Thursday, November 29, 2012

Washington is for nesters, LA is for loners?

My friend Sylvia sent me this interesting article about why LA is a horrible place to be single. Certainly a great pick me up from an old friend! The article was written by Amanda Hess...someone who also moved from DC to LA and made some interesting observations about the difference of dating between the two cities.
She argues that Washington is for nesters and Los Angeles is for loners. Not because of the people in each city but because of the way the cities are scattered and laid out. Her argument- Because DC is smaller and more compact than LA or New York the number of singles doesn't seem overwhelming, but instead seems intimate. She says “Like a shelf stocked full with fancy mustards, too many potential mates makes it harder to settle on just one. The surplus of singles in New York and L.A. means only that the single person’s wasteland is that much more vast.” She makes some interesting points, some of which I agree with, but this game has to do with more than just numbers. I think it does have to do with the people in each city.

The problem with DC? Everyone seems like a good catch...on paper. Most guys I met in DC met basic criteria of being smart, educated, having a job, having drive, being close with their family etc. Since their were so many of these eligible guys, if there wasn't a “click” or extremely witty banter and intellectually stimulating conversation, I would usually just brush them to the side.
By the same token, DC is full of smart, beautiful, successful women. Everyone's educated, everyone's doing something with their life...most women in DC are also great catches. So what does that mean? More competition on both sides. As I could easily sometimes brush off men they could do the same to me.
In LA, its not always the same case. There is a lot of weeding out of men that you have to do. Who wants to date someone who is unemployed and can't even pay for their own shit? Not me. On the other side though, a lot of men don't seem to mind unemployed waste of life women, as long as they are hot. Unfortunate reality. And I know I could never compete with women that hot, not in LA.
Hess is correct in pointing out the vast layout of LA and saying that not everyone is willing to navigate three freeways for the chance to get laid. But what that ends up doing is making the larger metropolis of Los Angeles seem more like a small town because people stay in their respective neighborhoods. The surplus of singles that she mentions, kind of disappears unless you are willing to spend an insane amount of money on gas to drive across the city. I dont often leave a 10 mile radius (well why would I go more than 10 miles in the ocean? Unless I make more friends with boats) because I'm lazy and don't like to drive to go drinking. Even when I met a guy in Hollywood, I only gave him my number because he lived in the town next to me. There's no way I would drive to and from Hollywood all the time.
What I've found is that in LA there are two extremes of men. Guys who don't want to commit(which unfortunately seems like the norm); They just want to hit on you or hook up with you. They aren't interested in some sort of larger commitment for whatever reason. Maybe because they think they can be Clooney. But this type of guy seems more prevalent in LA than in DC. The other extreme-- the guys who want to commit and want girlfriends. The ones that actually do take you on dates are the ones that take things too fast. I haven't really come across a middle ground of guy who legimitately takes you out, treats you with respect and takes things at a reasonable pace. Maybe that's too much to ask for any city but that seemed like more of the norm in Washington. Here you're either (hopelessley) trying to make a guy realize that he should date you or you're trying to let someone down easily.
But this is not meant to be as depressing as it sounds. I know plenty of people in normal LA relationships and contrary to Hess' article, I would say it's actually been easier to meet guys in LA than in DC. At least outside of Hollywood, people are friendlier than they are in Washington. I've gone on more dates with guys that I just met at a bar, club or party in LA than I ever did in the nation's capital. So yeah, its a shame that LA is as spread out as it is because it seems like there are a lot of cool people out there, but chances are I'll never know them. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

A little bit of Thanks

This year was the first thanksgiving that I wasn't with my family but I had so many people reach out to me and invite me places. So much so that I couldn't make it to everything but the outpouring of love was amazing.

