January 1st marks one year in LA. Since I will be caught up with other things soon (pregnancy, family, holidays), I wanted to talk about LA Living: the pros and cons.
1. The traffic. LA is the second largest city in the country. It is massive and spread out and really 20 cities next to each other. The traffic sucks. When I was on nights it would take me an hour to get to work and an hour and a half to get home. Now that I am days and opposite of rush hour its 15 minutes each way. There are rules: don’t go to or from the beach after 3, try not to fly out of LAX from 5-7 . Pretty much avoid driving from 9-11am and 5-7pm. Always allow 1 hour to get anywhere. If you follow these rules and stick mainly to your particular neighborhood or city its really not that bad. Also–have plenty of alternate routes.
2. Beauty and beast. LA is beautiful. The vista off my apartment balcony is gorgeous with hills, lush greenery, golden-topped churches, urban wildlife, and distant mountains. This view is countered by massive expanses of industrial concrete jungles, trash, pollution and poverty. There are such striking highs and lows (both beautiful) here and very few middle grounds.
3. Boutiques. I love LOVE LOVE independent boutiques. My favorite store in ALL THE WORLD is on Mississippi avenue in PDX and called Flutter (the first time I walked into this shop I was greeted by 5 Canadian Geese flying out of an antique couch–amazing taxidermy). I love a good unique trinket and fancy candle. However, in LA this is overwhelming. There are unique boutiques 5 per a block throughout all areas of the city. Its hard not to feel like you want to buy everything at everyone of those stores. Except you can’t because the slightest candle costs $100. Its annoying. There are a couple shops I visit regularly one is The New Stone Age where I can find a satisfying affordable trinket that is actually wearable or useful around the house.
4. Weather. I love the sunshine and warm weather here but I miss the cold rain. I miss snuggling under a blanket while it pours outside. It makes it easy to be lazy. Here, the sun is bright and it makes you do stuff not matter how lazy you want to be. “Go be lazy on the beach!” you say. Well see the above traffic mention–usually the beach is too far away.
5. Expensive. I mentioned the boutiques but I want to also mention that everything here is expensive. Everything. Rent, real estate, gas, food, dinners out. Actually, street food here is cheap as it should be but everything else is expensive and not that good unless you go super fancy then everything is super good and super expensive. We are a strong 2-income household and feel pretty poor here.
6. Opportunity. LA is huge with lots and lots of industry. People may move here for the acting/screenwriting (seriously everyone here has scripts) but opportunities are endless. Sometimes we float the idea of moving back to the NW someday but there are not the opportunities there that are here–which makes it hard.
7. Film, television, celebrities. This part is so fun. The celebrity sightings (I hate to admit) are exciting. Sometimes I get a secret joy of how crappy they look in person–or sometimes how good they look but usually without the makeup and stylists they look crappy or dirty. Going to show tapings (sometimes paid) is a great time too–fun to see how things are made and how long a process everything is. So much work.
8. Citrus fruit. I have not gotten over how exciting it is to walk the dog and see oranges, grapefruits and tangerines hanging about. The smell of a fresh orange is INSANE! I love love love it…and yes, may occasionally take an overhanging fruit. This is legal as long as it is over the sidewalk–I looked it up.
In short, I love living here. I love the two sides of LA I get too see–the spoiled side of where I live, and the stark reality where I work (more on this later). I think Philadelphia offered a similar view (with more of a stark bend). This view is not so available in the NW–or it is but not to the same degree. In the NW I never visited a cupcake ATM off Rodeo drive then the next day went to work and treated a gunshot wound or neck stabbing. For now, I like living in a world such as this. Sometimes its hard and I wish more friends lived here but its worth it.