10 Things I Did Not Expect About Moving to LA

September 16, 2010 § 6 Comments

Hello, new university, you are pretty

The last time I moved prior to this was about twelve years ago, I was about to start the sixth grade. Moving when you are a kid is incredibly easy even though I clearly recall being severely annoyed about the whole thing. At any rate, it’s easy, you are not responsible for anything too serious, you are super adaptable, it is easy to make friends at that young age because elementary school forces you to interact with about thirty kids everyday, some of them are bound to take a shine to you. Moving as an adult is different, a little more lonely, tiny bits more stressful, but (in my opinion at least) considerably more exciting. I’m not much of a list maker, but I do recognize it’s usefulness in helping to organize your thoughts. Here are ten things that totally surprised me about moving to Los Angeles:

1. That’s a lot of cargo space! I have to say I am incredibly impressed at the available space in a Honda CR-V. Moving trucks & regular truck rentals are ridiculously expensive, so we loaded up the Honda. For about a month, all I could think of was, “How am I going to fit everything in that car?!?!?!” Yes, I did leave lots of things at home with my parents, but I did manage to take kitchen things, bathroom things, & bedroom things with me (& yes, the craft supplies!). My room here feels full, I have not yet missed anything that is not with me, so I’m still pretty impressed.

2. Anxiety: I knew there was going to be some reaction in me resulting from the sudden change in location/home life, but I had no clue what that reaction would be; apparently, being a bit anxious & worrying about really idiotic things was it. One bug in the bathroom made my imagination create a major bug infestation & resulted in a serious cleaning spree. The sound of sirens made me imagine streets filled with all crime all the time before realizing that there is actually a big hospital nearby & yes, ambulances use sirens too. Much of this anxiety has passed now which is great although it does mean I have less silly anecdotes to tell my friends.

3. Oh, so this card is basically useless? The credit/debit machines at UCLA often have trouble with small banks. By trouble, I mean, they will not work. You have been warned!

4. UCLA: Well I was expecting UCLA, I had seen UCLA, my reason for being here is UCLA, but the campus blows my mind every time I take a visit. UCLA certainly has more of a collegiate, academia, knowledge center feel than the university I attended previously. Powell library is so beautiful, walking around in there gave me watery eyes. Or maybe that was because my shoes were very uncomfortable which leads me to my next point

5. Aughghghg, my feet! Whyyyyyy?!?! Where I come from, walking is not so popular. Streets are wide, sidewalks are lacking, public transportation is a joke, it’s car city. Therefore, I never noticed that so many of my shoes are good for moderate walking, but not a lot of walking. & I have been doing a lot of walking! I love walking, walking feels great. In fact, the lack of walking I previously experienced caused me to be a pacer which was a bother to my stepmom because apparently someone walking around in circles repeatedly can drive others batty. There is a lot to see so I often don’t realize how much walking I’ve been doing. Until of course, I stop. Whenever I would stop walking, I would realize how much my feet hurt & how much I hated my shoes. Have you ever seen, Tokyo! ? There is a short film in it called, “Merde”, in my imagination, that is how I look when I am ready to be done walking for the day. However, Dr. Scholl’s moleskin has banished those pains! If I were in the 7th grade, I would be writing “Dr. Scholl” in my notebook surrounded by hearts, that is how much I love this product.

6. Me talking a lot! I am not the world’s most outgoing person, I am in fact, far from it. However, I am on my way to becoming the master of small talk. Initially, I felt so lonely that I just started blabbing to anyone. Grocery store clerks, people in the elevator, people who had cute dogs, anyone! This may very well be the year I finally outgrow my shyness.

7. Other people talking to me a lot. Sometimes, when I have exhausted myself from small talk, I am amazed when other people decide to start talking to me.  At In-n-Out (mmmmmm), counter guy is like, “oh I notice you are carrying a book, what are you reading?” which was a longer conversation than the people behind me in line would have liked. While getting a bowl of noodles, counter boy is like, “Oh I notice you are looking through some photographs, are you into photography?” which is really nice! Or maybe fast food workers in my neighborhood are just really friendly.

8. Hey, who turned on all the lights?!?! Mega light pollution unlike anything I’ve experienced. Night hardly feels like night which is really strange to me.

9. I love not having a car! In the good old central valley, there are lots of open areas to explore, one of my favorite things to do was to get a few friends together & just go driving around in the middle of nowhere. When visiting San Francisco, I would always take the BART & the bus because driving in that city is insane. But I had no idea that Los Angeles had a pretty extensive bus system as well, here I am enjoying a lovely beverage at a cafe that I reached via bus super easily! Bus riding also makes for great people watching, I hope to get better at figuring it all out soon.

10. To really like it here. I don’t know if Los Angeles & I are familiar enough for me to say I love it here, but I have been having a lot of fun since moving down. This place is growing on me, which is probably the most unexpected thing.


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§ 6 Responses to 10 Things I Did Not Expect About Moving to LA

  • Ashley Rae says:

    Please continue to keep me updated on your adventures! Even if I don’t comment, I’m reading 🙂 I’ve never seen myself as someone who could live in/enjoy the L.A./ SoCal area, but I would love to visit you sometime! And likewise, you are welcome to Humboldt County – my beautiful new home! Crisp and clear after a weekend of rain. I never would expect that people in LA would be friendly, but I am glad you are finding otherwise! Or perhaps it is because you put off a friendly aura? I have not encountered an unkind person in this county. So different from the indifference I’m used to in the valley. (Do you find that if you just say you’re from the valley, not the central valley, people will think you’re from LA-valley? This happens to me, lots of displaced LA-ers up at Humboldt…)

    • Denise says:

      Hey, it’s really great to hear from you! I really hadn’t seen much of southern California at all & I think maybe having lived in the bay area as a kid gave me a bit of a NorCal bias. But at the same time, I figure, if I managed to really enjoy living in the Central Valley for so long, I can find something to love about living anywhere! Sometimes, it is a bit much & I kind of just want to pack up & go home. When I’m really tired, I can be a bit irritable because I find myself missing the quiet, & the lack of traffic, & the ease of getting to the middle of nowhere.
      Usually when people ask where I’m from, I just say, “Fresno”, because I think it’s large enough that most people have heard of it. More often than not though, people have heard only the terrible things about it. Several times when I have said I was from Fresno, the other person was surprised that I would admit such a thing which is so funny!
      Augh, I really need to write you a real letter or maybe I will send you an email later! So many things to talk about!

  • Hannah says:

    One of your ads by google is Help with Shyness, scoialanxiety.com, lol. The campus looks like it’s amazing, you should take a pic of the library! 🙂

    • Denise says:

      Wow, I feel like a lot of anxiety ridden people accidentally end up here, one of the most common searches is “birthday anxiety”!

      I can definitely get some pictures of the library! I haven’t really been photographing much since I got here because I really wanted to just get settled in & I felt documenting excessively might make me feel more outside of things than I have been. But Los Angeles & I had our monthiversary yesterday & I think it’s starting to feel more like home!

  • carolroque says:

    this sounds so amazing (:
    ..i cant want to do the same one day.. new cities to explore! or one to live in.
    ..or a new country & new language to learn! i want this so bad. one day.

    • Denise says:

      Travel & moving are both so expensive, but really great experiences, I wish I could travel more! Sometimes, it’s still difficult for me here, it’s so different. But for the most part, I’m really glad I decided to move! I have no idea where I’ll be living once grad school is all done, but I think a lot of what I learned about adapting can be applied to any situation so hopefully all the rough patches here will help me out in the future!

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