It's been a wild year, one of the most exciting and emotionally draining I've been through. But through it all I've really had so much to be thankful for and so many people to be thankful for. So thank you to everyone who made me feel welcome when I was new here. All those who offered to pass along my resume or recommended me for jobs. To all of you who made me laugh when I needed to. To the unlucky few who have had to listen to me cry, hug me when I cry, and most importantly those who told me to stop crying because my life is actually amazing. To all those who helped me reason through and make life decisions(however small those decisions might have been). And to everyone who shared something exciting about their life with me.

To all my friends back home and across the country, thank you for keeping me solid and grounded and for reminding me who I really am.

To my family- thank you for supporting me in whatever I do, loving me, taking care of my beloved kitty, and reminding me that despite all the challenges that life is about enjoying yourself.

To my friends in California--I am really so lucky to have all of you. I know when some people move they have trouble making friends in new cities. I have had the opposite experience here and am so thankful that I immediately met amazing co-workers, I was able to get connected with people who I was put in touch with by common friends and that I moved to one of the most bizarre/most fun/craziest neighborhoods in LA.

So I can't dole out enough thanks. But now that I have, don't expect me to for another year.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Trip to the Bay Area

Last weekend I had the chance to visit my friend from Virginia, Kevin, in San Francisco. We had the pleasure of being joined by our other friend Sylvia who flew out from Virginia for a mini high school reunion. 

The best part was obviously being able to see my old friends. I've met a ton of people an made a lot of new friends in my new home but it was nice to spend time with people who have known me for years.  We all mostly hung out in the years after college and its interesting to see how much each of us has grown and changed. I also had a really fun time in the bay area exploring the other side of California for the first time since I was 7. The most obvious difference to me between San Francisco and LA was how much San Francisco felt like real city. Since I drive everywhere in LA it was weirdly relaxing to be able to take public transportation or be able to take a quick cab to get you to city center. The landscape of San Francisco seemed almost European. With the steep hills, older buildings and bay view I felt like I was back in Barcelona or another Mediterranean city. And when I say steep, I mean steep. I came back to LA with calves of steel as we had to scale the “hills” (more like Mt. Everest in every direction) of San Francisco streets.

The second most obvious difference: hippies. No joke, I'm not just saying this. I might have a biased view as we went to a large, free, music festival one day. But dirty granola hippies AND hipsters were abound.

The third: bohemoth fire hydrants. That's all I have to say about that. 

The fourth: A different kind of crazy. I've become accustomed to the crazies of Venice beach and the sort, I almost forgot about inner city crazy people! We defintely encountered some as we were taking public transportation across San Francisco.

The fifth: A different type of creativity. Being in LA I feel like I'm certainly surrounded by a lot of creative people. Creative in various artistic facets. The Bay area, known for its start up culture, definitely seemed like it was full of people with a different type of creativity: idea people coming up with the latest app for smart phones or innovative business models (ie...we took a zip car out to Sonoma one day. Apparently this started in SF).

Similarities: palm trees(still not as good as the ones in LA), transplants, cyclists and white teenagers wearing drug rugs and openly talking about drug use in public. Hey kids, might want to keep that to yourself. 

All in all we had a good time! And of course we have some documentation of our fun: 
One of the bohemoth fire hydrants 
View of the Mission from Kevin's House

Waterfall at Golden Gate Park 
Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival 
One of our stops at a vineyard in Sonoma
Golden Gate Bridge 
Cats! and Wolves! 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bi-Coastal Earthquakes

It has officially been one year since the DC earthquake. Every person in DC remembers where they were and what they were doing when it happened as if it was the most important event of 2011.

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was on the 8th floor of my office building at work when my desk started slowly shaking. Then the shaking became more violent. My first thought: What the hell? My second thought: Oh my god, a plane is going to run into my building. I'm gonna die. My third thought: Oh hey, this must be an earthquake!

It lasted about 20 seconds and honestly by the end of it I had a smile on my face (that's not what she said). I felt like I went on a roller coaster ride.

