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)