I’m back! I’ve neglected my blog for the past couple of months as I was busy settling in to my new state of residence- what a whirlwind it has been. I’ve always wanted to live in California for the good weather, plethora of food options, the opportunities and the arts- everyone is so creative in their own way! After I got back from my trip to Korea during the summer, I actively started my job search and luckily landed a job. I’ve always applied to jobs in California before and only made it through the first phone interview so felt like God was giving me a chance this time around so I grabbed it. The dilemma: Starting my job in one and a half weeks.
I quickly found a company to ship my car, stuffed with some kitchen goods, grabbed two suitcases and filled them with clothes, shoes, make-up and some necessities and booked a one-way ticket to Los Angeles. How crazy does that sound?! I thankfully always had some friends in California, so I stayed with a friend the first night I landed, which was comforting as my first day was so surreal. The next day, my Airbnb was ready so I checked myself in for two weeks until I was able to find a place to actually live. You have no idea how much anxiety I had moving across the country without declaring a place of residence. The only thing I had time to do was research and ask my friends about certain areas to look and whatnot, but I felt uncomfortable committing to a place to live without physically seeing the area I was going to potentially live in. I’ve only been to a handful of areas in California.
I have to admit, the first two weeks in the Airbnb we’re pretty much the most miserable time in my life. My place was in a not so good area of Koreatown, as it was the only place I could afford where I would have the whole loft to myself for $50 a night. I was so scared that I would wake-up in the middle of the night as I thought someone was breaking in. The walls were super thin so I would hear people walking and taking throughout the night. This was the first point in my life when I felt financially unstable. As a first generation Korean American, I know how hard my parents worked and continue to work for their money so growing up, I would always reject allowance and money gifts. If I wanted something in life, I worked and saved for it. I bought my own brand new car in high school, and in college, I worked three jobs just to live by campus, pay for my own books, foods and necessities. So you know there’s no way I’d ask my parents for help at this age. I have to admit, the cost of living in California is a lot higher. Food is more expensive, tax is higher, moving your car cross country is expensive, and living in an Airbnb is pricey. The rule of thumb is you typically want to save at least three months of rent before moving to a new state, clearly I did not have this option, but I highly recommend you do this.
I missed my family and friends from day one. Not like I saw them on the daily when I lived in Baltimore, but not having the option to randomly drive home for dinner or text a friend to go to happy hour is tough. I felt so lonely. I would literally sit in the kitchen of my Airbnb with a bottle of red wine, crying and asking myself, “Did I make the right decision?” I always somehow had some friends living in Los Angeles, and I would see them every time I was in town for work, but I don’t have the type of friends where I can drop by their house with a bottle of wine to vent the night way. I think that’s the hardest part. Making friends is hard at any age, but a lot harder as you get older. When I first got to Los Angeles, I met friends of friends and even went out to some events I found via Facebook groups. I was talking to my friend, Lindsay one day (the girl who always puts me into place) and she asked me if I had the same hobbies and interests with these “new friends”. And frankly, I didn’t. She proceeded to tell me that friendships are easier as you get older because you start to be more selective. You don’t just become friends with people because you’re part of the same friend group or in the same class, but you become friends based on similar interests, beliefs and morals. All very true.
Also, if you want to find out who your REAL friends are… move cross country! When I was going through the hardest time of life, my friends back in Baltimore were there for me. They called, texted and FaceTimed me just to check-in. My friend, Lindsay even FaceTimed me into her Thanksgiving festivities as she knew I was just sitting at home alone, eating some Trader Joe’s Orange Chicken and drinking some red wine. My Baltimore roommate, Alexa will randomly just FaceTime me to fill me in on Baltimore life, which definitely helps. Can’t thank my friends enough for being there for me and supporting my decision to move.
Anyways, once I started my job, I was blessed to find a work environment where girls aren’t so “cliquish” and more on the welcoming side. Thanks to my girls, Sherry and Michelle- more than they’ll ever know. We’ve bonded through our love for food and our cultural upbringings- I truly feel like I’ve known them for years.
Do your research! Not only did I ask friends and friends of friends for recommendations for areas to live in, but I read all the reviews of apartment complexes via Yelp and Google reviews. And of course, I checked Zillow and Trulia to find out about the history and neighborhoods. After doing my research, I made appointments and visited about eight different apartments in surrounding areas of Glendale, where my job is located. Traffic is the worst in Los Angeles, so you want to live close to work as possible. I thankfully found a luxury apartment in a great area, where I actually feel safe! Ha! Glendale is like a burbish city, and central to all of the popping areas. So I’m 20 minutes away from Koreatown, DTLA, etc. As for my roommate, things conveniently worked out. A sister from my sorority happened to be living in Pasadena with her brother for about a month, and was looking for a roommate. What are the odds that we both moved from Maryland around the same time, and both worked relatively close to one another?! I guess things do fall into place when you least expect it.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to bring all my furniture with me as it’s really expensive to ship across the country. So far I only have a mattress, bed frame and a lamp- the necessities. And I slept on an air mattress the first week or two. Baby steps, right?! And I’ve survived with two suitcases of clothes and shoes. GASP! I did have to buy a few sweaters as it actually gets colder this time of year, and I’ve been thrifting at Goodwill- who am I?! I plan on grabbing the rest of my clothes and shoes when I’m back home for the holidays and shipping the rest.
GETTING BACK INTO THE SWING OF THINGS
I’ve slowly been settling into my usual routine. Cooking healthy-ish food, and my hobbies of checking of restaurants off of my Yelp bookmarked list to review and staying active. Yes, I’m that girl who works out 5-6 times a week- if you live in Baltimore, you might have seen me at Merrit Fitness around 5:30 A.M. Anywho, so far, I’ve been to a few restaurants and cafés to try different cuisines & coffee beans, and have frequented a variety of fitness studios. I opened a Class Pass account as soon as I moved into my apartment (first month is free) and have discovered my love for lagree fitness pilates- you literally work every little muscle of your body and kickboxing- who knew it was such a great stress reliever?! I haven’t found my church yet, but I’ve visited about 5 different ones thus far, hope to find one in the new year and be more involved.
I have to say though, I’ve done a lot within the three months I’ve been in California. I started a new job, found an apartment, made some new friends, went on a few horrible dates (comment below if you want a blog post about what dating in California is like), went to Harry Potter World- thanks to my new friend for bringing me to her office holiday party, got to go to a taping of the Ellen Show, hiked a few mountains and ate tons and tons of food.
Surely, but slowly.. I’m getting there! In the new year, I hope to find a church and community within my church, maybe get licensed in lagree fitness, get my California driver’s license (did you know you have to study and take a written examination for this?!), fully furnish my room, and explore this beautiful state some more- promise to bring you all along with me. Can you believe I haven’t been to a beach yet?!
For now, I have to say.. I’m F***KING PROUD OF MYSELF for taking the leap. It’s been a difficult journey, but I pushed my limits and fulfilled one of my life goals of living in a different state before 3-0.