1 month! 4 weeks! 30 days!

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:

  1. 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.
  2. The cool night air through my bedroom windows. We keep the windows open. All the time.
  3. Being able to walk almost every where I want to go. CVS? Check. Taco stand? Check. Library? Triple check!
  4. 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.
  5. The palm trees. I know they aren’t native here. I’ve been told multiple times. I don’t care. They are perfect.
  6. The lack of total silence. Liking the noise surprised me. But I finally realized it’s because I never feel isolated or alone.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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!

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