Luckily, damage in DC was minimal but for us east coasters the earthquake was a reason to boast. A big "In your face, we can deal with a sudden movement of the earth's crust caused by the release of stress accumulated along geologic faults or by volcanic activity...just like anyone on the west coast!" For west coasters, it was a reason to make fun of east coasters. Which is fine, east coasters defintely deserve to be made fun of but I'd love to see Angelinos deal with a quarter inch of snow. This was one of my favorite articles I read after the great DC earthquake of 2011. My favorite line is definitely:

But can we wimpy East Coasters just have our moment of absolutely shitting ourselves in fear as our non-earthquake-proofed buildings wobble and creak around us? Can we crawl around on our carpets to survey the paltry damage—look, a book fell off a shelf! That could have given someone a serious goose-egg!—without some Californian standing smugly in the doorframe like they learned in grade school, chewing on a PowerBar from the earthquake preparedness kit they carry around in a Lakers fanny pack at all times?

And you know what, in 6+ months I've been here I have only felt one earthquake (a light rumble that woke me up in the morning). So far the DC earthquake is the biggest (and best!) quake I've ever been through.

Monday, August 13, 2012

6 month mark

Wow,  I can't believe that it has already been 6 months since I moved to LA! A lot has happened in the last half a year, a lot of things that have made me learn more about myself: my strengths, my flaws and my general character.  Life in California has not been without its challenges and these last 6 months have certainly been a transition period for me. Sometimes I feel like that's brought out the best of me and sometimes I feel like that has brought out less than the best of me but overall I'm happy with my move and happy with the person I am becoming. 

Being unemployed for two months was an interesting experience and in some ways exactly what I needed. But after a point I started to feel very idle, like I wasn't reaching my potential. I start a new job this week and I think this will be the beginning of the next phase of my life in California. In the next 6 months I hope to discover whether I want to continue my west coast experiment or try something else. Needless to say, I'm excited for what is to come.

My goals for the next 6 months: 
  • See more of LA! I make an effort to leave Playa but its been 6 months and I still haven't really hung out down town or several other neighborhoods. There's lots to see and I want to see it. 
  • Travel around California Now that I feel more settled and like I have my home base, I want to take more day and weekend trips. San Diego, Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Yosemite are all on my list 
  • Go to more comedy shows. LA is a comedy hub, and who doesn't like to laugh? 
  • Spend more time with my family in the area. Life got a bit crazy in the past 6 months, but I've got family in the area and should see them more often. 
  • Spend time with people who want to be around me and who I want to be around. Sometimes you learn this the hard way but life is too short. Foster the friendships that matter, forget about the rest. 

A few photo highlights of the last 6 months: 
Hollywood Bowl for the Playboy Jazz Festival 

I hiked to the top of the Hollywood sign...amazing views of the city and the valley

LA Kings win the Stanley Cup! 

Bottle Service for Eva's birthday! 

Lovely day in Santa Monica with a visit from my friend Val from Virginia 

Cinco de Mayo 
Venice Canals---absolutely beautiful 

Dressing up as solo cups for an Easter Keg Hunt

Patriotic Outfits for the 4th of July 

The Fab Four--wonderful ladies who I am so happy I met! 

Group bike ride

Santa Monica Pier at Sunset

Just a random wednesday night in the neighborhood...jumping into random people's bat mobiles. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012


I've taken a bit of a break from blogging because, well, life has given me a few hurdles. I went back home to Virginia for a week over the Memorial Day holiday. I figured 3 and ½ months after my move would be a good time to get a taste of home and to tell everyone how much I love California. Well, my trip to Virginia ended up being a bit different than planned.

So I left for Virginia with:
*A Tan
*Enough clothes for a week
*A job

I returned to California with:
*A panini maker
*400 Fish oil tablets
*Way too many pictures of my cat
*A Crown on my tooth
*No job
*Apprehension about the future

In a way, the beginning of my trip was so depressing that it was kind of comical. I had known for a week prior to leaving that there was a possibility that I would get laid off. Mentally I was prepared for it but the reality of being unemployed after just moving across the country was a bit unsettling. Here's the kicker--I received a call on the Monday night of my holiday with the news (Happy Memorial Day?).

