One year in LA

On the 28th of November, I’ll have lived in the City of Angels for a year.  So much time has passed and I thought now would be a fitting time to share some more of this English lass’s thoughts on her Emerican relocation.

When my husband and I arrived in LA, we planned that I’d be driving by Christmas, we’d probably move to Abbott Kinney and I’d have a job by February.  None of those of things happened. As cliché as it sounds, the best part about making plans is breaking plans.

Learning to drive on the other side of the road was hard!  I had a UK driver’s license, but hadn’t driven in five years and therefore arrived in LA a rather rusty driver. You don’t realise how your body is oriented to one side of the road until you make the switch.  I failed my first test on Christmas Eve –  in retrospect I drove like Cruella de Vil then. I gave up for a while after failing a second time in the Spring (less Cruella-like, but not enough) and eventually passed in the Summer.

You might be wondering how I managed to live in LA for so long without being able to drive.  The car is an LA icon!  Thankfully we decided to live in Santa Monica (not Abbott Kinney as it’s an expensive tsunami zone) and this made it possible for me to live a very walkable lifestyle.  In Santa Monica, you can walk to the supermarket (grocery store), the gym, the beach, a bunch of shops, the metro station and live in a little bubble.  As I was walking past my local Starbucks I once heard someone say they never leave Santa Monica.

Not being able to drive has also given me the opportunity to get very lost and experiment with LA’s public transport.  The consensus is that if you’re in LA, you need a car.  As an ex-Londoner, I’m used to delayed trains and, particularly on the Tube, a lack of personal space.  I mentioned in a previous post that, before moving, I was told a fable about some visitors exploring LA on foot.  As they went about their day, drivers would pull over and ask if their car had broken down and if they needed help. As someone who takes the bus every week, I can confirm that the system has its blips, but overall, the transport here’s pretty good. Unlike in the UK, my trains haven’t been delayed by “leaves on the line” yet.

Getting a job in LA was difficult because American companies generally require you to have a degree.  Unlike in the UK where I could work my way up, no one wanted to give me a job unless I started at the bottom again. Eventually, after much procrastination, a dalliance in the social media world and many yoga classes to “find” myself, I decided that maybe now would be a good time to change careers. In August, I enrolled at community college.  I have been out of education for nine years so it’s been an adjustment; I intend to dedicate a whole post to that in the future.

I’ve experienced many other surprises in moving here – good and bad. I’ve made unexpected friends via Instagram, become a fitness addict and fallen in love with the region’s diverse flora in a very geeky way.  There have of course been frustrations. The Social Security Administration thinks my name is Jessic, the IRS is wrongly insisting I pay taxes on my UK earnings from last year and the US Citizen and Immigration Service sat on my green card for most of the year. Moving to a new country is an adjustment, but third time lucky,  you will pass that driving test!

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Pictures were taken by Jonathan Ramsey at Union Station

Balloon Dress by Dezzal

 

 

 

 

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36 Comments

  1. This was such an enjoyable read, I’m so glad I took some time to check it out! I love reading about all of your LA adventures and living vicariously through you! I’m so glad that we met and I can’t wait to hear what the next year in LA has in store for you!

    1. Aw thank you so much lovely! I’m flattered that despite how busy you are at the moment that you took the time to read my post, thank you 🙂 I am so glad that we met also and am excited to see what the next year in LA brings too!

  2. Wow, girl! What a fantastic post! I’ve learned so much about you after this post, and I just wanna say, that anything that has obstacles is worth overcoming! You rock!

    -Ressa

    1. Thank you lovely! I’m so pleased you enjoyed reading it and thank you about the photos, Jonathan is a master with the camera. I really hate parking in LA, in fact that is why I take the bus to class in the week as it is so bad around campus. Definitely up for getting together talking soon, tea and cake for sure! xxx

    1. Aw, thank you 🙂 You know how to make a girl feel good about herself! Yes LA is totally doable without a car, it helps that Lyft and Uber are at easy access these days too. That’s a good idea, I haven’t tried writing about comparing just London and LA, I will keep that in mind for a future post. Thank you so much for the suggestion 🙂 xxx

  3. Gosh, I can’t even imagine the difficulties and challenges moving to another country. I never thought LA was a commuter friendly city especially with all the traffic, but I can see how now with Uber being so popular it is totally doable. I love this adorable printed dress on you! Gorgeous photos. xoxo, Christine
    http://dailykongfidence.com/

    1. There are definitely a lot of challenges but it’s worth it 🙂 Yes, if you’re ever without a car, there are quite a few different options out there nowadays which is great for back up. Aw, thank you so much, it’s super comfy too! xxx

  4. I can’t believe it has been a year in LA for you already! You have accomplished so much in just 365 days, even if the US government can’t quite catch up to you. I’m so excited for your adventures to come!

  5. The complications with the US Gov are crazy! Each of them are stupidly annoying on their own but you’ve got three! Good on you for keeping your head up. Definitely glad you don’t live in a tsunami zone : ) The celebratory balloon print is perfect for this post, well matched.

