborhoods are so spread out it's not really a clustered melting pot and I feel like this creates a certain level of disconnection socially. It takes major effort to meet new people.
PRO: LA is obviously known for it's amazing weather and it really is one of the best things about living here! There are days when I miss the change of seasons and layering on clothes but when the sun is hitting your face, the weekends feel like a vacation and it is completely blissful. As a lover of the sun feeling its rays hit my skin on 90% of the days is one of my top favorite things.
CON: Now let's talk food... There's no hood spots here!!!! :( Besides this hole in the wall cuban spot near my house I haven't found much drool worthy take out food here. There isn't any hood chinese spots, no delicious greasy dirty dollar pizza, no dominican restaurants, no roti shops. There's a plethora of In N Outs, Fatburgers etc. but none of it can fill the void of a small fries with ketchup and bbq sauce. Every one of my trips back to NY this past year has revolved around stuffing my face with all the food I've been missing. I'm pretty sure this is linked to the culture thing I mentioned earlier. But on the plus side I've started cooking a lot more.
PRO: One of the major reasons I left New York was because the day-to-day rat race was completely draining my spirit. Rather than working to live, I felt like I was living to work and visiting LA several times opened up my eyes to the light. The value of life is definitely greater here and there is generally less of an obsession with work. As a person who has practically started working from the age it's legally allowed (14) I just needed to get out of the rat race and live or I was going to explode! I certainly appreciate the work-play balance that's possible here.
CON: Going anywhere in LA mostly revolves around driving and parking. Everyday thoughts: How am I going to get there? How long is it going to take to get there? Is there street parking? Should I just take an uber? -____- It's all pretty annoying and has discouraged me from going a couple of places. I'm also constantly wishing Jesus would literally TAKE THE WHEEL when people don't use their signals.
PRO: There is so much scenery happening in LA. You can go from mountains, to beach, to city all in one day. There's something kind of kindred and pleasant about having this plethora of nature at your finger tips. Between this and the good weather you can't help but want to be outside and you're suddenly overwhelmed with the desire to be healthy and go hiking. It's weird... but definitely not a bad side effect.
I think now that I've gotten through this year of homesickness my love for LA will start to blossom. I've started to accept the fact that I am just straight up NOT in New York, I'm in a whole new city and things are different here and there's so much "new" to delve into. While I miss all my favorite spots, the spontaneity, crazy and pizza of NY, I'm sure LA has it's things I'll gain an unhealthy attachment for. I've started making a conscious effort to leave my apartment and explore more and I'm pretty sure I'll find my footing in Gloss Angeles soon.
Stay tuned. <3