To top it all off, I had a sudden and horrible toothache that day so I went into the Dentist on Tuesday morning and was told that I would need to get a root canal. Seriously, was the God I don't believe in unleashing some sort of wrath on me? With my insurance only lasting 3 more days, I had an emergency root canal done on Wednesday. I had something which was supposed to be done in four visits done in one sitting. The dentist's office told me I had a record for how long I was sitting in the chair. I guess you can call that a silver lining.

So after the demoralization of being laid off, the physical pain of going through a root canal and the financial pain of having to pay an unexpected $600 for the root canal, I can't say that I was in the best of spirits early in the week. But after having the re-charge of seeing my good friends and spending time with my extremely supportive family, my perspective on the situation turned quite positive. I will be working for the rest of my life, this time of unemployment is just an opportunity for me truly relax and re-charge and strategically plan my next steps for a career change. The only thing I know for certain, I want to stay in Southern California.

What has been most overwhelming about the whole situation is how supportive and willing to help everyone has been. My former colleagues were exteremely supportive and had such positive feedback and kind things to say to me. With a very limited professional network in LA, I have really had to reach out to everyone I know to put me in touch with people that they know in LA. I've had some success professionally that way and in the least have been making more connections and more friends through the experience.

While being laid off was less than ideal, I'm glad I used my former job as a vehicle to bring me out to California. I don't think I would have done it otherwise. I always tell myself that life could be a lot worse. Afterall, its summer, I live in a wonderful and fun community, and this is what I see every day:  


Sunday, May 13, 2012

You mean not everyone here is a Lakers fan?

Before I moved to LA my friend John told me that I should be a Clippers fan and outlined several reasons why I should like the Clippers over the Lakers. My response to him was “The Clippers are an NBA team?” Clearly I don't watch that many NBA games but I guess I just assumed everyone in LA was a Lakers fan. Everyone isn't...and its not only because Lamar Odom is gone. 

Much like DC, LA is a city full of transplants who came to pursue their dreams, bringing with them identities of from their home to add to the larger identity of the city. However, the size of LA lends to what seems like a series of suburbs and sub-identities as opposed to a collective identity. This came across most clearly to me through discovering people's sports loyalties. There are a number of franchises which are trying to capitalize on the huge potential market of LA and its surroundings. These competing franchises (Lakers/Clippers, Dodgers/Angels) and the void left by no current NFL team, seem to magnify a lack of collective sports culture for LA and ultimately a lack of city wide identity. I'm not saying LA doesn't have an identity, quite the opposite, but “Los Angeles” seems to just be an umbrella term for a wide range of smaller sub-identities.

In DC, Maryland and Virginia (aside from the transplants—and there are a lot of them with quite strong sports loyalties) most everyone is a Capitals fan, most everyone is a Redskins fan (except for that one random Cowboys fan everyone knows), most everyone is a Nationals fan (except for the old school Orioles fans), and everyone just wishes the Washington Wizards would just go back to being the Washington Bullets. There's a collective sense of identity, from the Virginia and Maryland suburbs to the inner city, which really seems to bring the area together. Or more accurately gives reason for people to mourn together after losses...

But, when the Redskins win, people in DC are immediately happier, customer service is better, people tend to smile more, spirits are lifted! I don't feel like there is a city-wide equivalent here but there are pockets of it. That isn't a bad thing, its just different.

On a personal level, the Washington Capitals 2011/2012 season ended last night so I now have to turn my attention to my adopted LA team. The LA Kings have made advancing in the playoffs look easy, only losing one game in the first two rounds of playoffs. (I happened to be at the one game they lost to the Canucks—I take this as a sign that I am bad luck.) I never thought of LA as a hockey city but I have met some enthusiastic and loyal fans which I think is an example of these pocketed identities. So I'm jumping on the bandwagon and I'm happy to take on a new identity as a Kings fan. Second only to the Capitals of course.  