    1. They really are pretty crazy! Thank you, I didn’t have my head up all the time but we got there in the end. Just need to sort that social security card out when I get the proper drivers license card and I’m golden! I’m glad I don’t live in a tsunami zone either. I’ve never been very good at running long distances. Ah thank you! I hoped the balloons would convey that! I’m so pleased you picked up on that 🙂

  6. This was such a fun read, sounds like you’re enjoying LA – I’m so happy to hear that 🙂 I know what you mean, moving to a different country can be quite an adjustment… I’ve been there myself! But it’s all good once you settle down properly. 🙂 I don’t drive myself either and I’m in the UK, luckily everything is in walking distance as well, and there are easy ways to commute to and back from work. x I just think that a car is an expense I don’t really need! Thanks for sharing, lovely. xoxo <3

    Kay
    http://shoesandglitter.com

    1. Yay I’m so happy you enjoyed it! I love being walking distance from things and I feel like there are so many trains in the UK, well in Kent and London which is where I lived that you often don’t need a car. Hopefully it’s the same for you. Like you said, they are expensive and it’s better for the environment not to have one anyway! 🙂 xxx

  7. Glad you choose Santa Monica and not the tsunami zone 😉 I really like the fact that you gave the public teansport a chance and that you were able to handle things even without a car! Living in LA sounds very exciting and I wish you good luck for your further journey! xoxo

    http://www.naomella.com

    1. Hehe – me too! Thank you! I feel like there are so many options now if the car needs to be serviced or my husband takes the car for the day.

      It is quite exciting, and I still have so much to learn about the US and many places to visit which is a wonderful feeling! xoxo

  8. YAY! Congrats on living in LA for a whole year! That’s so awesome and it sounds like you’ve gotten pretty far however?! Breaking the plans is awesome and always when one looks back at life it’s easy to see why things happened the way they did. So hands down for you to moving to a new country and adjusting, you’re awesome! And would love to read more about going back to school again, so interesting to read about other people’s experiences! Have a lovely week gorgeous! Xx

    http://www.thefashionfolks.com

    1. Thank you! *Does a little dance in her chair* Yes, at the time it felt like I wasn’t making a lot of progress but looking back I think I did ok! As for breaking plans, my dad quoted John Lennon after reading this post and I totally agree “Life is What Happens To You While You’re Busy Making Other Plans”

      Perfect! I shall get writing then! I would have loved to have read someone else’s thoughts about going to back to school at the age of 28 and so am hopeful you and others will enjoy/find this future post useful!

      I hope you have a lovely weekend my dear xox

  9. Thats such an interesting read! I used to be fascinated with a move in the USA. I remember loving the idea and a few of my American friends were encouraging me to do the move suggesting it would be so easy for me to get a job.
    Thinking of it now, staying in Europe appeals more to me. Travelling during the weekend and jumping to Caponehagen, Paris or even London sounds lovely.
    But I am curious to know why American companies do not hire people who have no degrees…Surely not everyone who works has a degree!
    If you could please write a post about it that would be fantastic!
    xo
    Anastasia
    http://www.natbees.com

    1. Thank you lovely, it’s funny, I never wanted to move to the US. I always imagined I would move away for a few years, maybe Italy but I’d stay in England for the rest of my life after that. You’re right about the travel, Belgium, Paris… It’s all so easy to get to over there! I shall just have to visit all the different States here instead.
      You make a good point, I will try and look into that more and see what I find, thank you so much for the suggestion! I really appreciate it!
      I hope you have a lovely weekend 🙂
      xo

    1. Thank you so much! I’m so happy you enjoyed it. Santa Monica is one of my favourite places over here too. Good choice!
      Yes, one year already! Thank you, here’s to the next and the next! xx

  10. Absolutely loved reading your reflections and thoughts on one year of LA living lovely. Sounds like it’s been a rollercoaster ride but hopefully you’ll reap nothing but the rewards of all the highs from now on! You deserve all the happiness out there and I think taking so many big steps as you have is as inspiring as can be. Driving on the other side of the road is so confusing, the steering wheel always looks so out of place in the US to me haha 😉

    I travelled solo to LA a few years back and in my short experience was taken aback by how different it was compared to life in the UK, so I can’t even imagine what an adjustment it must be for you; you’re totally such an inspiration girlie! I’ve always wanted to build a life out in the US for as long as I can remember, LA in particular. I feel it’s my spiritual home for sure, and someone as amazing as you gives me hope!
    You’re looking so dreamy and dazzling in this dress too, Forever a babe! <3

    Sophie | soinspo xo

    1. Thank you so much, Soph! Rollercoaster ride is a good way to put it 🙂 and I really appreciate your kind words. As for the car, sometimes when I’m really tired and I’m not the one driving I wander over to the driver side to get in as I’ve forgotten what country I’m in. Haha! Ooops.

      That’s so cool that you traveled around LA on your own. Now that is brave and inspirational! I guess that means you may not be back soon as there are so many other States, but I hope you visit again sooner rather than later if it’s your spiritual home! 🙂

      I feel so motivated to get out there, do some more exploring and then get writing again after reading your comment thank you so much for all the love and support 🙂 I hope you’re having a lovely weekend and send you lots of sunshine xoxo

  11. Omg I love this post! It sounds like you have had a hectic year in LA but a fun one none the less! I know it’s kind of late but welcome to America! I do hope everything get’s sorted out for you soon and hey with the new year there is many possibilities! 🙂 I wanted to come over and say hi as you commented on my blog coming from Ressa’s and your blog is absolutely adorable! Also your Instagram is beautiful! I hope you have a Happy Holiday!

    Silvia
    http://www.lovelysilvia.com

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Silvia! Yes, it was a bit hectic, but it was worth it in the end! I am sure everything will fall into place eventually, I will change my social security card in the new year to say Jessica rather than Jessic (haha). Thank you, I love your blog and Instagram too! I’m looking forward to seeing what you post next. Wishing you a Happy New Year xox

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