I have officially lived in Los Angeles for a full month now! I’ve made a list of my top 10 in these first 30 days:
- Low humidity. The air is so dry that even my hair stays flat and smooth. Sometimes I even forget to wash it until it feels like kindling and then it’s time for a bottle of conditioner.
- The cool night air through my bedroom windows. We keep the windows open. All the time.
- Being able to walk almost every where I want to go. CVS? Check. Taco stand? Check. Library? Triple check!
- And feeling like a pro at riding the Metro. Not so much the navigating part yet, but not falling over/ hitting a woman with my bag when the bus starts moving? Yeah. Pro status.
- The palm trees. I know they aren’t native here. I’ve been told multiple times. I don’t care. They are perfect.
- The lack of total silence. Liking the noise surprised me. But I finally realized it’s because I never feel isolated or alone.
- My job! I love my job and my coworkers. I think it’s safe to say that my job will be in the top 10 of every list I could ever make about the things I love in LA.
- The food. Anything I could be hungry for is here. Name a type of food; I can find it. Name a country; I’m sure their food is here. Being able to afford it on my volunteer stipend is a different situation.
- My neighborhood. I have a beautiful and relatively peaceful neighborhood. I love to sit outside in our courtyard in the evening to journal and read and say hello to the people walking by in our alley.
- The sunshine. Not only do I have the best tan of my life, but I want to be outside all the time! I feel like Ohio’s cloudy skies have cheated me. Even on the hottest days, I love getting a least a little sun.
I’ve learned more in 30 days here than I probably learned in 4 years of high school, so I know I made the right decision in taking a gap year. For your enjoyment, here’s a list of things we/I have learned that school did not prepare me for:
- We learned after 2 weeks, how to finally get the trash truck to pick up our garbage. (And good thing too, because it smelled!)
- We learned that you have to drive like the other rude and scary drivers in LA or you’re not gonna get anywhere and definitely you won’t be able to change lanes.
- We learned that it’s a lot harder to dumpster dive than the dumpster diving internet groups made it seem. (The security guards were nicer than I expected though…)
- Marji and I learned how long it takes to get to work when every possible thing goes wrong
- We’re still learning which keys on our rings open which doors and usually between the 6 of us we can get into the house.
- I learned to never forget my bus pass in the pocket of my jeans I put in my hamper. (That was an $8 mistake the next day getting to and from work that I won’t be making again)
- I learned how to apply for a passport and I also learned that no one at Hollywood post offices ever answers the phone.(It’s more effective to just go there to ask a question instead of calling 15 times a day like some kind of disturbed stalker)
- I learned how to say a few things in Korean but I can only remember hello and thank you at any given time (Except thanks to choir, I could sing all of Gangum Style for Ahreum)
- We learned how obnoxious 6 confused people huddled in a grocery store can be and how stressful grocery shopping is with $500 a month.
- We learned to not take the stupid route to the beach and save ourselves an hour of driving time. (Don’t ever take Santa Monica Blvd to the beach)
- I learned to never let the dressing room door at Goodwill close behind me when I come out to show a housemate an outfit. (It locked behind me and I was stuck standing barefoot in a horrible outfit while she laughed and everyone stared and she had to find an employee. Yay)
- I learned that my Spanish pronunciation isn’t as good as I thought it was and that my neighbors are probably laughing about the confident but clueless white girl butchering their beautiful romance language. BUT I’M TRYING GUYS! I’M TRYING!
- Annnd I think I’ve found a home Church for the year. (More on that another time)
I hope that with a lot of the heavy topics I’ve covered in the past few blog posts, this gives you some insight into the joyful and humorous life I am living. I am very blessed and at peace. I spend most of my days with a smile in my heart and on my face. At work, at home, wherever. And despite the gravity of poverty here in LA and the seriousness of a calling towards justice, God wants us to have joyful spirits. He wants us to love life and love people and if I accomplish nothing else this year, I can at least say I’ve done that!
Blessings to all!