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Don't Trust a Bro

Please excuse my reference to a 3oh3 song as I hate those guys. I also promise that my next post will be more lighthearted.

In my last post I introduced the concept of a Southbay Bro. As I've been hanging out in the Southbay a fair amount, I have come across a few of these. So I guess mine is a normal girl meets bro story. Bro and girl get along pretty well. They joke around, they flirt, the usual. Bro regales girl with compliments about how beautiful, funny, intelligent and great she is(all of this is true, of course).  Except there are a few hurdles, twists and turns which make this story a hot mess.

In the past 3 weeks I've found myself involved in more drama than I would usually ever care for. Those who know me well know that I avoid conflict at most costs. I tend to look at things from a level headed perspective and when needed act as a mediator in conflict, rarely, if ever, being the cause.  When I found myself in the middle of a circle of drama, I started to wonder if life in California has already started to change me. Was I suddenly more prone to drama just by being in a new place?

I just recently turned 25 and this birthday was the first in a long time that I was cognizant about how different I felt. I'm no longer part of the 18-24 “young people” demographic bracket and its like a slap in the face.  I'm not the same rambunctious 21 year old I used to be. Now when 21 year olds try to hit on me at bars I feel like I need to ask for their guardian's signature before talking to them. My previous youthful sense of carelessness has turned into caring more about the future and the long-term. At 25 I feel like I have a stronger sense of clarity than I did before. I obviously have a lot to learn but feel like I generally know who I am and have an idea of where I want to end up.

This same mentality has translated into my dating life. I haven't gotten more careless, I've gotten more careful. I am afterall a beautiful, funny, intelligent and great person and I know what I deserve. But the aftermath of this incident has left me feeling like I was too careless and let my levelheadedness fall by the wayside.

I said in my first post I came to California because I wanted to be thrown into a sense of uncertainty. I wanted to have chaos in my life. Not having the comfort of leaning on people who I know and who know me well, I wanted the challenge of finding new friends and navigating a new terrain to find people who are equally as awesome as the friends I have made in life thus far. Well I wanted chaos and that is what I got. Ultimately I'm happy here. Shit happens and people make mistakes. Its certainly not the first time I've been hurt and it probably won't be the last. It's all part of the adventure and while it was a less than desirable situation which threw a wrench in my happy and peaceful life in California, I believe that it will only lead to more clarity about the type of people I want to surround myself with. I know I've found some of those people here on the west coast and I hope that we will continue to be friends.

I know eventually I'll look back on my first 2 and a ½ months(I can't believe it has only been this long) in California and laugh. But in the meantime—blame the bro and his carelessness. Blame the bro for thinking he can do what he wants and just talk his way out of it. His brotocol is brocially unacceptable.

I think its too soon to tell what the overall moral of the story is but when you hang around the Southbay, you can save yourself a lot of trouble by following one simple rule: Don't trust a bro.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Are you a lumberjack? Are you a hipster? What are you?!

So until I have time to write about something more meaningful I figured I would touch upon something I noticed about the Southbay.

It seems that flannel/plaid is one fashion which is still going strong in Southern California. Night after night, weekend or weekday, I have noticed an alarming percentage (it has to be around 50%) of men wearing these styles. When I think of either of these checkered patterns I only think of them in two contexts:
  1. Lumberjacks
  2. Hipsters
Allow me to demonstrate the difference: 

Lumberjacks: Often large bearded men identifiable by their manliness, their profession and the axe they are carrying. Think-The Brawny Man: 

Hipsters- Men who are also often bearded but lack a certain aspect of manliness because of their tight pants, thick rimmed glasses and inherent attitude of thinking that they are more enlightened than you because they watch TED talks, drink PBR and listen to all the best bands before you do.  

