So I have officially lived in Los Angeles for a year now. Well, this is rather belated, considering I "officially" moved to Los Angeles in June of last year, but I think a reflection is due, nonetheless.
So much has changed from this year and last. This time last year, I was babysitting a 2-year-old and his 6-week-old sister, taming temper tantrums at The Grove and eating Trader Joe's mac and cheese for lunch most days. I was living in Studio City. I was with someone who was completely wrong for me.
I feel so much more contented now than I did then. Of course, had you asked me last year if I felt more contented then than I did a year before, I would have said undoubtedly! I think that's a good sign, that I can say at each juncture that I am happier than I was the year before.
Now, I'm living in a suburb of the great city of Los Angeles--which, admittedly, I like a whole lot less than the city of Los Angeles. I view LA-proper as a city full of potential. Anyone can make something of themselves there, if you meet the right people, do the right things. The Valley is a little different, hot and as thick as molasses, and you just might get stuck if you're not careful. Sure, it reminds me more of Phoenix and sometimes you can find that small-town feel if you look hard enough, but the possibilities just don't seem as endless here.
I moved here knowing the kind of place it was out of necessity, in order to complete my year of service as a VISTA and I am extremely glad I did so. It was (and still is) important to me that I fulfill that commitment. But unless I found my dream job here, it's not the kind of place I would stay.
And I'm not. This next year holds a lot of possibilities for me and this has been just a chapter. I've overcome public transportation, navigated the welfare system, met an entire community's worth of new people and friends. In fact, I sent out invitations to people for my birthday party and I knew (and wanted to invite) 39 people! Color me surprised at my network here--I thought it was much, much smaller.
Thanks for everything, LA. Next stop: Seoul!