On January 23, 2012, I moved myself out to lovely, lovely Los Angeles. And I’m going to be completely honest and tell you…I did not know what the hell I was doing. Ask anyone. And frankly, I still don’t, but that is not the point. I’ve basically only scratched the surface here, but here are some things I’ve picked up along the way.
1. Los Angeles is HUGE. LIKE REALLY, REALLY BIG.
Look at that shit! What even! I grew up in Grosse Pointe, which is probably like a 30th the size of Los Angeles. Before I moved here, the last time I had visited the city was in 2006, when I was 17. And even then, I think we were here for like 2 days? All I can remember is going to Disneyland. I don’t even remember what part of the city we stayed in. Seems like it really had an impact on me, so it only makes sense that I chose to move my entire life here 6 years later. Yet, here I am. There are still highways here I’ve never heard of. Someone said something today about the 118. Don’t even know what or where that is. Pretty sure they were lying to me. I like my 101, 170, 134, and 405, thank you very much.
The trick with LA is finding the section of the city you want to be in. Again, I had no idea what I wanted before I moved here. Luckily (for me, not him), I met my friend, Chris while working on OZ. He has lived here for a decent chunk of time and basically told me exactly where to move in the city. I mean, not exactly, he didn’t have an apartment available (lame) but, he did give me some cross-streets. Without his advice, I would probably be living in Long Beach and paying millions in gas to get to work.*
*At time of publication, the author was unemployed. Joke’s on her.
2. No matter how safe you think your shit is or how safe a neighborhood is, it probably isn’t.
People are assholes. Don’t ever leave your things in your car and leave said car for any amount of time. Just basically don’t trust anyone ever and live life as a hermit.
3. Nothing will ever taste as good as Jack in the Box at 2 a.m. Nothing.
4. Don’t be a jerk.
LA might be a big city, but you’d be surprised at how many people know other people who know people. Working in the entertainment industry really teaches you how small the world can actually be. And the thing is, the bigger jerk you are, the more people find out about it. I knew someone when I first moved out here who was a real asshat. He did some pretty atrocious things and I since don’t talk to him. But, I was working onset the other day and someone asked if I knew him. As she and I got to talking more, I found out that he was a real asshat to her too. She then said she talked to her manager about him, and he won’t be working with them anymore.
I mean, this is really more of a life principle, but, just don’t be a jerk.
5. Always pay the parking meter.
Even if you’re just running into CVS for “a few things, seriously I’ll only be 3 minutes.” You’ll get a ticket. And those tickets become 6 more tickets and all of a sudden, your mom is mad because all of these parking tickets are sent to your house in Michigan because you still haven’t changed your vehicle registration.
Mom, if you’re reading this, I swear I’ll get around to changing my registration.
6. Call your Mom.
And while you’re at it, call your grandparents, your aunts and uncles, and your brother.
At some point you’re going to need help out here. And even though they are thousands of miles away, these are the people who will help you no matter what. They love you.
7. Get out of your apartment!
Have I mentioned how big LA is?! That means there are mountains to hike, beaches to visit, and things to do. And bonus, the sun is kind of always out. Even if you walk to the nearest Starbucks, just going outside makes everything like 436x better.
8. Find a good group of friends.
“Look at those nerds! They all seem awesome! No way they are actually that great!” is what you’re saying to yourself and I’m telling you, you’re wrong. I had some really crappy times when I first moved out here, enough that I was willing to move home. But then these clowns made me realize what I’d be missing out on. I have only been out here a year and I already have memories to spare. And a scar on my chin! Which is another fun memory!
To bring things full circle (or a callback, if you’re James), LA is a huge city and it’s so easy to feel alone, especially if the rest of your friends and family are 2,000 miles away. But, if you have people like this in your life, that won’t happen so often. Friends become your ohana. And if Lilo and Stitch has taught me anything, it’s that ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind or forgotten.