However, the strange thing is, Men (or boys) of the Southbay seem to fall into neither of these segments nor are they some hybrid breed of lumberjack-hipsters (hipster-jacks?). They are mostly normal guys(future post about Southbay "bros" to come) who just have flannel/plaid as a go-to fashion. It just struck me, I feel like LA never left the 90's....and maybe it never did. Afterall, Sizzler is still going strong here too. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why be inside...

....when you can be outside? Seriously, I know its obvious that weather here is beautiful but its crazy how much my lifestyle, at least on the weekends, has changed in such a short time. I have spent more time at the beach in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 3 years.  For those who live by the beach, it seems like a shame to waste sunny and beautiful weather. I sometimes even have trouble telling who is homeless and who just likes to spend all their time outside. At least at Venice beach this gets a little bit difficult to discern.

Last sunday I met some coworkers for day drinking at some bars in Manhattan beach. A ritzy beach side town which has a mix of college like bars, irish pubs, dives, and lounges. (Sidebar: Manhattan beach was also recently rated by CNN Money as the best place to find rich and single people. Interestingly enough, number 2 is my former home, Tysons Corner, VA. I never met any potential suitors while working in Tysons or getting my shop on at the mall so I don't know how accurate that is. But if I don't end up marrying rich after living/working/hanging out in the top two places to find rich and single people, then there probably is something wrong with me. Or rich people suck and don't know how to appreciate a witty, upbeat yet cynical, cat-loving brunette.)

Manhattan Beach Pier
Anyways I drove to meet up with my co-workers(don't worry mom, I didn't drink too much) but pretty much everyone else biked from their houses to the bar. Free parking and no hassle of having to operate a motorized vehicle. Even going drinking means being active! And as sunday fundays seem like a regular occurence, it seems that I will have to invest in a bike...and probably a helmet.

This past weekend was the epitome of what I want my time in California to be: active yet relaxing. Saturday I woke up early and went for a nice 5 mile run along the beach to Marina del Rey. I got back from my run and my roommate asked me if I wanted to play beach volleyball with her and a few of her co-workers. Despite my obvious lack of volleyball skill it was really fun, and I actually felt like beach volleyball is something I could do on a normal basis. After a couple hours of volleyball we lounged on the beach near Santa Monica for a bit. Unaware of the strength of the winter sun (uhh yes, technically it is still winter), I actually got quite sunburnt.

Sunday I went with one of my high school friends and her friends to lounge at the beach. Our original plan to go to Malibu for a few hours and hang by the beach and then go for a hike was foiled by the horrible traffic on the Pacific Coast Highway as a result of it being the first really warm weekend. Luckily coast is not hard to come by here in California.  We stayed until the sun started to go down...and more importantly we started to get hungry. Over the course of the day we also saw Kim Kardashian, Ziggy Marley, Justin Bobby and Zach Galifinakas. Not really, but we did see people who looked like all of them.
Will Rogers State Beach
Of course though, I have not been spending all of my time outside. Aside from working, I have also been out with friends and coworkers quite a bit. Between celebrations, pub trivia and concerts I've kept myself busy. Last wednesday I went with a couple of coworkers to the Echo to see a pretty decent band named Reptar. Going to more concerts is definitely something I want to do while I am here.
Reptar at the Echo-February 29, 2012. 

So that has been my past few weeks. I don't know if it feels like home yet, but I am lucky to have some awesome scenery and some awesome people in my life here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Settling In

Well my first week consisted of running around like a crazy person. So much so that I ended up drinking an entire bottle of wine on monday night just because...well, I needed it. I decided not to take any time off of work and jump right in. It was a really busy and stressful week with a lot going on at work but I am very happy to be here. I spent most of my evenings finding furniture for my room and trying to find a car. I was extremely lucky and found some great (and cheap!) furniture thanks to Craigslist and my parents are helping me out with the car situation by having my beloved Honda Accord shipped out to LA. 

