i had a moment not long before i left LA where everything was perfect.
i was at huntington beach, at night, with some friends, sitting against the lifeguard station, staring out into the black ocean, with the full moon behind me and the sound of ocean waves crashing against the sand around me.
everything in that scene was perfect and epitomized everything i thought about LA.
it's weird to think that four years ago when i first landed in LA, i didn't want to stay. everything was too southern california, where there is only one season, where people are so healthy and only eat organic, and where you can't get anywhere by bus or subway.
flash forward four years and everything has changed. i love this city. there are lots of flaws about it (public transportation could get better, things could be cheaper) but it's become my adopted home and i love all the different neighbourhoods. now that i don't really know where i'm going and where i'm headed, i know i'm going to miss my adopted city, the city that helped me overcome my canada withdrawal.
i think my move to LA really shows the three steps of acclimation to a new environment:
1) excitement - i was beyond excited to move to southern california
2) shock - why did i move here?! i don't like LA!
3) acceptance and assimilation - alright, since i'm so savvy with the bus and subway, let's go to monterey park by bus and eat at this awesome vietnamese restaurant, maybe later we can go to the tar pits and get in for free with our student IDs, then we can get some awesome dessert in koreatown and catch karaoke in little tokyo...
i know when i first left, everyone back home said i would just become a socal girl and not want to go back home and i scoffed at them. and while i love home, there is a part of me now that's in LA.
i'm starting my new life as a vagabond now and i'm excited for it! but i'll still call LA my "american home", just like how toronto is my "canadian home".
so here are some final tips about living in LA:
1) a car is great but you don't need it all the time - take the bus or subway, it'll surprise you how convenient it can be sometimes
2) the coolest stuff isn't where you think it is - beverly hills and hollywood can be great...but it's exploring places like downtown where you can find some of LA's gems
3) there are more free things than you think - free movie screenings at the grove/century city/universal citywalk, free tapings of jimmy kimmel/price is right/conan o'brien, free visits to museums, free performances of shakespeare plays...
4) JUST EAT! food is honestly the gateway to this city and without further ado, here are my final food suggestions:
- square one dining - for french toast
- spitz - for kebobs and gyros
- haus - for light korean desserts and cakes
- fat fish - for cheap sushi after 9 pm (only $2/plate! mind you, i never said it was quality sushi)
- lucky boys - for breakfast burrito
- banh mi che cali - for BOGO vietnamese food (BOGO - buy one get one)
- the griddle cafe - for decadent pancakes and gorgeous omelettes
- fritto misto - for authentic italian pasta
i have a lot more but i just can't think of all of them right now. for all those food lovers out there, i hope this helps! and if you don't love food that much, give one of these a try, i hope they provoke more gastronomical desires.