This weekend I had the chance to see some family and old friends. Driving around in the past 2 days I think I have been on every single freeway in the Los Angeles area and surprisingly feel completely comfortable driving here. Maybe the Mixing Bowl death trap in DC won't seem so intimidating anymore.

Some of you have asked about pictures of my place so here you go...enjoy!

View from my living room

Entering my apartment complex

Front Door
My room

Giant closet=essential

Living room


living room

In between El Segundo and Playa del Rey...running on the beach path

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Westward Bound

Disclaimer: This blog is not about an Asian girl moving to America. This post is also much longer than what I foresee most posts being...

I've got a one way ticket from DC to LA in a few hours and I'm not really sure what to expect. I talked with some of my friends and decided I wanted to keep a blog about my time there. Mostly to keep people posted about my life, to keep track of interesting and funny things I come across and cultural differences or similarities between the East Coast and the West Coast. Oh yeah, and to make people jealous with pictures of the beach.

So when people ask me why I'm moving to LA I generally give one of two answers:

  1. To break through in the adult entertainment industry;
  2. Because my company happens to be based there and I just want to be closer to the beach.

The first has absolutely no truth to it(although you'd be surprised how many people take me seriously). The second is true but doesn't completely explain my desire to move. My professional development and my goal to be a part time beach bum are more peripheral reasons. So why does an east coast girl like me want to move out west?

I have been in the DC area for nearly 25 years. I was born in Northern Virginia, grew up there, went to college and grad school in DC and spent my first 1 and ½ years in the working world in the Virginia suburbs. I have started to notice more and more that I am a Washingtonian at my core. Like so many others in DC I speak about my graduate degree and use vague and generic terms to describe my job as an analyst. I talk about my time interning at the Australian Embassy, how the caps will definitely win the Stanley Cup one year, finding a new boozy brunch spot, hitting up a bar on U street, or how the DC Metro should increase advertising instead of raising fares yet again. There's no denying it, I am a Washingtonian for better or for worse.

While I've always had a fascination with California, I never though LA would be a city I would want to live in (how could I even compare to all the models and beautiful people there??) Up until about a year ago my conception of Los Angeles was limited and narrow. I imagined most to be like the vapid, do-anything-to-get-famous crew on “The Hills.” But it was about a year ago that someone who used to live in LA said to me “yeah that crowd of people definitely exists but it is a huge city full of people with a wide range of interests.” And it hit me, I myself was judging an entire city from the very superficial lens that I was ascribing to the people of the city. Was I no better than Heidi Montag, Audrina Patridge and Kristin Cavallari? And why the hell did I watch “The Hills” so much?

When I thought about it LA is similar to one of my favorite cities in the world: Sydney. I studied in Sydney for six months and I didn't live in the city itself but in the eastern suburbs right by the beach. I loved the mix of beach and city. It was laid back and beautiful but bustling and exciting. The best of both worlds. So when I finished my masters degree this past year I started to seriously consider living in another city. Because my company is based there, LA seemed like the obvious choice.

Ultimately though, I think I am moving to LA as a challenge to myself. I feel too comfortable in DC. I know, a first world problem. But it comes down to psychology and Maslow: my hierarchy of needs have been mostly met but I am starting to realize that I need to self-actualize. Maybe its because I saw the ghost of Maslow himself or maybe it is because I decided that the Virginia suburbs are not where I want to be at 24. I love DC and Virginia and have loved my time here. I have made so many friends in the process and will forever consider DC my home and “my city.” But I don't want to be complacent. I want to be thrown into a sense of uncertainty, it always makes life more interesting and ultimately I think it makes me more interesting. I guess like those who travelled west in the early days of America in the midst of uncertainty, I want to be part of the westward expansion. So even if it is 2012 and the West is already quite densely populated and the gold rush is long over, it is time for me to settle the West.  
(The Getty Museum, Los Angeles, August 2011)